Aidan Quinn and Christine Stay
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For Immediate Release: June 21, 2010
Contact: Michael Kornfeld firstname.lastname@example.org (631) 418-8548
Friction Farm Releases Every Mile Is A Memory
Modern Folk Duo’s Recent Moves Inspire its Third Album
Every Mile Is A Memory is the third release by Friction Farm, the dynamic modern folk duo of Christine Stay (vocals, bass) and Aidan Quinn (guitar, vocal harmony).
Produced by singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tom Prasada-Rao (who also adds texture to several songs with mandolin, violin and sitar), engineered by Mark Dann, and featuring guest musicians Jagoda (percussion) and Pat Wictor (lap steel), Every Mile Is A Memory marks a new path in Friction Farm’s songwriting -- which is more observational than personal this time around. It offers nine focused observations: a few immediate, a few through the filter of time, and a few tempered with some humor. In selecting the album’s tracks, the duo engaged in writing a song a week, posting them online and eliciting fan feedback.
Posting the songs on their website (www.frictionfarm.com) helped to keep Friction Farm honest. “With one microphone in the living room, no mixing, no fixing, I felt over-exposed,” recalls Stay. “But it kept the focus on the song.” Quinn notes that “our fans were quite supportive and made us feel comfortable in a very vulnerable place” when writing songs for the album.
“We listen to a lot of music,” says Stay. “But when we start writing, we stop listening.” Picking up on that, Quinn continues, “that we stop listening to other people’s music when we start focusing on writing is intentional – not only because it keeps us from being overly derivative but also because it actually enhances our observational skills.” Still, country and rock tones – in particular, the California country-folk-rock sound of the 60s and 70s – are evident on Every Mile Is A Memory, an album that is a little more stripped down and straightforward than the duo’s previous CDs.
Quinn hails from Berkeley, CA; Stay from Woodstock, NY. They met in college, where he was a guitar-playing geology student and she was a budding engineer. Years later, they discovered a shared love for performing and writing, and have been doing so ever since. The couple, who currently live in Brooklyn, NY and also maintain a residence in Greenville, SC, spent most of their adult lives in Florida and then moved four times in four years. Moving has certainly influenced their music. “We experienced the freedom of being untethered, which was great creatively,” says Quinn. “But we also felt the stress of being unanchored.” The album’s country-tinged opening track, “Desdemona Weeps,” speaks of that longing to hold onto something familiar even when it’s no longer great or particularly worthwhile.
Through their moves, Friction Farm also wound up in familiar territory and near family and old friends. That inspired two songs on the album. “Wide Open Spaces” is a jangly guitar-driven folk-rock romp, longing for the endless possibilities that the world had to offer when we were young, and is reminiscent of some of The Kennedys’ work. “Eleanor” is a stripped-down waltz exploring the darker side of memory lane -- a lost childhood friend and loss of innocence -- in which Stay and Quinn also play each other’s instruments.
As city dwellers, the couple now do more walking and bicycling than driving. This experience led to the songs “Why, Why, Why” (do people look like their dogs), a serious but yet funny number that Stay describes as the fan favorite; and “First Two-Wheeler,” a sparse delicate story sure to strike a familiar chord with every parent who hears it. Quinn’s and Stay’s childhood roots are revealed in the hippy anthem “Please Try Love,” with its catchy sing-along chorus evoking the spirit of the 60s generation. The slightly cabaret-style “A Good Apartment” relates how a fabulous but tiny NYC flat may prompt a woman to wonder if a good man is really that hard to find. Rounding out Every Mile Is A Memory are the upbeat, jangly guitar-driven “Birmingham” and “Sacred Cows.” The former is an energetic plea for leaders who really lead and inspire by example, while the latter is about energy, not livestock.
The warm, full sound of Every Mile Is A Memory – highlighted by Stay’s vocal and lyrical intensity and Quinn’s jangly guitar-strumming – is similar to that of Friction Farm’s previous releases 34 Degrees, 32 Minutes (2006) and Believe (2004). However, Stay views it as a little more natural. “We’ve become more comfortable in who we are and what we sound like,” she says. “I don’t know whether that’s confidence or comfort, but I hear that as a difference.”
Currently touring up and down the Eastern Seaboard in support of the new album, Friction Farm was featured in the Folk DJ Showcase during the 2008 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) Conference and has been songwriting competition winners at the South Florida Folk Fest and finalists in the Susquehanna Music & Arts Festival Songwriting Competition.
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1. Desdemona Weeps (3.32) country-tinged story about hanging on to familiar things far too long
2. Wide Open Spaces (3.34) california folk-rock romp longing for the endless possibilities of the world when we were kids
3. Why, Why, Why (3.59) ...do people look like their dogs? You know you’ve wondered. Its a serious song but funny too
4. Birmingham (3.21) an upbeat, jangly plea for leaders who really lead and inspire by example
5. Sacred Cows (3.58) its about energy, not animals. Friction Farm's inner geek emerges, accompanied by sitar
6. A Good Apartment (3.54) cabaret style conundrum; fabulous but tiny NYC lodgings might make a girl wonder if a good man really is all that hard to find
7. First Two-Wheeler (3.25) sparse delicate story strikes a chord with every parent who hears it
8. Please Try Love (2.43) the duo's Berkeley and Woodstock roots are showing in this hippie call to action
9. Eleanor (3.18) stripped down waltz down the darker side of memory lane, Quinn & Stay swap instruments