Folk group Annabelle’s Curse talks new album, defying musical genres and breaking away from their rootsy sound

by | Aug 17, 2015 | COUNTRY, ALT COUNTRY, FOLK & BLUES

Annabelle’s Curse, centralized on folk and bluegrass instrumentation, has been enjoying their time as touring musicians since 2010 with Worn Out Skin<
Annabelle’s Curse, centralized on folk and bluegrass instrumentation, has been enjoying their time as touring musicians since 2010 with Worn Out Skin being their third full length album. As the band’s constant flow of vitality is heard through their lyrics and rhythm, Annabelle’s Curse continues to wow audiences with their skill and genuine enthusiasm.

“I feel like this last album has a lot to do with the progression of us, individually,” said mandolinist/vocalist Carly Booher. “We are five people, we are a band, but we all go through completely different things at different times.”

Booher said the pevious album, Hollow Creature is very different from the newest release.

“In the last album (Hollow Creature), we were all kind of in this limbo, like ‘What is our purpose?’” she said. “We have all had bad relationships in the past, we were reflecting on that as opposed to this album where we’re all kind of uplifted and have found our spot musically and personally.”

Much like the nature of their music, the members of the band come from different regions of the east coast, growing up around varying cultures and genres of music. From the cities Bristol, Tennessee and Bristol, Virginia, the band experienced both the country and city life and has incorporated each into their music.

“Personally, I feel like where I grew up playing bluegrass there is such a stigma and the bluegrass community is so dead-set on only bluegrass and I think I’m kind of an outsider apart from that community,” said Booher. “It’s not cool to play bluegrass music when you’re a teenager, so I feel like I had a little rebellious side. Like, ‘You want me to play bluegrass? No, I’m not going to do that.’ Even though, don’t get me wrong, I totally respect bluegrass, that’s where I got my start in music.”

“…put me in a band that’s a Rancid cover band and I can play those songs,” Booher added.

With multi-genre influences and a distinguishable hint of angst in their music, Annabelle’s Curse tries to avoid categorizing themselves into one genre as they continue to shy away from the rootsy sound they started out with while progressing into something new.

“We have such a hard time relating to a genre,” Booher said. “People will ask us what kind of music we play and I’m like, ‘We play our music.’ People may say it’s rock, people may say it’s folk, alternative, Americana, but we don’t know.”

Booher added the band gets compared to Mumford and sons, Avett Brothers and even The Decemberists.

“I cannot tell you one song that the Decemberists have ever put out,” she said.

The band members feel that being categorized into one genre restricts their limitations to mix up their sound, coming to the conclusion that a plethora of musical influences is preferable when trying to create something new.

“We don’t want to get too involved in a certain genre where we forget who we are,” continued Booher. “We don’t want to be a Mumford and Sons cover band, we don’t want to be an ACDC cover band, we don’t want to be any of those. We write our own material and it feels good to put out something in our head that is original because it came from all of us. Hopefully, at the end of the day you put out something that hasn’t happened.”

The change in sound on Worn Out Skin is due to more of a natural occurrence than intention, which the band considers a metaphorical representation of the individual’s evolution as musicians. The tone in Worn Out Skin is one that is light-hearted and easily relatable, rather than the more ominous and resentful tone of Hollow Creature.

Booher said seasons play a big role in the writing process.

“The first song on our second album, Hollow Creature, it started ‘sitting on the porch in the fallen snow’,” she said. “We wrote it in the winter and we recorded it in the winter in Ohio with snow everywhere. And then this album for example, we’ve got elements like skinny dipping, sitting on the porch playing music, the illusions of bonfires and drinking moonshine with your friends, and being around a campfire.”

With no time to spare outside of gigs, the band members work day jobs that consume the other portion of their time which is quite the balancing act when they’re on tour.

“We’re touring to the extent of getting really close to losing our day jobs if we’re not careful,” said Booher. “But this is a business, you know. Even if we would like to jump off and pursue this full-time, we have to be careful. We have salary and we have health benefits, we can’t just up and drop it. Not all of us have salaries, but that is a legitimate concern even though this is what we want to do with our lives. Clearly.”

Although both touring and working a day job is a challenge, the benefits make for a bittersweet ending. The band may be musicians yearning to make it big, but they’re not struggling to make ends-meet because they have other means of doing that.

“Well, it’s opened a lot of doors,” said guitarist Zach Edwards. “The reason why we work other jobs is to make rent.”

Annabelle’s Curse is on tour now

Becky Ingram

Becky Ingram

Becky Ingram was with RVA Mag in the Summer of 2015 and has continued writing for and ever since, mainly submitting festival coverage. She has recently relocated to Berlin, Germany where she works as a photo-journalist for a fashion photographer. She hopes that her B.S. in Economics from VCU and her international journalism experience will help her acquire a content manager position for VICE Video some day. Her interests include surf cinematography, gonzo journalism, and funky bass lines.

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