Releasing a new ‘Time Out’ EP today, the Traverse City-bred musicians play Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo with three iconic fellow tunesmiths. We spotlight the project and debut tracks by other Michigan bands.
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When Sav Buist and Katie Larson of Traverse City’s The Accidentals reached out to collaborate with other highly regarded songwriters a couple of years ago, they soon realized they had tapped into a goldmine of talent and a life-changing endeavor.
So, as one of the music business’ hardest-working recording and touring artists, they rolled up their sleeves and dove headlong into their “Time Out” project, co-writing songs with revered artists Kim Richey, Mary Gauthier, Jaimee Harris, Dar Williams, Tom Paxton and Maia Sharp.
But they didn’t stop with 2021’s release of “Time Out: Session #1” – an EP that produced the single, “Wildfire,” that ended the year at No.1 on the nationwide FAI Folk Radio Charts.
Instead, the multi-instrumentalists moved to Nashville, co-wrote six more songs with the likes of Beth Nielsen Chapman, Peter Mulvey, Gary Burr, Georgia Middleman and Gretchen Peters, actually built studio space in Buist’s Nashville house that they dubbed “Crooked Moon Studio,” and brought in their collaborators to record a follow-up EP.
The resulting “Time Out: Session #2” – officially released Friday (March 4) – continues the acoustic, lyrical charm of the initial EP, with Buist and Larson mounting a Midwest tour with fellow songwriters Kim Richey, Maia Sharp and Beth Nielsen Chapman to promote the new recording.
Buist and Larson spotlighted two new songs from the EP — “Eastern Standard Time,” co-written with Mulvey, and “Leave It in The Dust,” penned with Burr and Middleman — for this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE. Watch the video for the Upper Peninsula-inspired “Eastern Standard Time” here, and scroll down to listen to the full radio show podcast.
VIDEO: “Eastern Standard Time,” The Accidentals with Peter Mulvey
The “Time Out” tour stops at Listening Room in Grand Rapids at 7:30 tonight (Friday, March 4); tickets are $32, available here.
On Saturday, the tour moves to Bell’s Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo; tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $25 in advance with VIP tickets costing $100, available online here.
The tour then moves north, playing a sold-out show Sunday at the Old Art Building in Leelanau, followed by a March 9 show at The Ark in Ann Arbor and March 10 concert at Acorn Theater in Three Oaks. They’ll also be hosting workshops at Interlochen Center for the Arts as part of the tour.
ACOUSTICALLY DRIVEN, INTIMATE CONVERSATIONS WITH AUDIENCES
For the “Time Out” performances, Buist said they’re “stripping things down to an acoustically driven, intimate night of songs and stories. We’re taking our strings and mandolin with us, packing our van with tea, mugs, vinyl, CDs, suitcases and instruments” and creating “one of the most amazing songwriter rounds we’ve ever played.”
She called it “a little bit like therapy – a chance to take a load off, take a deep breath, laugh, cry, banter and relax. … It’s more of a conversation had with the audience.”
Added Larson: “We’ll take turns playing songs and telling the stories behind them. Beth, Maia and Kim are huge inspirations for us. They all live in Nashville and we’ve had the chance to co-write and play shows together. This is on a much bigger scale. We’re talking five-part harmonies, strings, piano and Maia bringing a saxophone. It’s going to be a night of heart-wrenching lyrics, hilarious stories and hope.”
All three collaborators with The Accidentals on this tour have an illustrious musical past: Richey has released nine full-length albums over the years while penning tunes for Brooks & Dunn and Trisha Yearwood; Chapman has more than a dozen albums to her credit with the likes of Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Tanya Tucker, Elton John and Bette Midler performing her songs; Sharp has released eight studio albums while writing for or collaborating with Art Garfunkel, Cher, Terri Clark, Bonnie Raitt and others.
Of course, penning lyrics and melodies with artists outside the band was an adjustment for Buist and Larson, but one that produced some magical music.
“Co-writes require sharing thoughts and stories and private moments with someone to find the common ground worth writing about. Terrifying,” Buist conceded.
“You get to know a person pretty quickly sharing that kind of stuff. We aren’t great at that, but we’re learning to be vulnerable and open.”
She also compared the co-writes to “being in therapy with someone else. It can be scary, but once you start talking you realize that everybody’s going through something and there’s a lot we actually have in common with the people around us, no matter where we are.”
Added Larson: “It really keeps you accountable to be writing with others. It really cracks you open in a new way.”
To help record the poignant songs, Buist and Larson enlisted bassist Dominic Davis, guitarist Jesse Isley, pedal steel guitarist Fats Kaplan, percussionist Eric Darken and pianist Rick Buist for the second EP, with The Accidentals’ Michael Dause flying in from Grand Rapids to add drums and harmonies.
Buist and Larson recorded, engineered and produced the entire album.
It’s the beginning of another hectic year for The Accidentals, who also are recording a 12-song album titled “Reimagined” with Liza Grossman’s Kaboom Collective, a 35-piece youth orchestra in Cleveland, followed by an August tour.
They also plan to combine the first two “Time Out” EPs into “one big vinyl disc,” while also tackling a “Play Your Paragon” covers album featuring songs by some of their favorite female writers.
This week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE — which showcases local and regional music at 11 a.m. Friday on WYCE (88.1 FM) and online at wyce.org — also featured new tracks by Brent Godfrey, Celestial, Patty PerShayla & The Mayhaps, Silent Spirit, FlyLiteGemini, Kaitlin Rose, The Fever Haze and The Polyphonic Element, as well as a 2017 song by Out of Favor Boys. Listen to the show here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (3/4/22)
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