The Talbott Brothers release new singles amid coronavirus pandemic
Indie folk-rock artists The Talbott Brothers were in the middle of a national tour in support of their second full-length studio album “Ghost Talker,” when the world changed as a result of COVID-19. Nick and Tyler Talbott were scheduled to perform this month at the Milford Arts Council (MAC), but due to the virus outbreak, the show was postponed. Now the duo, who specialize in well-crafted, original material, are scheduled to perform at the MAC on Sept. 10. The songwriting siblings, originally from Nebraska and now based in Oregon, have been making music together their entire lives. They chose to pursue music professionally while in college, and that decision has led them to record two well-received studio albums of original material while building a growing fan-base. Nick Talbott took time out recently to talk about The Talbott Brothers, and what it’s like to be a recording artist and touring musician during the pandemic.
Mike Horyczun: The Talbott Brothers was one of the artists chosen to launch the recent #DontStopTheMusic series of live performances on Instagram presented by Sennheiser, the company that makes high-end microphones and headphones. What was that performance like?
Nick Talbott: It’s different than performing live, because we engage with everyone’s comments and song requests. It’s comfortable and relaxed. It can also be challenging since the energy at a live show is a big part of the performance. We are big fans of Sennheiser and have been using their gear for a few years now on the road and in the studio. The fun part about going live from some of our brand partners’ Instagram is connecting with new listeners and connecting our existing fan base with products we love.
MH: Why do you think it’s important to ‘not stop the music’ in these current times?
NT: Music can be a coping mechanism for a lot of people, just like exercise or reading. It’s more than a career to us, it’s an outlet and way to express ourselves. With the way things are currently, we don’t want to stop engaging with our fans. It’s a time to be creative in our reach.
MH: Let’s talk about the new album. Do you feel “Ghost Talker” accurately captures where you and Tyler currently are with your music in terms of songwriting and sound development?
NT: We like to explore different sounds on each album we create. When we play as the duo, there are certain things we can and can’t do versus when we bring additional band members on the road. Our first record, “Gray,” was more acoustic and sonically simple. With “Ghost Talker.” we wanted to capture a larger sound without losing the songwriting base we’ve always valued.
MH: How does the songwriter process work for you both? Is it a collaboration?
NT: We co-write everything. Usually, one of us will start with an idea or have part of a song in mind and take it to the other to finish it.
MH: When did you both decide to become professional musicians, and what prompted that decision?
NT: We booked a tour from Omaha to New York City while attending separate universities in Nebraska and told ourselves, if we didn’t kill each other by the end of it, and it went well, we wouldn’t go back to college. After that, we pursued music full time.
MH: You’re originally from Nebraska but now live in Oregon? Was there any particular reason for relocating?
NT: We grew up in Imperial, Neb., and moved to Oregon in 2015. Our mom was born in Portland. We were drawn to the scenery and the fact that we could play music year-round in the Pacific Northwest.
MH: Who would you say are some of your influences?
NT: James Brown, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen and The Beatles.
MH: Any final comments you want to share with our readers?
NT: We spent the winter with our producer, Justin Abel, recording some acoustic versions from “Ghost Talker” and will be releasing one single every Friday starting this month. The songs are very stripped down with mostly a piano, acoustic guitar and our two voices. The EP is called “Acoustic Selections from Ghost Talker,” and the first single was released April 17.