Sometimes you just have to get away.
That was what the members of Nashville based Americana band Roanoke did when they set about recording their newest record, Where I Roam, which drops today.
The band headed to a cabin in northern Michigan, finding inspiration in the silence and solace that comes from getting away from the ebb and flow of the Music City.
By any measure, it was a smart move. The collection of songs that became Where I Roam are lovely, highlighting the band’s tight harmonies – vocalists Joey Beesley and Travis Dupuis blend beautifully together – and songwriting prowess.
I had the pleasure of hearing from guitarist/vocalist Travis Dupuis about recording the new record, where the band will be roaming next, and the inspiration that comes from immersing oneself in rural Michigan to make a record.
BRO – Best part of being isolated in a cabin in Michigan to write a record?
TD – For me, the best part was the fact that I grew up there. Much of my childhood was spent in northern Michigan in the woods, so I had a lot of memories and nostalgic feelings to draw from. Apart from that, it was great to get away from the hustle and bustle of Nashville for a bit. As a band, we are always together, touring, practicing, and playing shows, so it can be difficult to get everyone in one place and in a creative, stress-free environment. It was the first time we had done anything like that, so inspiration just seemed to pour out of us. We took some time during the days to have a little fun, like riding four wheelers through the trails and having family dinners in the evenings, so it was just a relaxing, eye-opening experience that really brought us together as a band, and I think that comes through in the music.
BRO – Was there a special spot you found at the cabin that just felt right for writing?
TD – The whole place was great for writing. The cabin was my uncle’s hunting lodge, so it is pretty bare bones. We had all of our equipment set up in the upstairs loft, which was great for arranging and jamming. During the day, we would split off or pair off. Some of us would sit on the back porch in the morning, listening to the birds’ chirp, while others might take a walk down the trails and find some inspiration in the trees. We found some really beautiful open fields while riding on the trails and we sat around the fire at night. There was no shortage of peaceful, beautiful spots to find inspiration.
BRO – What music did you all listen to while you were in the cabin?
TD – We listened to Tyler Chiders’ Purgatory quite a lot. I still hear those songs and it always takes me back to the cabin. We also listened to a ton of Bon Iver, Fleetwood Mac, Gregory Alan Isakov, Jason Isbell, and some Bill Evans and Miles Davis in the morning.
BRO – We are featuring “Silent Films” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?
TD – During the day, much of our time was spent writing, and in the evenings we would come together and jam any new material anyone had come up with earlier. One evening we went up to the loft and Kyle, our drummer, played us a song and we all really loved it. Joey started singing it, I added some harmonies, and we worked out an arrangement and knew we had something really special. The song is about how fragile falling in love can be, especially in the presence of others. We recently released a music video for it which features clips of my grandparents in the 70s traveling and falling in love, which so perfectly embodies the idea behind both the song and Where I Roam.
BRO – Considering the record title, where would you like to roam to next?
TD – We will be all over this summer and fall, from Michigan to Virginia and places in between. We love to bring our music on the road, and there are so many places we can’t wait to explore. We would love to go west very soon and eventually make it out of the United States and over the United Kingdom. Traveling and seeing new places is a large part of our sound, and I am very excited to see how it inspires our unwritten songs.
Roanoke doesn’t have to roam far this weekend, as they will be celebrating the release of the new record with a show in their hometown of Nashville. After that, the road will take them to the Midwest, with shows in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan in early July before returning to the Southeast later in the month.
For more information on the band, the new record, or when Roanoke will be on stage near you, please surf over to their website.
Be sure to check out this month’s Trail Mix, where you can take a listen to “Silent Films,” along with brand new tunes from the likes of Hawktail, T. Hardy Morris, and Cicada Rhythm.