The Wind and The Wave

S&S Presents

The Wind and The Wave

Allison Pierce, Haley Johnsen

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

8:00 pm

$12 ADV / $14 DOS

This event is 21 and over

The Wind and The Wave
The Wind and The Wave
In 2014, The Wind and The Wave, a duo from Austin, TX, quietly released one of the best albums of the year. From The Wreckage glowed with a rootsy golden tone that encompassed everything from indie-folk, to alt-country to blues-rock to Southern psychedelia. Its creators, touring musician turned songwriter and producer Dwight Baker and singer-songwriter Patty Lynn, began making music together on a lark, never dreaming anything would come of it. Baker describes it as “kind of like what happens when two friends hold hands and jump in a freezing lake just to see what it feels like.” Thanks to the undeniable chemistry between the pair, the music took on a life of its own and The Wind and The Wave soon found themselves with a major-label record deal, embarking on U.S. headlining tours supporting From The Wreckage, having their songs appear in such TV shows as Grey’s Anatomy, and racking up millions of plays on Spotify and Apple Music. The band also earned itself a rabid following, with fans especially enamored of Lynn’s feisty vocals and brutally personal lyrics about challenging relationships with lovers and family members as well as her relationship with herself. “People really treasure that album,” Baker says. “We got tons of letters from people saying it saved their life. They're people who are conflicted and searching and they connect with Patty’s lyrics more than anything.”

So when it came time for The Wind and The Wave to make their second album, Baker says he and Lynn felt “some bit of an obligation to deliver that again.” The band definitely deliver on their new album, Happiness Is Not A Place, and the result is the sound of a band that has stretched itself and grown. Lynn manages to dig even deeper with her lyrics, exploring her feelings about marriage, commitment, and family, while acknowledging her own frantic mind. And the band’s sonic palette is nervier, thanks to the album being recorded live by producer Butch Walker, a songwriter and musician who’s produced records for such artists as Weezer and Panic! At The Disco. Where From The Wreckage was manicured and polished, thanks to Baker’s meticulous production, Happiness Is Not A Place is “rawer and rougher,” as Baker puts it. “To me, it sounds reckless with a rock and roll spirit and attitude, an ‘I don’t give a fuckedness,’ if you will. I wanted it to make sense to our fans but to feel like a step forward musically. And I think we accomplished that. It's really rough around the edges, and there's a lot of urgency and pent-up stuff that probably came from both Patty and my nervousness about making a record with an outside producer.”

“I hadn’t spent much time recording without Dwight,” Lynn says. “He’s a bit like my security blanket. He lifts me up and makes me better, but he didn’t want to be in the room when I sang because that’s him going, ‘No, Patty, fly. You have your wings and you know how to do this.’ I was nervous. I thought, ‘How is Butch going to know when I’m good?’ Because half the time I don’t even know when I’m good. But once we were in the studio and the tapes were rolling, it was fine. Butch helped me trust in my natural abilities more.”

For his part, Walker wanted the performances to have a “just learned the song” vibe to them. “I hate the way a lot of records these days, especially on the radio, sound so overthought,” Walker says. “My favorite records growing up were all made in a week and had fire because the artists had a lot to prove. I wanted this record to sound like The Wind and The Wave had something to prove as well. I also knew that with Patty’s lyrics, we would be able to make something special. She writes incredible words and you can’t fuck that up if you keep it out front of the music.”

Happiness Is Not A Place has the distinction of containing the first positive songs Lynn has ever written, including the title track and the rollicking first single “Grand Canyon.” “’Grand Canyon’ is about my brother,” she says. “I almost lost him to a major car accident a few years ago. To me the song is about the ability to appreciate what’s in front of you and not take the things that matter most for granted. Yes, life has a lot of shit, but can you try to find a way to be happy before it’s all over, seemingly in the blink of an eye.” The album’s title encompasses how Lynn felt over the two years of writing the album. “It’s the idea that you never arrive at happiness, put your feet up, relax, and just bask in your destination,” she says. “That doesn’t happen. In my brain, happiness is a journey, not a destination. You’re constantly making an effort to be a better person and that's what makes you happy or content with your life.” She adds: “I have a tendency to write sad things, so writing these songs that felt hopeful is a really big thing for me.”

Lynn’s battles her darker moods elsewhere on the album. A newlywed, she explores what she calls her “weird feelings about marriage and temptation” on “The Redhead in Aberdeen” and “Let's Forget That I Was Ever Even Here,” as well as her complicated family dynamics on “Before The World Explodes.” She acknowledges her own tormented psyche in the process on “My Mind Is An Endless Sea.” “It’s me saying to myself, ‘Maybe stop being so hard on yourself, Patty. Maybe love yourself a little bit. Why do you carry things around? Why not let the negative thoughts go and not let anxiety control you.’ So it’s about cultivating this relationship with yourself.”

“It’s got to be tough to be Patty or anyone in her life, because if something’s amiss, she’s going to write about it. And you’re going to know it’s about you and you’re going to feel weird about it,” Baker says with a chuckle. “Everyone is in the line of fire. Patty and I are two people who, while we strive to be joyful and positive, can be very much morose and negative, and that definitely comes out in the songs.”

In March, The Wind and The Wave made the move from RCA Records to Island Records, which will release Happiness Is Not A Place later this year. “I hope our fans hear the urgency and appreciate the rawness of the album,” Baker says. “I know that some people really love the beauty of our first record, and I hope they hear the beauty inside the chaos of this record, because it's there. It just might make you feel a little different.”
Allison Pierce
Allison Pierce was born in Birmingham, Alabama to a family of creative individuals. In their teens, Allison and sister Catherine formed the acclaimed duo The Pierces who released four full-length albums, most recently on Polydor/Universal. In 2007 Rolling Stone magazine named the sisters as a Breaking Artist to watch. The duo's songs have been placed in various network TV shows including the song "Secret" which has been the theme song for the HBO show Pretty Little Liars for the run of the show. In live performance the sisters have toured as the supporting act for Coldplay and Lissie among others. Allison Pierce now steps into the spotlight as a solo artist.
Haley Johnsen
The daughter of a professional drummer, 26 year-old Haley Johnsen grew up in the rain-soaked atmosphere of the Northwest surrounded by musicians in the industry, but managed to keep her own love of music and perfect pitch a secret. Shy and fearful about her ability to sing when a child, Johnsen kept her obsession with finding the perfect harmonies to herself; she would only sing hidden in her closet or when she knew she was home alone. "I couldn't handle attention…I never knew what to do with it," she remembers, " I was so self-conscious for so much of my life, even raising my hand in class left my heart pounding. Being the center of attention was my worst nightmare and my greatest dream at the same time."

It would be a dedication to gymnastics that would take this shy girl who preferred to blend in with the background and turn her into a daredevil, dancer, and performer. "This sort of athletic expression didn't feel as nerve wracking to me. I could be silent and allow my physical my strength and flexibility to do the talking. As strange as it sounds, hurling my body around rather than my voice just felt safer."

Whether she knew it or not at the time, Johnsen was building not just physical strength, but discipline and self-confidence that that would ultimately challenge her to put herself out in front of a million people to face her biggest fear – singing.

It was a last minute decision to join the thousands of people in line that February afternoon in Portland, Oregon in 2011 when American Idol auditions rolled into town, and she knew what a long shot it was. Still, she could afford to roll the dice; she was on the cusp of finishing her degree at Oregon State University where she had spent four years slowly cultivating a discipline for singing and performance through classical vocal training and performance as a hobby alongside her studies and really had no plans post graduation.

Johnsen would be cast into the national spotlight when she captivated American Idol Season 11 viewers making it all the way through to the Top 24 semifinals before conceding.

For artists that come through the Idol machine, the experience can be either a make it or break it one. What it did for Johnsen was confirm that she could - and should - pursue a professional music career based on the response judges and audiences had to her performances. "Idol was the stepping-stone that persuaded me to believe in myself as an artist and performer, and it confirmed that I had the talent to make music my ultimate focus," Johnsen reflects. "Being surrounded by so many other gifted and passionate musicians ignited a fire in me to carry out my dream as a singer/songwriter that I hadn't thought I was capable of before."

Over the course of the last three years, Johnsen has written and recorded over 100 songs. With the help of Portland-based producer, Rob Daiker (Katy Perry, The Fame Riot, Christian Burghardt), the two began a collaborative process of selecting the ones that would best represent Johnsen's range and songwriting abilities.

"The songs are mostly about the extremes in life that I was faced with – sort of like a scrapbook of what I was going through: leaving Hollywood to come back home to Oregon; figuring out what I wanted my life to look like; and finding my own authenticity as a songwriter. My best songs are the blatantly honest ones. Sometimes my lyrics are things that I wanted to say to someone, but couldn't find the words in the moment. Later those words show up perfectly as the chorus to a song. Other times, I was just trying to work out a problem or express to myself a sense of acceptance of whatever I was going through. They are cathartic that way," Johnsen revealed.

Johnsen's influences range from the eccentricities of bands like Radiohead and Pink Floyd; to classic, folk and indie-rock vocalists such as of Eva Cassidy, Nicole Atkins, Florence Welch and Brandi Carlile – all artists with a flair for the dramatic in their delivery. "From a melodic standpoint, I have a hard time writing songs that don't build to an epic moment. As a naturally a loud singer, it is really fun for me to play with intricate melodies that reach a point where I can just belt it out with a big lunged chorus, taking the song in a direction the listener wouldn't expect it to go. I visualize my songs in a linear way when I write them, but imagine the places where the song needs to rest, climb, and then soar – sort of like a journey to a destination."

The final result of Johnsen and Daiker's collaboration is a seven song EP Through the Blue written by Johnsen, arranged and produced by Daiker and recorded with guest instrumentalists including drummer Joe Mengis (Priory, Climber, Casey Neill and the Norway Rats). It serves as a personal reflection upon this season in Johnsen's life – the transitions she faced, the relationships that were impacted, and the lessons that came from her experiences. "What I have discovered in writing these songs is that there is peace in struggle. As I grow, I am learning to accept the ambiguity of life."
Venue Information:
Urban Lounge
241 South 500 East
Salt Lake City, UT, 84102
http://www.theurbanloungeslc.com/