“Spot”light on…Loves It!
“Loves It! formed when two best friends, Vaughn Walters and Jenny Parrott, dreamed of traveling the world together singing songs! Both accomplished solo writers, they were surprised and excited to see their collaborative works sparkle! Besides inventive songwriting that travels between folk, country, indie pop and swing, each is a multi-instrumentalist and the live show features claw hammer banjo, guitars, mandolin, fiddle, and heart felt inspired singing. Vaughn hails from West by God Virginia and brings his love of country, punk rock, and folk to the duo’s sound. Jenny Parrott is from New Haven CT and brings a love of soul, swing and gospel. With songs and musical ideas formed by their experiences traveling with other musicians (Shotgun Party, Leo Rondeau), these veterans of the road have come together to create a unique sound that is fun, modern and you will totes LOVES IT!” I had the opportunity to sit and talk with Vaughn as they took some downtime from the road.
lsg: What’s “Hippie Western Pop?”?
Vaughn: (laughs) We didn’t come up with that. We played a show in Virginia and a guy called us that. I would say that it’s some sort of folk hybrid thing like a new folk. Maybe some sort of quirky folk thing.
Lsg: Because you really don’t fall into, as I listen to your music, it’s tough to nail down a specific category to put you in.
Vaughn: Yeah. We usually just say folk or indie folk or folk pop or freak folk or something like that. Whatever comes to mind at the time. Hippie western pop we were going with for a while.
lsg: You know it kinda made sense because you do have, at least to me anyway, a little bit of country in there but then you’ve got the hippie indie poppy kind of melody too.
Vaughn: I’ve played in country bands for the last probably 5 or 6 years. I play bass and guitar and toured mostly with country bands. You know, this is the first time in while I haven’t played in a straight up country band so I think some of that influence still bleeds over. And we both listen to a lot of country music. Austin has a great underground country music scene so we’re always listening to that so there’s got to be some influence there.
lsg: Your bio reads that the two of you were best friends who decided to travel the world singing songs. How long ago was that and how did you come to know one another since Jenny’s from New Haven so she’s a local (Yay!) and you’re from West Virginia, right? Kinda LA via Omaha so to speak.
Vaughn: Yes, I’m from West Virginia. I grew up in a small town in West Virginia. We met down in Austin. We were in separate touring bands and we were touring with other bands probably for 4 or 5 years. Loves It! is pretty new. We played some shows together when we were in Austin over the course of the years when we weren’t touring with the other bands. But mostly, we toured with other bands and finally her other band broke up in November and I quit my band in November and we had been booking this long tour so it was kind of a kick off to us being a real band, an official full-time thing. So we have this crazy 3 and a half month tour. We’ve been playing together nearly a year and a half on and off but as far as being full time, we are hitting the ground running.
lsg: So you are pretty fresh and new.
Vaughn: We both have played a ton of shows and have been all over the country and Jenny’s toured all over the world. It’s new to us to do this particular project though. And now we’re doing this stripped down folk thing. We’ve both been in large bands before.
lsg: What drew you to settle in Austin? Was it that connection that you met there?
Vaughn: We both moved down there just to play music. I was getting ready to join this band in Virginia Beach and they broke up just as we were about to leave for tour so I called a friend and was like “Hey, how’s Austin?” and he said “It’s great! Come on down! The music’s great!” So, I ended up moving to Austin kind of on a whim and never dreamed I’d be down there for six years but it’s worked out. I’ve been able to play in some great bands and meet some great people so I stuck around. Jenny’s story is kind of similar. She was just looking for a town that had a good reputation as a music town and moved down and here we are.
Lsg: Your debut album is called “Yay!” which…I love that title! It’s one of my favorite words! (laughter from Vaughn). Tell me about your writing process. Do you have any favorites on that album? I especially liked “Two Sides” when I listened to your work.
Vaughn: I like the song “Vegas” a lot. It’s probably my favorite one on there now. Well with that album, we recorded it before we had played many shows. It was just songs that we had written over the years that we weren’t using in other bands. Some of them we wrote together like “Bobby Kennedy” that we wrote right before we recorded the album. I had recording sessions that kept getting cancelled with the other band and it was really frustrating. So we rented some recording gear and we did the album at our house not even intending to make a full album. But we recorded a ton of songs and thought we should just put this out and make an album out of it. So that’s what happened and now we have this album and we’re touring on it.
lsg: You are both accomplished musicians. You play multiple instruments. Are each of you self-taught or did you each take lessons?
Vaughn: Jenny is pretty much self-taught. I went to a school in Virginia for classical guitar and theory and such. I have that. But Jenny is pretty much self-taught. She’d taken lessons from people here and there and voice lessons but now a whole lot of formal training.
lsg: Who inspires you as a musician?
Vaughn: Inspires me? That’s a great question. When I was writing songs for this album, I was listening to Nina Nastasia a lot. I really love her music. I would say just my friends in Austin and people I meet on the road and just travelling. It’s my lifestyle now and the way I want to live. I think it’s just getting to do what you want to do for me. I guess that’s what I’m saying. Hang on. Give me a second to think about it. It certainly has changed through the years. First it was it was growing up in really rural America but now I guess it’s more people I meet and the life experiences that I have touring around, you know.
lsg: You’ve got a fairly extensive tour happening right now. What’s been your favorite room to play and why?
Vaughn: Oh my god. Another good question. Let me think here. Well, places where people really listen. We played at a place called KiKi’s in Madison and it was really great and a house concert in Tampa that was really great. Our music gets lost if the room is too loud so any place where we can hear ourselves and people can hear what we’re saying and can hear the vocals – because we’re not a very flashy band. So I think for us that’s what makes a good show.
lsg: It’s always just the two of you, right? You don’t bring along any other musicians.
Vaughn: No, not yet. We probably will end up doing that but just right now we’re so new that we’re trying to figure out how to get our own sound first.
lsg: Well, you’ve got a pretty good fan base at this moment so I’m thinking you’re on the right track! I know that you guys are driving from gig to gig. I’m sure that gets to be tedious so what are you listening to?
Vaughn: You know, we have a tape player in the car and we have one of those tape to mp3 player adapters but it doesn’t work so we mostly listen to NPR. When Jenny drives, we’ll surf for whatever is on the radio. We have a bunch of country tapes in the car. Mostly, when I drive, I don’t listen to anything. I just listen to the road go by. (He laughs) I don’t listen to much radio in the car anymore.
lsg: Is it therapeutic for you?
Vaughn: Yeah. It’s a little bit of down time, you know? We have a little RV so when Jenny goes up top for a nap and it’s really quiet, I just don’t put on any music at all. I think of new melodies in my head sometimes and record them. Or think about what’s going on or I just clear my mind. I actually love doing all the drives for the down time. It’s surprising to me on this tour how little down time we’ve had given that we are only playing our show two hours a day but we still have a lot going on. It’s kind of hard to detach. It’s why we are enjoying some time off here in Connecticut.
lsg: Last question and it’s some kind of a nonsense question depending on who I’m talking with, so today it’s “Is everything bigger in Texas”?
Vaughn: (laughs) I would say that the biggest things are the breakfast tacos.
lsg: Breakfast tacos?
Vaughn: (laughs) You know, it’s like its own little country down there. Especially Texas country bands that just do Texas and Oklahoma. I’d never even heard of them growing up on the East coast but in Texas they’re huge. It’s its own music market basically. There are a bunch of bands just doing Texas and Oklahoma. It’s basically, not exactly like Nashville country – it’s a little poppier than like a traditional honky tonk. But you could make a really good living just playing Texas on the weekends. Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Go out the next week Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
…And Tuesdays. You can see them this week on a Tuesday.
Loves It! will be playing at Arch Street Tavern this Tuesday night, January 24. Show starts at 9:00 pm. Don’t miss out! Arch Street IS bringing in the very best live entertainment in the greater Hartford area!!
Lisa Sanchez Gonzalez aka lsg
Lover of music and the visual arts, Lisa Sanchez Gonzalez is the insanity behind lsg original photography. lsg specializes in artist and performer photography. She’s had the honor of photographing national bands such as Weezer, Snoop Dogg, A Simple Plan, Paramore, Whitesnake, Wye Oak, and The Antlers along with countless local bands and performers.
Hailing from Hartford, CT, Lisa is a life- long music connoisseur. Growing up, her mother exposed her to everything from The Stones to Simon and Garfunkel to Earth, Wind, and Fire to Loretta Lynn…and everything in between. No genre was left unexplored in her vinyl collection. She saw her first concert at 14…Rod Stewart at the (then called) Hartford Civic Center. Thirty years later, it’s still her favorite pastime.
Lisa has two kids (grown!) and a day job. Her loves of music and photography have melded into a second career. And her love of CT keeps her promoting and pushing for local artists and performers. Lisa spends the greater part of her free time seeing and shooting live bands, performers, and artists and art work…and purchasing vinyl!