MuzicNotez: First off, it’s an honor to be doing this interview with you, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us.
Introduce yourselves, what are your names and rolls in the duo?
Bradford: My name is Bradford Loomis and I sing and play acoustic guitar.
Beth: I’m Beth Whitney and I sing and play a baritone ukulele named “Barry” and a tenor banjo named “Gretchen.”
MuzicNotez: How did you meet and form up? How long have you been together?
Bradford Loomis and Beth Whitney: We both live in this small town, about an hour North of Seattle. I kept hearing about Beth and her record Ukulele, so I looked her up online. I heard her amazing music and saw that she was from the same small town and I thought “How have I never heard or met her before?” Apparently, I wasn’t as plugged in to the scene as I thought! So I asked her and her husband if the would want to play a show with me. We did, and we had so much fun. That was November of 2012 So we teamed up for a little tour two weeks from Beth’s due date (she was profusely pregnant at the time) and it was just so easy. So after they brought a precious little life into the world, we started writing together in August of last year. And I was (and am) so excited with the songs that we wrote that we decided to team up and record the record together.
MuzicNotez: Who were your musical influences, idols, or bands growing up that have helped mold you into the band you are today? Or helped mold the music that you create?
Bradford: Hmmm. Well, I grew up listening to Neil Diamond, Led Zeppelin, Anne Murray and the Doors. The Bee Gees taught me to sing falsetto. None of my music sounds anything like that though. I had pretty much given up on music, until I found the movies Once, and O’ Brother Where Art Thou, and the Pete Seeger Sessions by Bruce Springsteen. I was blown away and I immediately resonated at a very deep place with these amazing songs of suffering and of hope.
Beth: I gravitate towards the sweet melancholy singer-songwriter types, and also most anything Celtic. Nickel Creek, Mindy Smith, JJ Heller, Patti Griffin, Ingrid Michaelson, and Alison Krauss are my heroes. If I’m having a rough day though, I’ll put on Gregorian chants. I’m sure all of this has shaped my approach to music and this project, but I’m not sure exactly how.
MuzicNotez: What’s the greatest concert you’ve ever been to or performed?
The Swell Season. Hands down. They were so dynamic, so passionate, so tight, and truly genius as performers.
Beth: This might sound contrived, but Bradford Loomis is seriously one of the best performers I’ve ever seen. I’ve never had my attention so commanded and all at once honored by another performer as it is by him. He seems to gather the collective plight of an audience’s humanity and then sing it out for all of us.
MuzicNotez: What’s the ultimate goal you want your music to achieve, or for you to achieve in your career as a musician? Any particular message you wish to send?
Bradford: I think every artist wants to share what is meaningful to them; what moves them. And I think they want to be heard as well. I firmly believe I have an insatiable need to write and create music. I would love to be able to continue making my living and providing for my family doing just that. I would say, pursue what you love and make this life what you would like it to be.
Beth: This will sound dramatic but I had a dream one time (before I ever started singing) where I saw a sea of people turning on each other into a violent war. I knew something needed to be done so I climbed up on a stage, took a deep breath, and sang with all my might. When my voice hit the crowd, the people changed instantly from a blaze of mad hornets into a still and unified people. There is a tired edge, an unsettled blaze, a fearful grip in the heart, mine included. I hope the music we make can address and soften this stuff.
MuzicNotez: Your much anticipated album ‘The Banner Days’ is set to be released August, 23rd. How did you come up with the name, and what’s the inspiration behind this album?
Bradford: My wife found this old saying that means the days that you would celebrate specifically by raising a banner.
Beth: It’s generally a term used to talk about days past, but we’ve adopted it is an optimistic look on today and tomorrow. In the vast universe of time and space, our banner days might as well be right now.
MuzicNotez: The first night you met, it took you 2 hours to write the first track of the album ‘My Beloved’. That’s incredible, what was that experience like?
Beth: Well, it wasn’t the first time we’d met, but it was the first time we’d attempted to write a song together. That night, I tucked Aaron and I’s one-year-old into bed. Bradford came over with his guitar and I made all of us Thompson’s tea. I showed him a song idea I’d had that was about 5 seconds long and then we built the song from there. It just came so easy- like it was just waiting in the air for us. The song is loosely based on Song of Solomon, the swell and agony of love.
MuzicNotez: What else are you working on? What can we expect to see and hear from you in the future?
Bradford Loomis and Beth Whitney: We will be touring throughout the Fall and Winter. We have a handful of songs that we will be finishing and prepping for the next record!
MuzicNotez: Anything else you wish to say about yourself or your music? Any message for your fans?
Bradford: We have poured our hearts and souls into these songs and we can’t wait to share them all with you all! And you can check us out at www.thebannerdays.com, but also, make sure you check out Beth’s music. Just click on her face and it will take you to her site. Her music has meant so much to me personally. You will love it.
Beth: Thank you, Bradford! Same goes for his stuff. If you want some gritty and honest hope in your being, he’s your guy. I guess I would say.. don’t be a stranger. We’d love to hear your stories and get to know you whether that be on social media or hopefully and better yet, at a house show sometime.