Playing to a sparse crowd on one of the first days of fall, East Tennessee's The Everybodyfields brought their brand of thoughtful moonshiner's music to Greenville, S.C.'s Handlebar on Friday night.
Headlining the show due to tourmate Will Hoge's recent scooter accident and hospitalization, the duo of Sam Quinn and Jill Andrews, with help from their hired guns, meandered through nearly two hours of pitch-perfect autumnal melancholy. The fans, whether devotees or Hoge holdovers, were treated to an intimate, down-home performance of recent standards and new material.
Backed by a buoying rhythm section that included pedal steel, keyboards and lead guitar, Quinn and Andrews traded between acoustic guitar and electric bass, pausing to share musings on the life of a touring band in the Southeast.
Quinn, bearded and bedecked in thrift store couture, charmed with his goofy and afflicted warble, but was ultimately overshadowed by his female counterpart. Ms. Andrews, who plays with the coy manner of an Emmylou Harris or Neko Case, lets her radiant voice and songwriting compensate for any lack of showmanship. Lithe and sandy-haired, she steals the show, even during the tense moments she shares the microphone in harmony with Quinn's trembling tenor.
Playing with the earnest aplomb of a rural bar band, the band's set varied to blend the familiar and the fresh: wistful tear-jerkers, celebratory two-steps and modern mountain ballads all received equal treatment. Hitting a dynamic stride on the numbers "Aeroplane" and "Everything is Okay" from 2006's Nothing is Okay, the Everybodyfields started to deliver on the promise that Ramseur Records is banking on.
Slated to enter the studio Monday to record for their forthcoming fourth album, Quinn expressed to me over a post-show bourbon his excitement about the upcoming sessions, hinting at fertile ground for songwriting.
With former labelmates the Avett Brothers enjoying a meteoric rise toward stardom, it's not hard to imagine the Everybodyfields following their model, crafting a compelling set of folksy AM pop tunes to cultivate their own cross-section of Carolina devotees.