Salt For Salt was recorded live to tape, which isnít that common. How would you describe the experience?
It was great. It was our first album as a duo. That made it a little bit easier to record live and not have to track each thing separately. We worked with a really great studio in Rhode Island. Itís an awesome studio to work with. It went really well. We did it in three sessions.
As you mentioned, Brown Bird is now a duo. Has that changed the dynamics of the band at all?
Itís made everything a lot easier as far as touring and making band decisions. Musically, weíve gotten a bit more upbeat than we had been in the past. I started playing upright bass. That was new for us. It just simplified everything.
What are some of the major differences youíve noticed in the songs now that youíre a duo as opposed to a five piece?
Instrumentally, we donít have a dobro anymore and we donít have an accordion. Thatís basically the only huge difference as far as instrumentation goes. Dave plays percussion with his feet while heís playing guitar and banjo. As far as sound goes, I donít think weíre lacking any of the fullness that we had even though thereís only two of us. The songs themselves on the album are a little more blues and rock inspired. Itís a bit more upbeat than what weíve done in the past. I think thatís just because Dave and I working together is very cohesive. It just works really well. Weíre really on the same page about what weíre going for.
How does the line-up change affect your live show? Are you bringing in any touring members?
Nope, itís just the two of us.
Did any of the older songs have to be re-arranged?
Weíve been mostly doing the newer songs. Some of the older ones we have re-worked a bit. A lot of them were written as a duo though. Theyíre not that much different.
So being a duo isnít completely new to you?
It isnít, actually.
Besides being a violinist, you have also started to play upright bass now. How is that going for you?
Itís really, really fun. Itís been about a year now. Itís definitely fun and challenging. Iím having a good time with it. I picked up the cello about two years ago so thatís also new and really fun.
Do you think youíll pick up any other instruments?
As far as I know Iíll just be sticking with those three, but you never know what will happen in the future.
Will Schaff did the artwork for this album. Did you pick out one of his pieces or did he create something specifically for Salt For Salt?
He created this specifically for us. We gave him some of the rough recordings to listen to and he put it on in the studio on repeat for a day and he came up with something in less than a day. It was insane. Weíre absolutely thrilled. We love him. Weíre really honored.
Were there any other artists in consideration?
We considered a few others but we knew right off the bat that we wanted Will. We just werenít sure if weíd be able to afford him. Heís a good friend of ours, heís actually our landlord also. We knew right away that we wanted him and weíre thrilled that it worked out.
What are your touring plans for the future?
We just got back from a ten-day stint. Weíre actually at home right now. We have one more day off. The tour is separated into small segments. October is two segments. One is the New York City, Connecticut and Maine area and the next one is in the Midwest. At the beginning of November weíll be doing the whole country. Weíre just at the beginning of it.
Have you played any of the new songs live yet?
Yeah, weíve been playing them live for a long time actually. And weíve been getting really great responses. People have been getting up and dancing at live shows, which is really great. We played Newport Folk Festival this summer. That was a really huge thing. We played only new songs. NPR actually streamed it on the website for a while. People are responding really well to the new material. Weíre pretty psyched.
What was it like having your set streaming on a NPR Ė which is actually one of the biggest music websites out there?
It was awesome. I was a bit surprised. We had no idea it was going to happen. We gained a lot of fans that way. It was really cool.
I think what youíre doing is pretty unique, so Iím just wondering if it has been difficult at all to get peopleís attention Ė especially at an event like the Newport Folk Festival?
It seems like itís been fairly easy to be honest. It kind of depends on the crowd. If itís a Brown Bird show, obviously people are there for us. I think that thereís enough familiarity about our music that a lot of people take to it. You donít have to think too hard about it.