Get to Know Redleg Husky, pt 2: Son 

The intra-band interview series continues with Misa turning the questions on me, the newest Husky:

First off, how did you get the name Son?
I moved to a hippie commune for a couple years after college. Lots of people there change their names, and I was sort of drawn to the idea of choosing my own name. Somebody suggested “Sun” with a “u” because of my hair, and I sort of liked the sound of it, but I didn’t want to compare myself to the sun. That seemed sort of arrogant to me. I liked the idea of “Son” with an “o” because it ties into the blues tradition that I love so much, and because I felt like I was coming there with a lot to learn. I was coming there to grow and be a young person in a community of all ages, and by the time I was moving away two years later I was used to it and didn’t want to drop it. That’s still how I feel – no matter how old I get I think life is about learning.

How did you meet us?
Last summer I went on tour as a mercenary bassman for a band from Richmond, VA called Haints in the Holler, a wonderful indie rock band. The very first week of the tour we were in beautiful Denver, Colorado, playing a show at the 7th Circle Collective, a cool little DIY-venue. Also on the bill was this duo all the way from North Carolina called Redleg Husky. I really enjoyed talking to them, and I enjoyed their set. So we stayed in touch, they came up to Richmond, my band came down to visit them in Boone, and then after that trip to Boone I got back and there was a message waiting from them saying, “Hey, this is kind of crazy, but do you want to join the band?” and I said, “Hell no, that’s crazy, there’s no way.” Then I thought about it and decided to do it.

What made you want to join Redleg Husky?
I just heard y’all had good beer at your house… So, I was living in Richmond, VA, and I was playing music full-time. But I was playing in bands with people who weren’t doing it full time, so I had to play in a bunch of different bands to cobble together a living. For a while I had been feeling really envious of the bands in Richmond that were all in it together, lived together, were going on the road all the time, were doing it together. Then when you guys invited me I thought, “Yeah, this is exactly what I’m looking for. They’re all about it, they share my passion, they realize that it’s possible, they believe in themselves, they believe that they can do it, and I believe in them. I think their music is awesome. And I really like them as people, too.” So on a creative level, on a professional level, on a personal level, it was all a good fit.

You recently moved here from Richmond. How are you liking Asheville?
It’s been great. I haven’t had a ton of time to go out on my own yet in town, but I’ve really enjoyed it when I have, and these mountains are incredibly beautiful. I just pinch myself every day...I can’t believe that I get to live in this beautiful place and play music for a living. It just seems like those two things are so good that I shouldn't possibly have both.

People ask us sometimes – why does your bass look so weird?
If you’re referring to the fact that it’s fretless, it’s because the chunkiest bass lines can only be played when there are no frets to get in the way.

What musician/genre has influenced your playing style the most?
It’s tough to say because I’ve played in a lot of different bands, and have played a lot of genres of music. I guess the two that come to mind are Berry Oakley of the Allman Brothers Band and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. When I was learning bass in high school, part of the way I taught myself was learning all the bass lines from Dark Side of the Moon and the Allman Brothers’ Fillmore East albums. That was one of the first things that I ever learned how to play, so that’s my foundation, that’s my fundamentals, and I think I still probably come back to that in my playing. Berry Oakley’s playing especially... I think he’s awesome. It’s so much more dynamic than what many bass players in rock and blues do. May he rest in peace.

Do you play any other instruments?
I sure do! I really enjoy playing acoustic guitar, both lead and rhythm, and in my main band in Richmond that’s what I was doing. Then, in the last year or so, I’ve been fortunate enough to get my hands on an old Yamaha organ. I definitely would not be comfortable playing that out live at all, but I enjoy noodling on it at home.

What do you love about music?
I’ve been absolutely obsessed with music since I was two years old, since I first consciously heard music. When I was two years old, my dad gave me a tape player and some Beatles tapes. He taught me how to use the tape player, how to work the stop and the play and the rewind, and take the tape out and flip it around and everything. That was it. I was hooked. From then on, I had that thing with me all the time. Go to the kitchen to eat breakfast with the tape player. Playing with my toys with the tape player on. Those tapes on, all the time. It’s just always been that way. Anything I’m doing, I want to have music playing. I have no idea how I can put it into words. To listen to and play, just be around music, that’s why I wake up every day.

If you could time travel, what time period would you go to?
Probably early human civilization, or pre-human civilization, to see the earth back then. And then play the first bass line. [cackles] I’ll bring a generator and a bass amp and a bass, and play the first bass line. No, but to see what the planet looked like before we took it over, to put it nicely. That’d be beautiful.

What is your favorite kind of pie?
Oh my God… How much time do you have? For those of you out there that don’t know me, I really love pie a lot. It’s the best food there is, hands down. If I could eat it for three meals a day and wouldn’t die, I’d do that. Favorite kind of pie is impossible, but I’ll say the best pie I ever had was a brambleberry pie in Custer, South Dakota. It was a bunch of different berries. There was a pie shop in this giant purple building in the middle of this straight-laced town. I went in, I bought a slice, I left, I ate it, I turned my car around, I drove back and got a whole thing because it was so incredibly good. Oh my God. Someday, I will go back there and have more. Hopefully with y’all. It’d be great.

What is your daily hair care routine that enables you to achieve such long, luscious locks?
As my roommates and bandmates can attest: very long showers. They’re very important. The highest quality, all-natural shampoo and conditioner. Daily brushing. And a rich, vitamin-filled diet to keep it all healthy. I can teach you, but I’d have to charge.

Get to Know Redleg Husky, pt 1: Misa Giroux 

It's Son the bassman here for the Redleg blog, bringing you the first installment of a three part series to help you get to know each of the three of us better. I sat down with Ms. Misa Giroux this morning to find out more about her thoughts on music, beer, and the Redleg life:

How did you and Tim meet?
We met at a potluck at grad school, on one of the first few days after I moved to Boone. A bunch of us ended up hanging out til three in the morning playing music, and we were pretty much inseparable after that point.

What's the first thing he said to you?
Probably something like [very accurate Tim impersonation]: We're in the same program! Sweet man! Oh, dude, you're in [the music program] too? High five!

Why do you play music?
That's a good question...I think mostly I play music because there are so many songs that I love so much that I want to be able to share them with other people. And, when you're singing about something that you really connect with, that's really the best feeling in the world. Lyrics are a big deal for me, so when I find something that I can't get enough of, I just want to keep playing it over and over again, and I connect with that so much. There are a million reasons but that's it in a nutshell.

If you could book Redleg Husky to tour with any band on Earth, what band would that be?
Tift Merritt. She's my favorite artist to see live. I think her shows always feel really intimate. She's a great songwriter but also just the sweetest person on the planet. So I think it would just be the best tour.

Misa lights up at the thought of touring with Tift Merritt

What's your favorite part of playing shows, and what do you feel when you're on stage?
It's great being able to play with two of my best friends. I think if we're having fun, that's the important part. Whenever we're in the groove and feeling great about it, I think everybody else picks up on that energy and has a good time. When people start dancing that's really great too.

What song that you've written are you most proud of?
Probably 'Your Favorite Hymn.' That one makes me feel the most things, and I still get really emotional when I play it sometimes. I think the most emotion went into writing that one, and it hasn't really faded. Whereas some in the past, I might have a lot of feelings that I want to put down on paper, and a song comes out of it, but after a while I think 'OK, that ran its course.' But 'Your Favorite Hymn' still gets me most of the time in a way that some other people's songs do, and I don't get that often, but with that one I really do.

Would you be open to sharing with the world more of the story behind that one?
I think the easiest way to put it is that most of it is about someone I really had feelings for, and it's just certain moments – like of a morning making tea, or very specific places, and just a certain point in time that I wanted to pinpoint and not forget. When Tim and I were traveling a lot, those little moments added up to so much for me and I carried that with me for a while. I connected that too with our friend who passed away, so the last verse is about him specifically, and him commenting on how happy I was during that period of time. 'I can see this huge change in you, and you're lighting up again' – he said that to me. So, just those little things that stuck with me.

If you were on a desert island and your only source of entertainment was a record player and the entire discography of only one band or artist, what band or artist would that be?
[right away:] Rilo Kiley!
Wait, ugh, that's so hard! Can I give you multiple artists? It's a tie – between Rilo Kiley and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Because both of those artists – each album just in itself is, like I what I said earlier, representative of a moment in time. Each one has a certain feeling that goes along with it. So even though I might not listen to Rilo Kiley that much anymore, that was the one band I devoted my entire life to. You just get obsessed and every song means something. It feels like 'Oh, they wrote this for me.' So that's how I feel about all their albums, except the last one, which is more fun than anything else. And then Mary Chapin Carpenter, I've listened to her my whole life. I feel the same way – she knows me inside and out like nobody else does. Plus she has more in her discography so that would last me longer.

If you had a magic wand and could change anything about the world, what would you change?
I feel like I need to say something really wise...I think I get frustrated with the fact that everybody wants to control other people's lives, politically or otherwise. Just give people a little more freedom. If you don't agree with something that's okay, just let it be. So, I would just relax the world a little bit more.

What's your favorite beer?
Oooh....I really love the Highland Oatmeal Porter. Though I do enjoy a good Labatt Blue or Rolling Rock from time to time.

What's your favorite thing to do on days off from Redleg gigs?
I definitely like taking those days slow. Waking up with a cup of coffee. Ideally it's raining outside so I can be lazy. Just watching some Netflix and noodling around on mandolin, like I'm doing today.

What are you most looking forward to in the near future?
I'm really excited for our album – both the recording process, which I really like, and the fact that I'm really proud of what we've been creating. I think it's a huge step forward from what we've been able to put out in the past, just because we've been working on these songs for so long, and they really feel like a combined effort by all of us. Theses songs have had time to evolve already. I think we have more of a clear vision of what we want it to sound like as far as a cohesive album. And I'm excited about our t-shirts!

How badly do you want everyone reading this to pre-order My Old Heart through the indiegogo campaign?
They should totally do it! Everybody should do it! I think everybody is going to be really happy with it because we're putting so much of us into this creation. We've been working on this for a long time and we want to create something that we're proud of. I'm really confident that it's going to be good.

Out of all of your records, if you could only keep one, what would you keep?
[Misa digs around and finds Mary Chapin Carpenter's Come On Come On]. So, there's a story behind this. I don't know how many copies exist in the world, and nobody really knows that it exists on vinyl. The Internet doesn't know. So, I walked into my favorite record store one day and I was just flipping through and was shocked to find it. It was six dollars, and it's the best six dollars I've spent in my life.

What record store is that?
Gerosa Records in Brookfield, Connecticut. I've been going there since I was like thirteen.

Misa's 'one album'

What might Redleg Husky fans be surprised to learn about Misa Giroux?
I'm super good at NBA Live '98.

Last but not least, Could you give me your predictions for our upcoming fantasy hockey season and for your fantasy hockey rivalry with Tim? 
It's going to be an intense season for sure. I'm bringing more enthusiasm and strategy to the table, not to mention the Giroux hockey skills. With my inevitable first round pick of my boy Carey Price, Tim doesn't stand a chance. Ultimately, I'm just stoked to watch some more games this year. Go Habs! 


Hillsborough Rocks 

So, we're not trying to start any rivalries between the many beautiful North Carolina towns that are so good to us every time we visit, but I have to say, Hillsborough really knows how to do Saturday night. We had the chance to come out to Nash Street Tavern and play for the folks gathered for that establishment's second night of operation, and what a night it was. There was dancing, there were requests for Conway Twitty, there were extremely accurate dart throwers, and there was enough mirth to keep us all happy for weeks to come. So, thank you Hillsborough. Keep rockin'.

'Redleg Husky AND college football all day? Paradise?' No, the Nash Street Tavern

There was plenty more merriment throughout the week as we traveled north for a couple of shows in Blowing Rock (where we learned the definition of viaduct – a segmented road or bridge - while traveling over one), returned to share our tunes with the wonderful folks at The Straightaway Cafe in Black Mountain, and re-visited the sweet stage and sweeter taps at Fullsteam Brewing in Durham. We each got to see some old friends along the way, and all enjoyed hearing our music flourish more and more with each new night of performance. That feeling - of our efforts and our passion snowballing with each new show and each new trip - is a special one, for sure, and we thank all of you as always for coming out and helping make that happen.

Besides that it's been all about getting ready for recording at Dirt Floor next month. We've been putting the final touches on the newest songs, debuting one of them, Misa's 'Joan of Arc,' in Blowing Rock last week. We've also been continuing to promote our pre-order indiegogo campaign, and have been grateful to those of you who have decided to be early to the party, ensuring that you'll be among the first to get My Old Heart, plus our brand new t-shirts. We should have more news on the t-shirt front soon, by the way, so stay tuned! For now, let us share some Carolina greenery and sunshine with you:

Sunday morning was spent amid the famed Carolina pines, outside Durham

New Album Heading Your Way! 

We here at the Husky house are very excited to be posting this entry to announce the pre-order campaign for our second album, My Old Heart. As you've probably heard us mention at shows for months now, we're planning to head north in October to record our second full-length release at one of the country's premier roots music studios, Dirt Floor. Misa and Tim have been writing a batch of beautiful songs over the last two years, and I've come in to lend some arrangement ideas that should help those tunes flower into their finest selves. With Eric M Lichter lending his recording, production, and multi-instrumentalist talents, we believe that the final product will be something that showcases our songwriting and musicianship like never before.

We've been saving up the funds to invest in this project ourselves, so the intention behind this indiegogo campaign is not for you all to do that work for us. Instead, this is just about giving people who enjoy what we do a chance to get their hands on this album first, along with a bunch of hand crafted band merchandise that will keep your beer cold, keep your body dressed, and keep your guitar cases and car bumpers decorated.

All the details are on the indiegogo campaign page, so I'll wrap this post up here. Take a look, share with friends, and follow the links to get your CDs, koozies, stickers, and shirts soon!

Back at it! 

Annnnnnnnd we're back! Glad you're back here with us, too, friends. Your August tans look great. It was a fun and busy month for us that involved plenty more shows around the Southeast but also a little downtime before we gear up for what is looking like an exciting autumn. The excitement begins right meow with the release of the pictures and video that I promised back in July. Zoë and Sarene worked their magic, removed the wear and tear of the road from our faces in post-production, and gave us something to put on Christmas cards in a few months. For now though, we're excited just to share it all with you by way of social media – we've got new banner and profile pictures, plus more pics elsewhere on the site. The video, for Tim's original Hey Little Darlin', can be seen on MTV5, VH1 Japan, and here:

Check it all out and let us know what you think! If you've got ideas for where our next photo and video shoots should take place, let us know that too. Please stop sending us requests for a Redleg Husky swimsuit calendar though. It's already in the works, and will be ready in time for the holidays. Oh and, if you have friends out there that enjoy listening to heartfelt roots music, we'd sure appreciate it if you could send the video their way. We're out here trying to do this whole 'building a fan base' thing, and we're hopin' this video might win us a couple converts. Thanks!

I'd go see this band live!