Shelby Means began singing and playing upright bass as a young’un in a family band on the high plains of Wyoming. These talents led her to Nashville where she landed a GRAMMY nomination with distaff bluegrass powerhouse Della Mae. Shelby & Joel Timmons teamed up in 2017 as husband and wife duo, Sally & George, and released their critically acclaimed debut album, Tip My Heart .
Lovers Leap , a brand new partnership of musicians Shelby Means (Sally & George, formerly of Della Mae), Mary Lucey (formerly of Biscuit Burners), Joel Timmons (Sally & George, Sol Driven Train), and Billy Cardine (Acoustic Syndicate, formerly of Biscuit Burners), have announced their debut EP, Lovers Leap . Set to be released April 19, 2019, the eponymous collection of songs is a healthy mix of all four member’s backgrounds; beautiful, tight three-part harmony, dobro acrobatics, easy groove, and galloping bluegrass. Over the course of a year, Lovers Leap was recorded one or two days at a time, dancing around band members’ hectic schedules, in both touring and everyday life. When possible, the group would retreat to Cardine and Lucey’s home studio in Pisgah National Forest, outside of Asheville, NC. At the end of a steep gravel road, the group had no choice but to let their surroundings seep into the project. Long walks, tending to beehives, and digging holes for fruit trees broke up routine and refreshed spirits in between song takes, and the songs shine in the laid-back, tranquil nature of the recordings. The record’s first single and opening song, “Walnut Tree”, was debuted yesterday by Folk Alley. Lucey told Folk Alley, “I wrote this song, sitting on the deck, gazing out at a beautiful giant walnut tree on our mountainside. It’s about the subtle power of nature that can help us along when we are in need of clarity or rejuvenation.” Hear the song and more about “Walnut Tree” here .
In addition to “Walnut Tree”, Lovers Leap features four more original songs and an album-closing cover of “California Stars”, a tune that came from Billy Bragg and Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco) completing an unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyric for their album Mermaid Avenue. “Red Dawn Awakening”, a somber prayer for Shelby’s dear friend, patiently graduates into a celebration of life and strength of love in trying times. “Love Is Gonna Live”, written during the early days of Means and Timmons’s courtship, was originally recorded on Sally & George’s Tip My Heart . “Love Brewed Cold” is Lucey and Cardine’s rollicking lesson in not going to bed in anger. As the band says, “It’s a great way to not wake up to cold love in the morning.” The final original tune, “Great Expectations”, was penned by Timmons after Sol Driven Train’s van broke down, causing them to miss their gig opening for Sheryl Crow. “Great Expectations” leans on the bright side of tribulation; an amusing study of “it is what it is”. Lovers Leap, as a whole, weaves a beautiful, honest tapestry of hope, renewal, nature, and love, leaving nothing on the table.
More about Lovers Leap:
Individually, the members of Lovers Leap have each made an impact on the evolving Americana music scene. Means began singing and playing upright bass as a young’un in a family band on the high plains of Wyoming. These talents led her to Nashville where she landed a GRAMMY nomination with distaff bluegrass powerhouse Della Mae. Timmons, as a founding member of Charleston, SC’s brass-forward jam band Sol Driven Train, has cultivated a grass roots following through the band’s two-decade-long commitment to touring, sonic playfulness, danceable rhythms, and musical independence. Timmons and Means teamed up in 2017 as husband and wife duo, Sally & George, and released their critically acclaimed debut album, Tip My Heart . Lucey, a founding member of The Biscuit Burners, helped propel the band to international attention with her powerful singing, bass playing, and songwriting. She also played with Uncle Earl alongside John Paul Jones for their album release tour. Cardine has been hailed as a slide guitar pioneer and innovator, taking the Dobro with him into unchartered genres, teaching around the world and performing from the jungles of India to New York’s Carnegie Hall in addition to being a producer and composer. As a founding member of The Biscuit Burners and current member of Acoustic Syndicate and Rapidgrass, he continues to show off his chameleonesque voice on all things slide. He has collaborated with greats such as Debashish Bhattacharya and Jerry Douglas. Collectively the bandmates have presented their sound from the Kennedy Center to Bonnaroo, Merlefest to Telluride, and across Europe, Asia, Australia and the Caribbean. They each have been musical ambassadors and have taught workshops throughout the country and internationally on their respective instruments. They demonstrate a commitment to building cultural bridges and community through the universal language of music.
Pre-order Lovers Leap here .
See Lovers Leap on tour:
March 8 - Asheville, NC - Isis Music Hall
March 9 - Johnson City, TN - The Willow Tree Coffeehouse and Music Room
March 14 - Charleston, SC - The Charleston Pour House
March 15 - Charlotte, NC - Midwood Guitar Studio - Album preview party/show
April 4 - Greenville, SC - Quest Brewing Company
April 5 - Nashville, TN - WMOT Finally Friday
April 11 - Knoxville, TN - WDVX Blue Plate Special
April 12 - Pinewood, SC - Birdfest
May 10 - Jonesborough, TN - Music on the Square