“I’m trying to break your heart and make you dance at the same time,” Pierce Edens tells encore about his live shows. “There’s heartbreak everywhere, so I might as well sing about it.”
The Americana singer-songwriter out of Asheville has been making more and more trips to Wilmington as of late. Some encore readers may have caught him opening for The Paper Stars at Bourgie Nights in June. He’ll be returning to the Port City for another performance at Satellite Bar and Lounge on July 8.
“Sirens” is one tune that Edens finds to be sad and uplifting at the same time. “It’s about running round and playing tunes, going to strange towns, staying up too late, getting up too early and just running it down,” he describes.
It’s also one of several songs Edens and stage partner Kevin Reese (lead guitar, vocals) have been playing from another full-length album they’ve been working on. Edens and Reese just finished mixing and editing tracks for the record to be release before the end of the year.
Edens’ last album was a CD/DVD release, “Pierce Edens and The Dirty Work, Live” (2013), and featured a full band over the course of two shows at The Lexington Ave Brewery in Asheville.
“That was a lot of fun with the full-band sound, guest appearances, harmonica, horns and stuff,” Edens describes. “This [new] album is kind of the opposite direction. We’re hanging out in the studio. We’re spending a lot of time getting textures and stuff, and it’s just gonna be me and one other dude playing guitar.”
For this record Edens has reunited with engineer Adam Johnson, who has fingerprints on every album he’s made since starting out nearly a decade ago. “We work so well together,” he praises. “I’m so lucky to work with that guy.”
Edens says one might think this record, with minimal instruments and vocals, would be shaping up to be a relatively mellow folk album. But they’d be wrong.
“We set out to make this folk record and it rocks,” he tells. “We just let it happen. . . . It’s sort of a metaphor for the live shows, too. The way we’ll set up at Satellite will be just me and Kevin, we sit on stools with me on the kick drum and a couple of guitars up there. It looks like Simon and Garfunkel but it sounds like a full on rock band.”
Edens and Reese are both from Madison County, NC. They met through mutual friends and music circles. Once they got together they rolled with a duo and started touring across the Southeast about two years ago. “We make a mighty sound for two dudes,” he quips.
Though they just recorded them, the duo have been testing these songs on the road for a while now. And while Edens hasn’t seen a song take a 180-degree turn as of yet, they definitely tilt a couple of degrees one way or another. His tune “Can’t Sleep,” for example, features somber lyrics cataloging a bout with insomnia eventually became more and more upbeat.
“I’d start off writing what I think is going to be this really sad song,” Edens tells, “but then find out it’s one that gets people dancing and works better faster and upbeat. An audience will tell you what they want.”
“There’s really nothing like having a room full of people you’re communicating with,” Edens continues. “But, equally, there’s really nothing like digging into a tune and polishing it up [in the studio] that you really can’t do in a live setting. Doing both really inform each other.”
Edens says he’s a rhythm player through and through, while Reese’s lead guitar is commanding. “I can take the lead if I have to but I promise I won’t enjoy it,” he laughs. “Whereas he knows so much about the guitar, I still just love watching him play.”
“There’s also ‘ah-ah’ moments playing with Kevin,” he continues. “All the things align and something clicks in place and we say ‘we’re definitely doing it that way from now on.’ That happens onstage all the time.”
Catch some of those moments with Edens and Reese at Satellite on July 8.