Interview: Tattletale Saints

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Lifelong music-makers and New Zealand natives Cy Winstanley and Vanessa McGowan, also known as Tattletale Saints, met in a high school jazz ensemble, who, at first, went their separate ways to pursue their musical dreams—McGowan eventually ended up in Las Vegas to pursue a master’s degree in jazz bass, while Winstanley sought his fortune as a professional guitarist in London. As we are all aware, we cannot stop what fate has in store; McGowan soon made her way to London, and the pair joined musical forces once again.

in 2013, the world travelers journeyed to Nashville to make an album, and decided to stay. “New Zealand is a wonderful place, but we thought there were adventures to be had in Nashville,” explains Winstanley. And what an adventure it has been! Tattletale Saints, once romantically connected, overcame the heartache of a decision to separate in order to preserve their musical connection. “We pretty quickly decided to do whatever it took to remain a band,” recalls McGowan. “We love playing together, and we’ve always been close friends. The band felt like our child; it was difficult for a while, but we worked hard on it. We moved here together for our music.”

Tattletale Saints is a duo, but have a drummer in order to perform as a three-piece ensemble; frontman Winstanley is the main songwriter and helms the guitar, the melodic pulse of the band, while McGowan sings backing vocals to Winstanley’s lead, and maintains the low end on upright bass, the instrument she’s played since the tender age of 14.  “It’s funny, people are still shocked by female bassists; it’s so normal to me. I went through a phase of being ‘aggressively capable’, where I wouldn’t let anyone help me carry my gear or anything. I’ve definitely chilled out about it and embraced it now. It can be fun being the only female in a band,” she says with a twinkle in her eyes.

They are releasing their third album together, a self-titled stunner of country shuffles and roots-rocking ramblers. “We got lots of time to be creative with this one. It’s quite different from our first album, and marks a transition for us, using drums and electric guitars and such,” explains McGowan. “It shows the evolution of our band, and that was our goal.” Winstanley’s storytelling prowess is is on full display, especially on tracks like “Little Richard Is Alive and Well in Nashville, Tennessee”, about downtown Nashville’s flamboyant legend. “I had heard a rumor that he lived in a hotel downtown, so I made up a story about it, I didn’t research it at all. Then I found out that he does live here, and he gets driven town around in a big, black vehicle. It’s funny that the song ended up not being too far from the truth,” he says with a chuckle. “We recorded that one live, it was fun.”

The band will tour in October to support the album in the States, and will head to Australia and New Zealand to play at the beginning of next year. As for release party plans? “Someone gave us a fancy bottle of Sonoma County wine, and we have a song on the album called ‘Sonoma County Wine’, so if nothing else, on release day, we’ll drink good wine.”

Purchase Tattletale Saintshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/tattletale-saints/id1135313965

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Susan Hubbard

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