In a live setting the two do the work of several musicians by playing guitar, ukulele, accordion, drums, glockenspiel, banjo and more. Quirky 2 piece duo Channing & Quinn often tour the country in a rather unorthodox way. Past tours have consisted of Amtrak Train Tours and most recently a tour of the entire country while pulling and living in an air-stream trailer. The two are based in East Nashville but originally met and began writing music in The Blue Ridge Mountains of Boone, NC. Channing & Quinn tour all year round often adding support for artists such as Langhorne Slim, Brian Vander Ark, Enter The Haggis, The Greencards and many more...
Catch them at Bunbury Music Festival, you are not going to want to miss this Nashville twosome. I dare you not to fall in love with this one of a kind band. We got to know the duo prior to the festival!
What were you writing about when you started? How has that evolved? Where do you see yourself evolving?
When we first started we just needed songs. We were tired of doing covers and wanted to write. Quinn had tons of instrumental songs on guitar and piano and Channing had notebooks full of lyrics. We just started digging through and coming up with some cool stuff. I think it was kind of bluesy, we didn't really have a style, we just wanted the music and lyrics to fit together. It was cool stuff, just not that catchy or anything. We moved to Nashville and got this gig every Saturday night at a bar, it was like a party atmosphere, right down the street where we lived. We just played our most upbeat songs and cover songs to make sure the crowd was into it. It was a cool gig, but we weren't really "creatively" exploring our potential. When we stopped doing that Quinn picked up a ukulele, banjo, and accordion to start writing some different sounding stuff. Channing started coming up with these stories as lyrics. Really cool stuff about magicians and stuff, it mixed perfect with the sounds i was making on the different instruments and thats what we first recorded. Our first 2 releases were 2 EP's in 2010 of all that stuff we were writing. We loved it and took those EP's out on the road for two years before we recorded our album in 2012. Our music continues to evolve, we still don't travel with a band, we have turned into the band. We've picked up some drums, percussion, glockenspiel, tap dancing, just anything to make a sound with the two of us onstage. A year or two from now i assume we will play piccolo, probably a didgeridoo, and most likely Quinn will dance around on stage like a ballerina.
Tell us about your unique touring experiences. Amtrak and more recently airstream trailer? I bet you made a bunch of interesting new friends.
The first tour we ever did back in 2008 was actually all by train. It was our first time touring the full east coast and we wanted to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time and thought it would be so cool to travel by train, we are both fascinated with trains. Amtrak is great, you can get a 2 week rail pass and hop on and off wherever you need to. It was old fashioned, we would play a show, grab our instruments and backpacks and head to the station in the town we were playing, ride the train all night to the next town, play a show and do it all over again. I think we did 13 straight shows, press started to pick it up in each town and it helped get people out to the show to see these "train" folk! It's different though then some of these other big tours you are seeing with like Mumford and Old Crow where they have their own train and go to each city. Ours was more like a public transportation tour. When you have traveled via train to a city and you arrive at the train station you look at the map of the city to see where the venue is, which 9 times out of 10 is the other side of town. So then you figure out how to get there, bus, subway, etc... It's crazy. I think we only took a cab like twice, otherwise mostly trains and subways and buses.... We did that tour again in 2010 when we had released 2 EP's that year, another east coast 2 week train tour, this time with a little more experience and a whole lot more exhaustion.
If you could work with any artist, who would that be and why?
Thats a really tough one, I'll just throw out some of our background and see what comes out. Channing would most likely work with someone in musical theater. In case you can't tell that was a huge influence on her, we incorporate tap dancing, Vaudeville, and other type acts/music with our show. This is Quinn answering for Channing, but she would probably want to work with like Streisand or Bette Midler or something and do some kind of tap routine or sing a song from like guys and dolls with them... Haha....SHE will probably kill me for writing this.
As for Quinn... I was raised in North Carolina and love the music from that region. Doc Watson and Earl Scruggs are probably my heroes and both have passed away in the past year. I don't play their style of music, but I'm obsessed with everything they did during their time. They literally invented their styles of music. Scruggs created 3 finger picking on the banjo, he had a career in Bill Monroes band, with Flatt and Scruggs, and with a 70's style family band. Doc Watson is my favorite music in the world, he took old fiddle tunes and played them on guitar, he toured with his family also, created an amazing bluegrass/folk/americana festival, etc... Back in the day they toured just like we do, caravan in cars from show to show, usually driving themselves, looking for sponsors, arriving in cities and performing on the streets to get people to come to the shows... Everything involved with what they did is why i consider them my musical heroes.
What is next for Channing and Quinn?
You know the best way to answer that is sort of to describe what we tell each other before we head out on tour, we say to each other to remember to take each day and each show 1 at a time. You get overwhelmed leaving for a tour thinking, oh my god tomorrow is Cinci, then Pittsburgh, Thursday NYC, down to DC.....YOU Feel like you are gonna freak out. So instead you say to yourself, just play an awesome show in Cinci today and then wake up tomorrow and look at the schedule to see where you are going next. We have to sort of take that concept for our whole career. If we are doing an album put all of our focus into that to make it the best we can, then when we head out on tour focus on that, 1 thing at a time. So right now heading into the summer is our busy season, it's when everyone goes out to see live music the most, so we are on the road performing a lot this summer, lots of festivals and shows. It's gonna be great. No plans as of yet for a new album, we are working on material slowly while we are on the road, just coming up with some ideas... We'll probably take a short break after summer and start looking at a fall/winter tour. Maybe new album coming in 2014???
What's been you biggest moment so far? The time when you felt like this is why I do this?
There has definitely been a couple of those. Once we were playing a show in Greensboro, North Carolina. The place was kind of dead, only a handful of folks in the audience. Those are those kind of nights you have to make a decision, do i want to pout that the place is empty or do i want to give my best performance for the people that are there? Luckily we chose the latter and played great. It was an all ages club so i noticed a young teenage girl and her mother singing along to all of our songs. After the show they came up to us and the teenage girl talked about how much of a huge fan she was of Channing and her lyrics, she knew every song. We went backstage and jammed for a while and she sang some songs with Channing. I started thinking about how not that long ago Channing was a teenager singing other artists songs and lyrics and hoping to write music one day. That girl was so thankful and we all had such a great time, she is in music theater and keeps in touch with us. That was absolutely one of those "this is why we do this" moments.
What advice do you have for a new artist just starting out?
Another tough one....WE Like to give advice to folks starting out, but then sometimes we think, "who are we to give advice?? What do we know?? Maybe you should do the opposite of what we say and you will be a millionaire!" Haha
The best thing i feel like we can say is that music and the music industry is forever changing, as cliche as it sounds. Do your thing. Long gone are the days of having to pretend to be something that is popular, everyone wants originality and thats what everyone has. So get out there and play the music you want to play. Thats what we do and we have a blast doing it and we make our living doing it. But you have to get out there and do it, don't give excuses like you don't have fancy recording equipment or an expensive guitar. Drug stores sell guitars now for like $50. Quinn plays the same guitar he bought 15 years ago in college and we tour the world with it.... We record sometimes on a free computer program we downloaded online and a nice $100 microphone. Some of that music has been featured on television and only cost us $100 for that microphone! There's no excuses, just get out there and play. Get together with friends, jam, write, sing, yell. If it sounds bad you will know it and tell yourselves man we gotta practice. Then 2 weeks later go play an open mic. 2 weeks after that book a show at your neighborhood coffee shop and invite your friends and family. Thats the start of a career.
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