Interview: Roanoke

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“I am so passionate about Americana music; it’s true and honest and raw. We’re inspired by the storytelling and instrumentation of it–it’s country, it’s blues, it’s folk, there are so many elements to Americana,” explains Taylor Dupuis, vocalist of Nashville-based folkicana outfit Roanoke.  “I initially hadn’t thought about pursuing folk or Americana music, but I never could find one genre that really moved me until I stumbled into that realm,” adds co-vocalist Joey Beesley.  “I just fell in love with it.”

Music brought Dupuis and Beesley to the Music City, and fate intersected their paths while working at local haunt, B.B. King’s Blues Club.  “Joey and I had both recently moved to Nashville to pursue the solo thing, and we met at work. We started hanging out to write and sing together, and realized our voices blended really well,” recalls Dupuis.  The pair rounded out the Roanoke lineup with new and talented friends collected along the way.  “When I met Zach [Nowak], our mandolin player, I noticed we had the same area code.  It turns out that we grew up in the same hometown in south Florida, but had never met,” says Beesley with a laugh.

The band all lives together and used to work together; “We’re together allllllll the time,” laughs Dupuis.  “There are times when we’ve been cooped up in the tour van for a couple of weeks, and we’ll get home and be like, ‘Hey guys, you want to hang out?’”  “We love each other!” adds Besley.  “We do acknowledge that it’s not normal for people to get along as well as we do, and we’re really thankful for that.  We’ve all worked so hard to make our music come to fruition, and we don’t have our families close by.  We really rely on each other at lot.”

Now, Roanoke is preparing to release their stirring self-titled debut on May 13th; the group captured 10 of 11 tracks in an old church-turned-studio in West Nashville.  “Recording was a long but great process, it was the first time we’d done anything like that,” recalls Dupuis.  “We got to use some historic equipment that really gave the album’s sound a lot of character—an old RCA mic that Emmylou Harris and Ryan Adams have used, and a 1970s-era Norman mic, which produced these contrasting and interesting sounds,” adds Beesley.

“Jordan” the band’s compelling debut single about finding forgiveness, is the first on the album, but was the last recorded.  “I met and saw Alison Krauss perform at B.B. King’s once; she performed a gospel song a cappella, it was so raw and the room was entirely silent.  I wanted to make a song like that,” says Dupuis. With its goosebump-inducing harmonies and heart-warming instrumentation, mission accomplished.

After their May 14th album release show at East Nashville landmark The 5 Spot, Roanoke plans to hit the road, so be sure to keep your eyes on their social media for schedules and updates.

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Susan Hubbard

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