Melody Walker and Jacob Groopman are grabbing attention everywhere they go. Along with their progressive bluegrass band Front Country, they have garnered gold in band competitions at both Rockygrass and Telluride, Melody’s debut record, Gold Rush Goddess, was named one of the top 50 records of 2012 by No Depression, and Melody won the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in April of this year.
That is a nice collection of kudos for a couple of musicians who have been on the scene for just a couple years.
Melody and Jacob, who live in Northern California and hail from San Francisco and Richmond, respectively, can be found recording and playing as a duo when not on the road with Front Country. Just this week, they set out from California on a two month tour that will take them all over the country. Jacob and Melody are touring in support of their new release, We Made It Home.
BRO recently caught up with Jacob and Melody to get Totally Trivial.
BRO – One thing you can get in NorCal that you can’t get in Richmond?
Jacob – Seriously amazing authentic dim sum. I never even knew about this until I moved out to California. In Richmond, we didn’t even get a sushi place until I was in high school. Of course, I’ve not lived in Richmond for almost 15 years, so maybe there is some dim sum there now.
Melody – Poison oak. Y’all have poison ivy over there, but apparently the rash is the same, so . . . .
BRO – One thing you can get in Richmond that you can’t get in NorCal?
Jacob – Great Civil War history!
Melody – All kinds of weird Southern foods that don’t even exist on the West Coast. What is creasy salad? Chitlins?
BRO – In five words or less, finish the following statement – “Winning the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest was better than . . . . “
Jacob – . . . not winning!
Melody – . . . getting tarred and feathered.
BRO – Most recent song that you heard and immediately had to listen to again?
Jacob – This is random, but it was a song by a UK artist named Goldfrapp. I was in our neighborhood record store, heard it, and had to go home and find it. The album is called Tales of Us.
Melody – I do this all the time, but most recently it was “Gone and Back” from Alaskan songwriter Anna Lynch. She released it as a teaser for her new album, and you can listen to it here – http://annalynch.bandcamp.com/track/gone-and-back. It’s super catchy and has this cajuny swing that makes me want to dance.
BRO – Favorite guilty pleasure while on the road?
Jacob – White Cheddar Cheez-Its.
Melody – Chex Muddy Buddies. But we do not give in to these pleasures anymore. Why, you got some?
BRO – Last movie that made you cry?
Jacob – Forrest Gump. It’s the only move that’s ever made me cry. “I miss you, Jen-nay!”
Melody – It doesn’t take much. I guess Gravity got me for a second, even though that movie was stupid!
BRO – Most played song on your iPod? You proud of that?
Jacob – I have no idea. It might be “Bubbles,” by Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, and Zakir Hussain. I can’t get enough of that song and I am very proud.
Melody – I’ve worn out Graceland – the whole album – pretty good on road trips over the years. It never gets old and always puts a smile on my face. That’s basically like musical heroin. I will never quit you, Paul.
BRO – What state do you anticipate driving through least on the big tour?
Jacob – Nebraska, because it NEVER ends. This time, though, we’re actually stopping for a gig in North Platte so maybe I’ll change my tune. Texas is also really large.
Melody – Sorry, Nevada, but it’s always you. There no gig here and you not very scenic on I-80.
BRO – Favorite tune on the new record?
Jacob – I’m a big fan of how “Betelguese” came out.
Melody – I like “O Heartbreaker” because it’s really a pop song snuck onto a folk record.
BRO – If you could have just one guest sit in on the big tour, it would be . . .
Jacob – Tim O’Brien. One day it will happen.
Melody – David Rawlings. Sorry Jacob.
Melody and Jacob will be racking up some serious miles in the car over the next couple months. If you get a chance, catch them when they hit a town near you. For our Colorado readers, the duo will be in Carbondale, Longmont, and Boulder by the end of this week. Jacob and Melody will be in the Southeast by the end of November, hitting Washington, D.C., Richmond (VA), and Johnson City and Knoxville (TN).