THE CAVE SINGERS are in Tucson, just starting a lengthy tour for their fourth record, the cryptically titled Naomi.
"I wanted to call the album Future Dudes," says Derek Fudesco, the Cave Singers guitarist and co-founder. He also had a couple of other working titles in mind, but they "were all just weird, random things that Pete [Quirk, singer] says onstage." So Naomi was named after a muse, or "totem" figure. The spiritual significance is apt, Fudesco says: "Not to go into too much detail, but Pete's gone through a lot in the past couple of years, and the name comes from a culmination of the themes and subjects of the entire record."
The Cave Singers started in Seattle around 2007, never imagining they would play professionally together. The collaboration began as a minor recording project between Fudesco and Quirk, who were both in other bands and didn't think the recordings would ever leave the basement. "Pete had this weird little acoustic guitar, and we were just swapping ideas for music. When I got back from tour, he had put three or four vocal tracks together, and made this neat-sounding song. We both knew we wanted to make more songs together." Soon after, they asked drummer Marty Lund to play with them. "We were crammed with ideas, and we just wanted to record and to make it as simple as possible."
Led by Quirk's scorched, husky vocals, the Cave Singers' backcountry, campfire folk was the work of a three-piece until this record. Naomi features a dynamic new member, bassist Morgan Henderson (the Blood Brothers, Fleet Foxes). Recalling some of the early days, Fudesco says, "In the beginning, there were a few songs where the three of us sat in a line playing guitars. It was kind of brutal." The decision to add Henderson was easy—they were already good friends in Seattle. "We wanted to get louder," says Fudesco. "Morgan came to practice and it was just a ridiculously good fit."
With Henderson onboard, Naomi sounds more optimistic and easygoing than the Cave Singers' past records—there's a noticeably upbeat attitude and grace in its pacing. Fudesco says, "We wrote most of this record in the summer, and I think the sound is a product of writing when it's really nice out—it did really come out lighter than normal."