May 21st. 9:15pm. Bossy Grrl’s Pin Up Joint, Columbus Ohio. The only thing louder than the melodies of Boone, North Carolina-based Americana/folk outfit Redleg Husky is the buzz of laughter and enthusiasm emanating from a gathering of old friends. Last month, Wes and I jubilantly welcomed Ohio University roommate, Tim McWilliams, and fellow singer/songwriter Misa Giroux, to Ohio for an evening on their homecoming tour. Tim and Misa make up two-thirds of Redleg Husky. David Funderburk plays percussion, among other things, and was unable to join the band on the road. Although the Ohio homecoming tour recently ended, we were happy to read today that they’ve announced a cross-country tour!
You might’ve caught Redleg Husky on our summer playlist; their entire discography exudes toe tappin’ vibes. Inspired by Americana, folk, roots and bluegrass, with cathartic, soul-filled vocals, Redleg Husky released their first full-length album, Carolina, on March 4th. It makes for perfect driving music on summer days you hope will never end.
We sat down with the band post-show with questions and refreshments. They were glad to shed light on touring, writing, and goals, while sharing some of Glass Duffle’s favorite themes: music, travel, and positive livin’.
How did you guys get into music?
Tim: In my second year of college, I put a ton of effort into learning how to play guitar. It started with staying up way too late practicing Stevie Ray Vaughan and Hendrix licks. Once I was really into those “masters” of the electric blues guitar, I looked at who influenced them and it opened up a new world of roots music I didn’t know existed.
Misa: I was raised on a lot of folk music and started playing guitar in middle school. I figured it out mainly just by messing around, but my uncle taught me a little bit and I took a class at school that helped. I started collecting records when I was in high school, and after going through a huge indie rock phase, I fell back into folk and female singer-songwriters. I started writing songs because I was so inspired by them.
Take us through how the band came to fruition.
Tim: Well, the band started at a graduate student potluck I went to since I didn’t know anyone in Boone when I moved there.
Misa: I think we just high-fived and were like “we should jam,” and then a bunch of us hung out that night playing music for a while. The rest of the week Tim and I kept getting together to play and hang out, and then eventually decided to get some shows. We met David Funderburk through the program, too.
We run a series here titled ‘SituPlaylist’ in which we aim to curate playlists for different genres and scenarios. How would you creatively describe your sound?
Tim: Boot stompin’ folk music with soul.
Do you specifically sit down for songwriting sessions, or is it more an ongoing process?
Tim: It’s kind of an ongoing thing. We’ll develop ideas for songs on our own whenever it strikes, you’ll think of a lyric or something and think “that might be good, let’s develop that more.” A lot of times I’ll have a progression of words and try to figure out something catchy on guitar. Then if I have this general idea of a song, I’ll present it to Misa and be like “Hey, we have this song, what else can we do to it? What do you think of these lyrics? How do we make this song our own?”
Misa: I usually don’t like to share songs before I feel pretty solid about them already, but they get much more developed once we work on them together. We’ve definitely started to work more collaboratively.
What avenues have you been looking at to get your music discovered?
Misa: We’ve sent it to a lot of college radio stations, as well as music magazines and blogs. It’s available on iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify, and most places you can buy music digitally. Some day we’d like to get it pressed on vinyl.
We have an affinity for the travel at Glass Duffle— whether it’s by car, train, hot-air balloon …you name it. This is your first tour outside Appalachia. What’s been your approach?
Tim: The Husky-Mobile aka the CR-V. I’m gonna drive this one into the dirt and then Misa has to get a new car.
Care to share your favorite gig stories so far?
Tim: We played a show at a bar in Blowing Rock, North Carolina— a mountain vacation town. We played a 3-hour show. After 11:00, we could tell the crowd was feeling pretty good. It was an older crowd, and there was this one particular guy in the audience who sat up front that got married that day. He would yell, “IN THE PIIIINES, IN THE PIIIINES”, after every song we did, and then yelled “WHO LET THE DOGS OUT!?!” after one instrumental. At the end of the night, he fell over, knocking over the table and a bunch of beer. Everyone else was dancing; there was a lot of love in the air. It was just a super fun night. Misa got asked if she was my daughter.
Misa: We would play this local coffee/donut shop in Boone called Local Lion on Saturday mornings sometimes, and it was the best. The owners are just the nicest people. Our friends would always come by, and we’d wake up with a cup of coffee, the most delicious donuts, and get to play tunes for a few hours.
On the contrary, what have you fancied least about the tour?
Misa: Having to hang out with Tim.
As an independent band, how have you gone about booking gigs?
Tim: A lot of persistence. A lot of emails, phone calls, spreadsheets, and time.
In one sentence, what’s the goal of all this for you?
Misa: Ideally, I would like to support myself (and my dog) through playing shows and sharing our music with people that enjoy listening to it.
Tim: The exact same as Misa. It is already surreal to see the support for our music that we have seen during this Ohio tour and after we released Carolina.
A big thanks and good luck to Redleg Husky as they head home to North Carolina for about a month before departing on a country-wide tour. We’ll check-in with them afterward for an update. You can follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for first person access to young people living their dreams, truly a beautiful thing.
This post was a collaborative effort between Glass Duffle contributors, Nick Battaglia and Wes R. Kasik.