Words By Joey Rochert.
Hello, Brightwell and Moran, Let’s talk about your new single, ‘Bare Boards’, what is the meaning?
(K) We originally wrote the song about an old house, and the decision about whether to tear it down or to take time to renovate it and make it new again. It was inspired in part by the rapid gentrification of some neighborhoods where we live in Portland, Oregon, USA. But the song is also a metaphor for the self, or a relationship. Sometimes you don’t know what to do until you see the “bare boards” underneath, whether you can restore the structure with a lot of love and careful work, or whether you need to start from scratch.
Which artists in the current industry inspire you the most?
(K) I am really inspired by Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires. To me, Isbell is the finest songwriter out there right now, and he tells difficult and important stories in the simplest, most elegant language. Shires has been instrumental in breaking down barriers and female stereotypes in country music, on top of being a great fiddle player and singer/songwriter herself. Together they’re unstoppable!
(W) I find the story of John Mayer’s scare with his vocal cords so inspirational. Here is a guy who has released a ton of songs, won Grammy awards and then starts losing his voice. So, he stops performing, stops talking except in a whisper. He accepts his situation and starts practicing his already amazing guitar chops with the attitude, I can still be a really good session guitar player even if I don’t get my voice back. But gratefully, his voice returned!
What is the best thing about being a musician in 2023?
(K) There is absolutely no lack of inspiration or subject material! And the means of production is very much in the artist’s hands now, along with platforms that allow you direct access to your fan base. That means as a musician, you can create songs about the vital issues of our time, record them and get them into the hands of listeners.
(W) I agree with Kelly that technology plays an exciting role in music today. A great example is that we mixed our latest EP and our new single “Bare Boards” remotely. Our producer for the EP was in Dallas, Texas with the two of us in Portland, Oregon. Our producer for the single was in Poland with us once more in Portland.
Is there a certain place you often go to write? E.g a certain room, or environment?
(K) I’m not writing too much solo these days… I need a lot of solitude and space to do that, and it’s not often compatible with my current family situation. Writing with Woody is easier in that way — we usually hang out at his house to write.
(W) I think all of our Brightwell & Moran songs have either been written in my living room or my little covered backyard patio.
What is your first memory of music?
(K) I remember being completely enthralled by Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” when I was maybe 3 or 4 years old. I’m not sure what about it grabbed me — it’s very energetic and happy, with a lot going on. I think it just overwhelmed me with a good feeling.
(W) I was also pretty young. I got a little record player for Christmas one year and the first 45 (called a single these days) I purchased was “Stop In The Name of Love” by the Supremes. My first album was by Peter, Paul & Mary and I worked very hard at hearing each vocal harmony.
Photo Credit: Brightwell And Moran.