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Hey Marseilles first won hearts across the US with its 2010 debut, To Travels and Trunks, an album that reveled in the education and inspiration only globe-trotting exploration can provide. With Matt Bishop’s lyrical wayfaring abutting an instrumental palette that embraced folk tradition—accordion, strings, and horns; gypsy, Gallic, and classical—To Travels and Trunks gave musical voice to the universal longing for unfettered freedom. NPR called the record “sublime and heartfelt.”
A lot has changed in the world since 2010—that house in Columbia City, for instance. The vacillations of the economy allowed Hey Marseilles violist Jacob Anderson to acquire it in 2011; he and his younger brother, cellist and producer Sam Anderson, helped renovate it. Since then, most of the band has lived in it, and the entirety of their new album was written and recorded in it, or nearby. (Other recording spaces included a tunnel in Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park, a mostly abandoned brick office building, and a church sanctuary, all because of their advantages for the band’s acoustic instrumentation.) Not surprisingly, Lines We Trace is not about going out and searching. It’s about finding you’re already where you need to be.
The Apache Relay was formed by chance in a Nashville college dorm when Michael Ford Jr. (vocals, bass) met Mike Harris (guitar, vocals). Ford Jr. happened to be looking for some musicians to help perform his own music live, when he heard about Harris’ newly formed band, The Apache Relay. Ford Jr. hired the trio, which also included Brett Moore (keys, guitar, mandolin) and Kellen Wenrich (fiddle), to back him at a show and it was immediately evident that the four musicians had a unique chemistry and were on to something special.
The four-?piece released their debut LP titled 1988 in 2009. Produced by Doug Williams, (renowned for his authentically raw approach with the Avett Brothers) the record was lauded by Paste Magazine as one of “The Eight Most Auspicious Musical Debuts of 2009”. The band’s ability to effortlessly blend acoustic sounds with ferocious rock anthem elements only hinted at the band’s capabilities.
Capitalizing on the initial success of their debut with relentless touring, The Apache Relay honed their sound and released their sophomore album American Nomad in April 2011, in the US, via indie stalwart Thirty Tigers. Produced by Neilson Hubbard, the collection of modern roots-?rock tracks encompassed the eclectic range of influences the band meshed so well; a tinge of Bad Brains, some Suzuki training, jazz lessons, a lot of Beatles’ listening, a knowledge of traditional mountain music, a worship of Phil Spector and the love for the complex but accessible layers of bands like Arcade Fire. A few months later, Ford Jr.’s brother, Ben, joined the band as rhythm guitarist and supporting vocalist. The brothers had been harmonizing and playing together since the age of 12 and 13, so it was a natural fit.