Decades after meeting, Atlanta-based Folk/Americana duo The Ormewoods have found themselves smack dab in the middle of an indie music scene that is driven by the internet. Here, we learn how a Grammy-winning producer met an awesome singer-songwriter and together made one of the best albums of fall 2016.
How did you guys meet to form this awesome duo?
Claire: We actually met 20 years ago when I was new to Atlanta. We had a similar group of friends and we would run into each other a lot. We always ended up holed up in a corner of some bar talking music. But we never collaborated until last summer when Don moved into my neighborhood, Ormewood Park. I was performing solo and Don was in a band so, in the beginning we were singing each other songs and covers when we would hang out. As our relationship deepened, the songwriter in me had to start writing songs about our connection and the next thing you know we were playing “our” songs. And when people really responded to them we started talking about recording them and putting them out there as an album.
Don, you’re a 2x Grammy-winner and Claire an accomplished singer-songwriter, but together The Ormewoods have garnered some pretty cool nominations at the American Songwriting Awards and other songwriting competitions. What would you say has been the most fulfilling part about writing songs together?
Don: I’ve spent most of my career behind the scenes producing other people’s music. But with this project, I’ve helped write the music, I’ve produced it with Claire, and then I get to go on stage and sing and play with her. It’s pretty wild to be involved in every aspect of the music. That’s been the most unexpectedly satisfying part.
Claire: I agree. I challenged myself to only write about what was real, versus letting my imagination embellish situations. So, I’m really proud of how almost every line of every song is a direct reference to a conversation or actual experience we’ve shared. I couldn’t have written these songs if Don hadn’t been open to letting me write directly from my diary so I think the license to be totally honest is what I like the most.
You guys have a new LP coming out titled “The Bedroom Sessions“, which is nothing like the title suggests (laughs). But it is an intimate and powerful compilation of songs. For those who might be curious, what can they expect to hear on this new LP?
Don: Claire was documenting our relationship in her diary and at some point, she asked me if it was okay for her to write about us – good, bad and ugly and I told her to go for it. Of course, that was in the beginning when everything was easy and you are both wooing each other. But as things progressed and we had disagreements or moments of not being sure about the relationship, she kept writing and we made the decision to keep those songs part of the project. So, I think what people hear is the unfolding of a real relationship, between two people who are working really hard to not repeat past mistakes, and to build a long-term honest relationship.
Claire: As for the sound, we’ve been described as “the happy civil wars” and I think that about sums it up. Don did a great job capturing who we are with the music.
Being an independent these days can be both fun and frustrating all at once. What has the journey been like for The Ormewoods in this internet driven world of independent music?
Claire: I’ve only had experience as an independent so for me being responsible for the writing/recording/booking/
Don: You are definitely in the trenches as an independent but on some level, but the trade-off is there’s a lot more freedom. When I was putting this all together, I never had to worry if I was delivering what someone else wanted. I only had to deliver what we wanted and that was fun. And I’ve had a lot of projects I’ve worked on that I’m proud of with the labels that never got off the ground because of circumstances out of my control. With this project, it will become whatever we make it and I’m looking forward to seeing how things unfold.
Please tell us when the album releases and how can people stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest with The Ormewoods?
The album releases in September 2016 and we hope people will follow us on Facebook (Theormewoods), Twitter (@theormewoods), and visit our site www.theormewoods.com! We are also trying to book our first national tour so we’d love to hear from people about great venues and cities to play in.