Meet and Greet


Hanging out with Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden

by Lindsey Lowe

 

Have you ever listened to music and felt like you knew the people singing to you? Or gone to a live show and wanted to walk up and hug the band because, well, you’ve all been hanging out in your living room for years? (I had this experience recently with Langhorne Slim. He was actually in the crowd at Bottletree before his show, and I almost walked up, elbowed him, gestured to the opening band, and said, “Good, right?” But I digress.) I thought it would be fun for us, as a city, to get to know the people who stop here and sing to us and who are singing to us in our kitchens on Tuesday nights, too. Then we can really all be friends.

On August 21, Nashville band Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden stops in at Bottletree (alongside Birmingham’s The Heavy Hearts). Tucker’s voice sounds like the way you feel when you’re standing on the dock of a lake watching a sunset so stunning you can’t breathe, much less Instagram it. “We play dark and dreamy indie rock with sparkling melodies and shimmering soundscape,” Tucker says. “I hope it conveys the same sense of mystery and wonder that I’ve experienced when listening to certain music. I think music is a strange and wonderful thing that can help us to feel more deeply and live more fully and I would hope that ours does that for someone.” (Experience this right this minute by listening to “The State I’m In” off of the new album, The Shape the Color the Feel.)

Tucker says she isn’t sure what it was that drew her into music. “Maybe it was the cassette recorder my parents gave when I was three. Maybe it was the Amy Grant concert I saw when I was 9 years old, or the Cranberries concert I saw at age 13. Maybe it was trying out for junior high choir and quitting the first day. Maybe ’cause my godfather is a guitar builder and when I asked for a guitar, he gave me the first one he’d ever built. Maybe it was out back at my mom’s garage sale, where my best friend Josh Ryan showed me how to play ‘Zombie.’ Maybe cause I like being around people and I like to create things and music is one way to do both.” Maybe each of these moments created the perfect storm; in any case, she’s smitten with music making.

Born in Ohio and raised on a farm, Tucker moved to Paris when she was 21 and played on the streets there. Eventually, she grew tired of that and came back to the States, to Seattle. It was there, in 2007, that the inaugural Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden band was born and that the eponymous first album was made. Tucker then headed east and landed in New York City, but she didn’t stay long (“New York wasn’t the New York I’d read about in Patti Smith interviews,” she explains.) So she came south, all the way to the Music City, put together a new band—including bass player Randle Scruggs, guitar player Wes Chandler, drummer Ethan Place, and keys player and programmer Nic Danielson (who was part of the original band)—and made the second album. The band is now on tour across the United States—she’s come a long way from “busking” on the streets of Paris. “The [best part is] the experience of playing with a group of people you know and love and getting to know and love them more as you play. Taking that situation on the road and performing in a room of strangers who all have their own ‘families’ and sets of experiences, I love that. Every night there’s a different energy,” she says.

In addition to the album itself, a music video was created for every song on it, which are set to premiere throughout 2014. The band handpicked the filmmakers and artists who created these visual expressions of the music (find the video for “Looking Around” at the vinyldistrict.com and “Best Friends’ Love” exclusively on esquire.com.) Moreover, Australian artist Jessie English created a series of wet process photograms based on each song; the exhibit opened in Nashville on Feb. 16, 2014, and will tour through several cities this year (you can find out more information about this at katetuckerandthesonsofsweden.com.)

For bass player Scruggs, the Birmingham show will be a visit home. “If you’re a fan of a band that’s coming through your area, go to the show. Support it. Turn your friends on to it. That’s what makes it work,” Scruggs says. “Start a band of your own if you’re a music lover and you play. Anyone can make their own music and be a part of what’s happening in their local scene.” Tucker asked to give a shout out to Birmingham Mountain Radio, which has been promoting the band’s new single. “We can’t thank them enough for giving us a place on the Birmingham airwaves. If you like our music, let ’em know by requesting ‘Blue Hotel,’” she says. “We wanna be your favorite Nashville band because we are looking for every excuse to get down to Bham.”

Upcoming Events 

8/25: Lissie at Workplay. For fans of Birdy, Sia, and James Vincent McMorrow.

10/2: Broken Bells at Iron City. For fans of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Grouplove, and Portugal. The Man.

10/11: Drive-By Truckers, Wild Cub, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, and more at Cask & Drum. Visit caskanddrum.com to buy tickets.

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