AZ EDGE INTERVIEW: Silver Thread Trio
Tucson group The Silver Thread Trio, who only three weeks ago played at The Raven Café and the Sharlot Hall Museum's Folk Festival, returns this weekend for two shows: The Prescott Harvest Festival on Saturday and the Harvest Festival pre-show at The Raven on Friday.
The band, comprised of Caroline Isaacs, Laura Kepner-Adney and Gabrielle Pietrangelo, has soaring vocal melodies - often backed with washboard, standup bass, guitar and banjo - which bring to mind singers like Gillian Welch and bluegrass music from a bygone era. Their first album, "The Silver Thread Trio" was released in 2008 by Old Bisbee Records, and their follow-up album will be released in early 2012. The trio's Laura Kepner-Adney spoke to AZ Edge about songwriting, playing in Prescott and the band's future plans.
How the band started
"We've been together for about five years. We were all singing together in a women's world music choir. We decided we wanted to do something a little more focused and maybe make some money. We started playing weddings, but we realized that we liked sad songs, and people don't really want to hear those at weddings."
"One of our strengths is that each of us draws from different musical interests. Caroline loves old gospel - like the Staples Singers. I love old country and newer alt-country music. In fact, we play a couple Staples Singers songs. We combine all our different interests and this is how it comes out."
"We've played here before. (Before the shows in early October at The Raven and the Sharlot Hall Museum folk festival). We had a great gig a couple years ago at the Elks Opera House. What a beautiful venue. I have plans in my head to start a variety show ... a kind of Tucson bands showcase, where we bring up a bunch of bands from Tucson and they all play there. I don't know if it'll happen, but ..."
"Well, I can't speak for the other girls, but for me personally, I'm usually inspired by everything at once. All the instruments and vocals. We do very specific choral arrangements for the harmony. It's sort of what we're known for. I usually sing the lower parts, Caroline sings in the middle and Gabrielle sings the high parts. If I write a song, I'll teach them the vocal arrangements. I'll have the notes written out very specific. Sometimes we'll be flexible; we have a couple songs we made up the parts to a little more organically."
Playing festivals vs. smaller venues
"There are benefits to both. To be honest, when we play festivals, it's usually light out, and you get to watch what people are doing, whether it's reading or yawning or something. It can be distracting. At a venue, when it's darker, you can zone out and be more into the music. But festivals sometimes have great energy too, so there are good and bad things about both."
The two shows in Prescott this weekend
"At The Raven (on Friday), it will just be the three gals. Saturday we are playing with the Rosano Brothers Virtual Quartet. It's funny, they are actually just two people - identical twins. Of triplets! They are both really great musicians. We collaborate with them as much as we can. The Harvest Festival will be more of a variety show, where they play on some of our songs and we play on some of their big band/polka-type songs. They both play two instruments."
Playing with Calexico
"It's our fourth time playing with them. We've done some collaborations. It's great; really fun. Joey (Burns, of Calexico) has been the initiator, inviting us to play with them. They will share their ... what's the word? Well, I'm not going to say fame, but, OK, they're willing to share their fame with other musicians."
"We're releasing our second album Jan. 28 at Plush (in Tucson). We're pretty sure it's going to take us a little bit further than where we are now. I think we're next year we're going to book some Canadian festivals, and we'll play the Folk Alliance International Conference in Memphis."