John Renshaw and Emily Davies dropped their bags after a summer tour and went straight into the recording studio — at 3 a.m. For the duo's full-length debut, Renshaw and Davies turned to Bear America Records, the Americana studio and imprint from New Orleans alt-country outfit The Kid Carsons, with Chad Carson producing.
"He's been really harping on making this album about the two of us, and making the two of us sing more emotionally," Renshaw says. "These are all going to be night sessions. Singing about daytime at 2:30 in the morning. It's not spacey but it's that suspended sort of sound, lost in a time, not really current or past."
The album follows a 7-inch single the duo released earlier this year, featuring the dusty, Fleetwood Mac-inspired ballads "Going Down the Road" and its haunting, somber counterpart "Auctioneer," buoyed by Davies' harmonies and Renshaw's full-bodied baritone.
"We're trying to keep it as bare as possible but full," Davies says.
Renshaw Davies performs Sept. 18 at One Eyed Jacks with Blind Texas Marlin and Palmyra. In October, the band hosts a Monday night residency with a rotating cast of bands and songwriters as a part of Bear America Live at Gasa Gasa.
On its recent southeast and East Coast tour (powered by Smart Water, cigarettes, Cracker Barrel gift cards and Bubblicious bubble gum), the band "made a lot of money on a couple of shows, not a lot of money on most of them, and got tipped by a NASCAR driver," Renshaw says. "We wound up sleeping in the car that night, the most ironic part of the tour."
The couple met at an open mic night at Neutral Ground Coffeehouse in 2012. "The moment I laid eyes on her, I saw my future immediately," Renshaw says. "We were both starving to play music wherever we could. ... I was tired of doing sad sack folk singer-songwriter stuff."
"I don't think I realized what a good fit it would be," says Davies, who moved to New Orleans from Maryland. "There's a lot of music towns, but this is the right music town."