Sad songs just sound better. It's true, and while I'd love to gush about the delicate sorrow of Tennessee's the Everybodyfields, it would take space away from their wonderful interview answers below. I will say that the duo (Sam Quinn and Jill Andrews) is part of an exciting new movement in contemporary bluegrass-influenced music (alongside labelmates the Avett Brothers), and their brand-new release, Nothing Is Okay, is a gorgeous waltz of swelling country ballads soaked in a river of spilled tears. Yes, it's that sad.
MERCURY: I absolutely love Nothing Is Okay, but do people who have heard the album often inquire if you're doing alright? Do strangers offer hugs after your shows?
SAM QUINN: When the events that influenced these recordings transpired, people showed a fair amount of concern about our well being, but now it's a little weird. When people come up and tell us about the record, they are usually excited and trying hard not to speak rapidly, which I find to be somewhat ironic. This is a response that is kind of out of place when the tunes are mostly, or entirely, about a really bad time in our lives when we both probably wanted to be dead, or maybe that was just me. I bet Jill will tell me later not to have said that. However, it happens to be true, and that is exactly the precedent that the Portland Mercury was founded on—truth in journalism.
I found that when talking to the Avett Brothers, they said their lack of bluegrass in their formative years helped them appreciate the style more when they were older, is that the same with you two?
We were raised far away from country music. It was always there, but at the same time, no one I was running with at the time showed any interest toward it. I came from the Creedence, Neil Young, Megadeth, Pantera, Earl Scruggs, back to Creedence approach. It wasn't until high school that I started to appreciate what made the twang appealing, which was unfortunately right after I had decided to forcibly lose my Southern accent.
As a quiet band that often opens for larger acts, what's the key to preventing people from loudly talking over your set?
I constantly wonder about this. I even wonder to this day why people will pay money to come hear an hour or so of sad-sap music about depressing times, but people do it. We have played with the Avett Brothers when I thought that we would surely be likened to baby sheep on killing day, but for the most part I think that people are understanding enough to know that, "Okay, I am at a show and the band is starting and I can't hear it because everyone in the room is speaking far too loudly for me to hear," and then maybe take some initiative to stick their lips out and go "shhhh." When people go to see shows, they are looking to be entertained. They are probably going to invest some level of care to do their part to ensure that things go this way, unless it's like The Jerry Springer Show. I am guessing that after almost any logical statement, you could follow it up with "unless it's The Jerry Springer Show."
The Everybodyfields perform at Mississippi Studios on Thursday, October 11.