It was of course Shakespeare who famously wrote about music being the “food of love” and those seeking proof need look no further than husband and wife duo 3 Pairs Of Boots whose personal and professional relationship blossomed through a “Singer Wanted ” ad, marrying within a year of their first encounter.
Based in California, Andrew Stern and Laura Arias share a vast musical history, their influences include country icons Emmylou Harris and Johnny Cash as well as the genre-defying bands Buffalo Springfield and The Byrds. They experimented across a range of genres and band line ups before solidifying their own sound which leans heavily on Americana blending elements of country, folk and rock. Their interesting songwriting process is largely a result of their unique connection, with Andrew being the duo’s main writer and Laura tweaking, editing and rearranging the music as they play. Their songs typically feature rock-and-roll roots, catchy melodic hooks, and country storylines with engaging, often biographical lyrics. “Andrew likes to take someone’s story and run with it,” says Laura, “The story is always important” . And when it comes to vocal style, Laura has been described as falling somewhere in between Shania Twain and Cyndi Lauper, blending both twang and attitude. Just take a listen to “It Ain’t Easy” one of the singles taken from their well received 2019 debut album “Gone South”, I love its honky tonk, foot tapping sound and of course the great message in its often very amusing, truthful lyrics… “now it’s the battle of the bulge, I’m not the homecoming queen I once was“…
At the time of the album’s release Andrew ran a successful tax accounting business while Laura raised their son at home, the duo playing shows at weekends. But when Andrew sold his business at the end of 2019 the band became their central focus. They now write and record full-time in their two-room home studio. “It feels like we’re settling into who we are now, writing whatever feels right,” says Stern. “We’re self-sufficient. Having the studio at home allows us unlimited time to create and perfect the tracks.”
The release of their second album, the ten track “Long Rider”, scheduled for Summer 2020, was delayed for obvious reasons but will finally be available on 29th January. It sees the duo supported by a cast of top artists including Christian Paschall, Nashville drummer and bandleader for Maren Morris, who tracked the drums remotely. Its title and several songs are inspired by the life of “Lady Long Rider” Bernice Ende, who traversed the country alone on horseback over 30,000 miles in the later years of her life. “The story was so incredible– her persistence, her spirit, and all the kind and generous people she met in small towns across the country… it set the scene for the record,” says Laura. Andrew adds “We felt a connection with her story. Ende discovered this freedom in doing the thing she loved most, and doing it for very long periods of time,” says Stern. “That really resonated with us. We feel that way about making music– we’re longriders, too.” Having heard the album already, which was the first time I had actually heard any of their music, I fell in love instantly with the beautiful sound they have honed. Andrew’s songwriting skills paint wonderful pictures, his lyrics are interpreted superbly by Laura’s vocals and its arrangements and production are fantastic. It really helps demonstrate to me that there’s definitely something special about music from a “real life” couple. There’s a great mix of lilting, soothing tracks along with some fun, uptempo numbers with a real hoedown vibe . The opener, “Quittin’ Time” , really hit me straight away, there’s such pleading and emotion in Laura’s voice as she sings about hoping to save a flailing relationship, and further down the track listing is another of my favourites, “Take A Step” which in complete contrast is a light hearted and catchy foot tapper.
A couple of the album’s songs have been released as singles already, including “Everywhere I Go” , their ode to life on the road which is most definitely inspired by the travels of afore mentioned Bernice Ende I’d say! While it’s not the easiest of lifestyle choices it’s well worth all the challenges it poses…”Freedom’s hard work it’s true, you can take my word for it, and it takes a lot of guts to leave the grind behind“.
For more information go to 3pairsofboots.com where you’ll also find links to their socials… and in addition to writing music full-time, 3 Pairs of Boots is developing a YouTube series called Cook’N’ & Country, which combines recipe demonstrations with live country music performances, perfect for lockdown !
Long Rider Track List
1. Quittin’ Time
2. Angels Of The Trail
3. Devil Road
4. Take A Step
5. Everywhere I Go
6. I Am The Map
7. Summer Of love
9. My Best Friend
10. Roller Coaster
Review written by Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)