For some people, being in a band with your spouse is difficult. Add a two-year-old child and a 10-year-old dog to the mix, and difficulties abound exponentially. Now all four are about to go on the road in a 1961 16-foot Airstream to record an album as they tour cross country.
As the duo Hymn for Her, Maggi Jane and Pierce Ternay write “very folky songs,” Jane says. Jane and Ternay had been playing for more than a decade with a friend as the MPE Band, but started Hymn for Her as a side project after a Maine retreat to write a novel together turned into a musical revelation. When Hymn for Her released its first album in 2008 it was “sort of an exercise in minimalism,” Jane says. “With MPE Band, we always had lots of instruments. We all played. We layered all sorts of instruments. We just threw everything in there.”
As an exercise in minimalism, their 2008 album Year of the Golden Pig is compelling. They have a strong folk, country and Americana vibe with enchanting harmonies and untempered angst and energy. Jane’s chanteuse-like vocals are both beautiful and dark, while Ternay’s soulful tenor provides a solid foundation for the duo’s stripped-down yet evocative tunes.
But as the two work on new material—songs that will eventually be part of the Airstream recordings—Jane says they are venturing into new territory. They’ve begun by incorporating electric and non-acoustic instruments for a “more rocking” sound. Stompgrass, Jane says, is how she and Ternay describe it. And all will be documented while traveling in a luxury recreational vehicle.
“We’re probably the only band that can fit into a 16-foot Airstream and record,” Jane says with a laugh. ■
Wed., Nov. 4, 9pm. $7. With Spirit and Dust + Lion Versus. The Fire, 412 W. Girard Ave. 267.671.9298. iourecords.com/thefire