“Some artists are interested in being complicated, it’s almost like they’re speaking another
language just to the connoisseur of the art,” says Tristen. “I have no interest in that. My style is
not to be exclusive. It’s to be inclusive. I’m trying to be as clear as possible. I’ve always been
interested in the purest form of the idea, so that it can communicate massively.”
That theme is at the core of Tristen’s music — music that is smart but accessible, meticulously
constructed but undeniably infectious.
A native of South Side Chicago turned longtime Nashville resident, Tristen has released two
critically acclaimed solo records — 2011’s Charlatans at the G arden Gate and 2013’s CAVES
— and toured extensively as a member of Jenny Lewis’ backing band. The folk-oriented
Charlatans earned her praise as “Nashville’s best-kept secret” ( The Boston Globe), and the more
synth-pop-o riented CAVES featured “ tales of greed, alienation and heartache, made poignant but
never saccharine by their electronically enhanced surroundings” ( Nashville Scene).
Tristen has been singing since she could speak, and writing and recording her own songs since
she was a teenager. Now an established touring musician with finely tuned chops and a knack for
lashing exceptional melodies to her singularly poetic lyrics, she travels with a practiced backing
trio of top-notch Nashville sidemen. Together, they bring Tristen’s lush, expertly crafted
arrangements to life, giving the singer room to brandish her outsized vocals and win audiences
with her powerful stage presence — performances that channel the rock ’n’ roll eclecticism of
David Bowie and the creative prowess of Dolly Parton.
“Performing is my favorite thing to do in the world,” she says. “It’s like meditation for me. I let
go. Ultimately, performing is about the audience, the singer and the band, and the shared
experience. And at the center is truth and beauty.”
In 2016, Tristen released her fir st book of poetry, Saturnine, a collection of 18 poems that span
from the “green carpet hills by San Francisco” to the “cold hard streets of Chicago” and brim
with a kaleidoscope of characters. He r third album, Sneaker Waves, will be released July 7 via
Modern Outsider Records.
“Her strength seems to reside in her ability to be musically versatile. Utilizing various orchestrations, Tristen weaves a glistening web of thoughtful and extremely mature melodies that tremble with undeniable power.” -American Songwriter
“Pop hooks and pure inspiration” – NPR All Things Considered
Growing up in Jackson, Tennessee, Erin Rae got an early introduction to folk music at home. Her mom and dad were both part-time musicians, playing their own brand of American roots music at churches, county fairs and coffee shops in west Tennessee. Starting as early as five years old, she would join them for a song or two.
Two decades later, she’s still spending her time onstage — this time as the main act. As the leader of Erin Rae and the Meanwhiles, she walks the line between old-school folk and modern Americana, creating a sound that nods to her influences while pushing ahead toward something new. It’s music that breathes, filled with pedal steel, vocal harmonies, acoustic guitar, bright bursts of melody and plenty of space. It’s also music that’s taken her halfway across the world, with Erin playing shows everywhere from Nashville (her adopted hometown) to Switzerland.
Erin and company recorded their full-length debut, Soon Enough, during an inspired two days in west Nashville. The group played live, tracking their parts together to capture the spirit of their concerts. There was no studio wizardry, no click track, no digital enhancement. Instead, the album — which Erin co-produced with Michael Rinne, Rodney Crowell’s touring bassist — serves as a gorgeous, no-frills Polaroid of Erin Rae and Meanwhiles’ sound, a sound they’ve been sharpening ever since the release of the Crazy Talk EP in 2010
During the five years that separate CrazyTalk from Soon Enough, a lot of life was lived. Erin’s songs tackle all of it: the changes, challenges and celebrations that come with a life dedicated to art. There are songs that deal with mental illness. Songs that deal with the importance of staying present. Songs inspired by childhood, adulthood and all the lovers and co-conspirators you meet in between.
The present wouldn’t be possible without the past. Released in September 2015, Soon Enough bridges the gap between the two, taking its inspiration from both places. This is new music for old souls.