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DozenQ – Birds and Arrows

This entry is part 15 of 20 in the series DozenQ 3

Andrea and Pete Connolly have written their lives into Birds and Arrows newly released record “Coyotes”. Inspired by their bucolic surroundings, the record was recorded at their small, 19th-century, school house turned cabin nestled in the woods on an 88 acre horse farm in Rougemont, NC. Mixed by Chris Stamey of the dB’s, “Coyotes” has a polished yet still organic sound that emotes desperation and longing with a hopeful overtone. Stamey describes the album as “An amazing record, overflowing with invention, dedication and exuberance.”

The sweeping melodies throughout “Coyotes” are beautiful and light. The couples’ song crafting can evoke a wide range of emotions, that at moments can make you smile and then quickly shift into nostalgic melancholy. Corbie Hill of Independent Weekly noted “After six years as a band, it seems as if the Connollys have come to a point of comfort, not only musically but personally: Their new rural home, where they moved in early 2012, enables these two to live as they have wanted to for years. Andrea is surrounded by horses, while Pete drags fields and mends fences in the rural quiet.”

Pete and Andrea worked with cellist Josh Starmer, who played a wide range of instruments on the record such as cello, mandolin, dilruba and tambora, helping give “Coyotes” it’s distinct sound. An impressive cast of local and national talent where also invited to play on the record  such as Robert Sledge of Ben Folds Five, Dirk Shumaker of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, James Wallace of Mount Moriah, Dave Hadley and Andrew Grimm of June Star and more.

Andrea and Pete will be on the road throughout the summer promoting “Coyotes” and inviting special guest players to join them at select shows. Keep an eye on their calendar for more details. They found some time to recently speak with eyeplug.net…

01 How did you get started in music?

Both Pete and I have been playing music since we were kids. I started performing and singing in anything from musicals to the national anthem at baseball games since I was 4. Pete began playing drums in various adolescent rock and roll bands starting at the age of 13.  We met in 2007, both of us deep into our musical careers and fell in love and formed Birds and Arrows.

02 Where did your direction come from?

Birds and Arrows has always been a very much folk/song writer based sound. Both of us really enjoy writing and have always been inspired by good songwriters. So, our music more often than not has followed the path and been influenced by strong songwriters we have found along the way.

03 Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

we have a very wide variety of influences from creative songwriters such as Peter Gabriel to Bjork to amazing rock bands like The Faces and Led Zeppelin. Our more current influences are musicians such as Band of Horses and Iron and Wine. As far as what we despise, we are pretty open to all types of music. Sometimes it’s hard to stomach some of the latest top 40 pop but even that we try and learn from somehow.

04 What inspires you to make your current type of songs and sound?

Lately we’ve been inspired by our surroundings. We live in cabin on a large horse farm in North Carolina and it colored our new songs with natural imagery and rootsy progressions.

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

If you were to see us live, you could expect our performance to have a certain level of intimacy and romance with strong harmonies and song dynamics.

06 How do you begin your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

We begin our songs by presenting the seed of an idea to one another. From there, we see how together we can form the song into a solid progression and an interesting and inspired story. Our subjects range from being inspired by our natural/beautiful surroundings where we live, we also explore family stories and narratives as well as universal heart breaking subject matters such as first love.

07 How did your music evolved since you first began playing?

Our music has evolved as we’ve grown as players and writers and learned how to co-write and work together more and more. The confidence that comes with being a profession performing band for the last 7 years has also helped us evolve into a more comfortable sound. We have always been pulled back to revisit our roots but returning with a slightly more mature take on them.

08 What has been your biggest challenge? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

I would our biggest challenge was breaking up my first marriage to start a life and band with Pete. Our families all had a bit of trouble with the drastic decision we made to be together.  But, time really does heal all. After everyone who was effected was able to see the happiness and creativity that had emerged from our relationship they couldn’t help but think it was the best decision we could have made. So, yes, we did overcome it and continue to.

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

We do play at least one or two covers a year and take a lot of time in choosing them. We like to find songs that are meaningful and unlikely. One that we have not yet undertaken that we dream about is doing an epic folk version of Pink Floyd’s Dogs. One day we’ll make it happen.

10 Where did you envisage being in five years time?

Making a comfortable/humble living playing our music.

11 Who would you most like to record with?

I would most like to work with both Nigel Godrich and Daniel Lanois to produce one of our records one day.

12 What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

We just released a new record this year called Coyotes and plan to be on the road promoting that in the fall. We then plan to shut down and hibernate for the winter to write and record our next record. So, expect to see more music and a new record in 2014.

Web Links

birdsandarrows.com

Facebook 
facebook.com/birdsandarrowsmusic

Link to new album Coyotes or single Firefly


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Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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