Six tracks, twenty-seven minutes. Will and Jenny, who sings in Erase Errata, share a love for 70's-era country music from the heartland. These duets brought together friends and a singing saw.
Jenny Hoyston (Paradise Island, Erase Errata) and William Elliott Whitmore forged their friendship as roommates in San Francisco. During that time, they shared their respective visions about how they would express themselves musically; Jenny fronts the art-noise band Erase Errata while William records his blues/Americana-influenced solo albums. This friendship led to them touring together in 2004 as part of the Let's Be Active project. A multi-band tour featuring William's solo show and Jenny's solo project Paradise Island, which was documented on the Keep The Fuzz Off My Buzz DVD (Sickroom). The motivation behind the tour was simply to be active, to get out, book their own shows, and play music. One of the stops on their blaze through the Midwest was the legendary Fireside Bowl in Chicago. The folks from Southern Chicago were at this show one beer led to another, and before you know it we'd invited William and Jenny to do a duets record for us.
Fast forward to the winter of 2006 in Luke Tweedy's living room (aka Flat Black Studios). Luke, who is also William's cousin, placed Will and Jenny on each side of a microphone, stepped back, and let them sing their hearts out. They recruited help from a few friends around Iowa City to add organ, drums, and even a singing saw. Within a week they had six finished tracks. These six songs represent two worlds colliding. Two distinct voices, that when singing together, deliver unified beauty. Adopting the twang of the early 70's Nashville country scene (and, dare I say, gospel), one hears echoes of the Cash/Carter classic "Jackson" on "Marrow". Despite the cheery delivery of Jenny's song "We All Miss You" (sung solo by her), it's a painful and sweet tribute to her late father written from the point of view of Jenny and her mother. The ominous title track, clocking in at 6:30, is an instrumental drone unlike anything either artist has ever attempted previously.
Looking at the work of each artist, they seem to be of two entirely different musical worlds, but upon closer inspection they are simply two branches of the same tree. Despite their different styles, William and Jenny were both drawn into the world of music by punk rock. The pure emotion and struggle of punk shows through in William's style, while punk's individualism and freedom has led to Jenny's innovative sound. At the core of both artists is the need for expression and DIY ethic that punk provided. William's sound is rooted in the early music of America, while Jenny's sound is proof of that music's evolution. Their love for the spirit of early country music led them to explore this joy and heartache as a team. And they documented these emotions so intimately over the span of a week in some living room in Iowa City. While most modern country stations fill our airwaves with slick-produced songs, William and Jenny have chosen to leave the dust, misplaced magazines, cigarette ash and family photos where they are.
1. Feast Of A Thousand Beasts
2. You've Already Gone
3. Black Iowa Dirt
4. We Miss You
6. Hallways Of Always
Total Running Time: 27 mins
- File Under: Country, Alt-country
- For Fans Of: Mark Lanegan & Isobel Campbell, Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton, June Carter & Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette and George Jones, Glenn Campbell & Bobbie Gentry, Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty
- Original release: October 2006