Michigan duo The Accidentals brings unique brand of folk rock to Steve’s | PostIndependent.com

Michigan duo The Accidentals brings unique brand of folk rock to Steve’s

Jessica Cabe
jcabe@postindependent.com

Katie Larson of the Michigan folk rock band The Accidentals said she and her bandmate Savannah Buist can't wait to perform in Carbondale for the first time because of the small but mighty venue they've heard so much about.

"Steve's Guitars is pretty legendary in our world," Larson said. "We've heard so many people say that it's an amazing place to play and listen to music."

"Right now we're working on our next four albums in New York with Grammy Award-winning producer Stewart Lerman and legendary songwriter Marshall Crenshaw — he's played at Steve's Guitars," added Buist. "We've heard great things about the venue. And honestly, anywhere with a slew of cool guitars sounds like a great time."

The Accidentals will bring a great time, indeed, with their fresh take on folk and bluegrass.

Larson and Buist both grew up in musical families with a wide range of influences — both of their fathers were pianists, and both of their mothers were singers. They grew up listening to everything: gypsy jazz, bluegrass, R&B, funk, folk, rock, grunge, rap, electronica, metal, classical, Americana — the list goes on.

"We both grew up in musical families that encouraged us to be open-minded to all genres," Buist said. "[My parents] taught me that music is a universal form of expression and connection, and every genre tells a different story."

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All those influences can be heard in The Accidentals' music. While the band's roots are in folk and bluegrass, there's something more there that brings their songs into the present. They're not relying on a tried and true sound; their youthful energy wouldn't allow that kind of complacence.

Larson and Buist are both just 19 years old, and while their music does sound fresh, it is also more mature than what one might expect out of teenagers. That may be because the two have already been working on their sound for years.

They met when they were 10-year-olds in their school's orchestra program — Larson played cello, and Buist played violin. And although the two lived very close to one another, Larson said a friendship didn't form until about five years later.

"We didn't really start interacting with each other until I was 15 and Savannah was 16," Larson said. "Our orchestra instructor asked for volunteers to play an event. Savannah and I were the only two people who raised our hands."

Larson went to Buist's house to practice for that event, and she ended up playing a song on Buist's guitar that she'd never played for anyone before. From that point forward, they were in a band.

The Accidentals released their first album, "Tangled Red and Blue," in 2012, which featured the first songs Buist ever wrote.

"After that, we had a great experience of playing live shows," Larson said. "We learned how to tell a really good story with our songs."

They also went to art school and grew as people with their new experiences, making their 2013 follow-up, "Bittersweet," a big step forward. Buist's songs tend to feature more storytelling, while Larson's are often more poetic and abstract.

When the two come together, they create music deeply rooted in folk and bluegrass traditions, but they don't stop there. They intertwine their eclectic musical backgrounds to create a sound that is truly unique — and a perfect fit for Carbondale.

If You Go…

Who: The Accidentals

What: Concert

When: 8:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Steve’s Guitars

Tickets: Cash at the door