Clubland: Here Come the Foxes debut at Rendezvous
Sam French, left, and Dana Osterling ofthe new band, Here Come the Foxes
“I thought moving to the Pioneer Valley might slow me down in terms of writing and recording and networking and learning and growing,” said Dana Osterling, “but boy was I wrong!”
The vocalist/multi-instrumentalist was big-city Brooklyn-based until she moved to Leverett in September. In those few short months, she’s made a number of musical connections, including a very fruitful one with multi-instrumentalist Sam French. Though the two have only known each other for a month or so, they’ve created a prolific new band, Here Come the Foxes.
The duo, joined by bassist Matt Clegg, will make its debut at a free show at the Rendezvous in Turners Falls on Saturday at 9:30 p.m.
Their partnership came out of nowhere.
French, who also records musicians in his home studio in Gill, was in need of a cellist for a project he was engineering. A friend recommended Osterling, who came to the studio and laid down her parts. Business finished for the day, French was messing around on an acoustic guitar and Osterling picked one up, too, playing and improvising lyrics.
“I’m not really sure how to explain it,” French said, “but it just felt super natural and was a kind of freeing experience. We started doing sessions like that. I would improvise something on the guitar, she would find a guitar part and vocal melody that worked and we would just jam out some tunes.”
French recorded their improvisations and then shaped them into a form, which Osterling would then sing over.
“This was all just sort of on a whim, for fun,” French said, but decided pretty quickly that the two new friends should start an acoustic duo — and so began Here Come the Foxes.
“Playing with Sam has been one of the most natural endeavors I’ve ever entered.” Osterling said. “I think we ‘get’ each other, and as soon as we started experimenting with different sounds it was easy to hit on a lot of something good.”
The duo has two songs up on SoundCloud, one electric with a drum machine (“Found”) and one acoustic (“Lost”), both beautifully earthy and atmospheric. Osterling’s engaging voice can be down-to-earth and conversational or flutter high with a Joni Mitchell-esque trill, while French’s accompaniment is alluring and hypnotic, more in the realm of indescribable bands like His Name Is Alive or mood-creators like Red House Painters than any regular folk/acoustic sound.
“Drawing inspiration from nature and peace, I hope our music will reflect a muse,” Osterling said, “but I also want it to shimmer with a darkness, to embrace cynicism and weave it together along with something a little more raw than we usually associate with today’s typical brand of folk.”
The two musicians are involved in other projects (French with a hometown duo with singer/songwriter Ashley Storrow called Gill Folk, as well as playing bass in a group named Dr. Reputation; Osterling plays cello and sings with the band Tawdry) but French called Here Come the Foxes a full-time project that will most likely add more members in the future.
French and Osterling plan to do a full-length record for a spring 2013 release, but in the meantime you can hear the two aforementioned — and excellent — songs at their website, soundcloud.com/herecomethefoxes.