The Albion-based duo’s meteoric rise on the national music scene also brings festival appearances at Camp Greensky, Bonnaroo, Telluride and Newport Folk Festival.
SCROLL DOWN TO LISTEN TO ‘HEALING TIDE’ SINGLE
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When legendary singer Emmylou Harris offers you homemade brownies, you know you’ve made the grade.
And when Harris follows that up by singing on one of your songs as a special studio guest, it qualifies as “one of the coolest recording experiences ever.”
That’s just part of Michigan-based Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount’s incredible, meteoric rise as The War and Treaty over the past several months, from being venerated by Rolling Stone magazine to getting booked to play major festivals such as Bonnaroo and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
When the couple moved to the small town of Albion, Mich., two years ago, they certainly never envisioned the splash they’d make in the music business, and nothing prepared the gospel-fired folk and Americana duo for the sort of reception they’d receive from Nashville’s “royalty,” including renowned producer and guitarist Buddy Miller.
“I’ve worked on a lot of records and I’ve never worked on anything where every musician involved was in complete awe of the artists like this and so into the project,” Miller says in a teaser video for The War and Treaty’s upcoming new album, “Healing Tide.” “Our jaws were dropped.”
That jaw-dropping music will be featured on The War and Treaty’s first full-length studio album being released on Aug. 10 on the duo’s own record label with the backing of the Nashville-based Thirty Tigers entertainment company and distribution by Sony Music’s The Orchard.
Trotter told Local Spins the album release is “a once-in-a-lifetime moment that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. The team is unstoppable. From the staff at Thirty Tigers to our management (Wingman MGMT) and our new business manager, a lawyer and our agent Buster Phillips over at WME (William Morris Entertainment), all working hard for us and with us. It’s kind of hard to maintain the belief that this is reality and not a dream.”
ELEVEN ORIGINAL SONGS AND AN ALL-STAR CAST OF MUSICIANS
Recorded at Miller’s Nashville home over five days in March, the new album features 11 songs written by the duo, with an all-star cast of musicians: Miller on guitars and banjo, Brady Blade on drums, Adam Chaffins on bass, Jim Hoke on organ, saxophone, autoharp and harmonica, Russ Pahl on pedal steel guitar and banjo, Sam Bush on fiddle, Bill Huber on trombone and Matt Slocum on cello.
And of course, Harris, who contributed guest vocals on the track, “Here Is Where the Loving Is At.”
“All the songs from this new album are fresh with the exception of (“Are You Ready to Love Me?”). And although the songs are very close to how I envisioned them, Buddy added a dash of awesomeness,” Trotter says.
“I learned so much from Buddy Miller, (singer and songwriter) Julie Miller and Emmylou Harris and all the musicians featured on the album. I learned from Buddy that he is all about collaborations. Emmylou is about kindness to all. Julie Miller is about making sure you feel as comfortable as possible even when she doesn’t feel as comfortable as she’d like to be. And she writes lyrics on pizza boxes like me. I learned togetherness, inclusion and unity from all the musicians that played on the record.”
Trotter and Blount knew Harris had agreed to participate in the recording, but they didn’t know when she’d arrive. They were eating pizza on Miller’s back deck when “a sweet beautiful voice spoke to me. It was so angelic that I thought it was coming from heaven,” Trotter recalls.
“She said, ‘Michael, would you like to try these brownies I made out of my mother’s recipe?’ When I turned around to answer, I realized that it was from this angel on earth. Emmylou had come two days early to our recording session just to hear the song and to bring us brownies that she had just made herself.”
The married couple’s excitement about their star-studded recording project is only part of The War and Treaty’s rapid rise to prominence. The band is playing a mind-numbing roster of major music festivals this summer, starting with this weekend’s inaugural Camp Greensky Music Festival in the Manistee National Forest in northern lower Michigan.
They follow that with two straight nights at Otus Supply in Ferndale, then hit Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Tennessee and SPOLETO Festival in South Carolina next week. The summer also features stops at Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado, Winnipeg Folk Fest in Winnipeg, Newport Folk Festival in Newport and AmericanaFest in Nashville.
Through it all, Trotter says, he’s “learned something wonderful about Tanya. She above all is truly the most poised, cool, calm and unbothered lady I have ever met and have the opportunity to be in love with for the rest of my life, and that is what ‘Healing Tide’ is about.”
LISTEN: The War and Treaty, “Healing Tide”
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