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HOMETOWN: Nashville, TN
GENRE: Indie Pop-Rock
ARTISTIC APPROACH: Using stripped down sounds, allowing lyrics to better resonate.
For married couple and musical partners Jenny and Tyler Somers, recording their latest release, Open Your Doors, was a complete change of pace. Electric guitars? Gone. Their trademark upbeat melodies and epic pop-rock moments? Virtually non-existent. Tyler playing the role of producer as before? Replaced instead by Mitch Dane (Jars of Clay, Hannah Miller). Most everything about this album (except their continued harmonic vocal prowess) is a departure from previous efforts, and that is no accident.
“We wanted something more stripped down this time,” Jenny says. “The vocals and songs are meant to speak without a lot of help from extra instruments.”
Their writing process was very organic. After touring heavily to support their last release, Faint Not, they were burned out and wanted to find physical and spiritual rest. From there, they responded by penning a series of low-key songs that came from a place of vulnerability and openness as they sought respite. “You Keep Loving Me” was recorded outside (and features birds singing in the background) and its peaceful vibe augments the relief of realizing God still loves you no matter what you have done, and “Little Balloon” juxtaposes an upbeat sound with lyrics about someone who is hanging by a thread. Even one that didn’t make the cut – a haunting rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence” that recently went to #4 on iTunes’ singer-songwriter charts and raised almost $2,000 to fight human trafficking – is purposefully executed.
The album focuses on relationships – be it with God, spouses or friends – which makes sense since they are very relational people and love doing house shows.
“About one-third of our shows are house concerts,” Tyler says. “They are our favorite type of show. They are a very intimate musical experience. They feel more like a conversation than a performance. We’ve met some of our very best friends over the past few years this way.” Jenny and Tyler took a risk writing such a raw and sometimes painful album, but it bleeds and breathes with honesty and ultimately leads to catharsis at the end, and that is a rare feat.
photo by Emily Troutman