Ahead of this weekend’s season opening installment of Aiken Music Fest on Saturday, May 8th at Highfields Event Center, we were able to catch up with Abby Bryant and Bailey Faulkner of Abby Bryant & The Echoes, our headliner, for a quick chat after a sold-out show on May 1st at The Salvage Station in Asheville in support of Travers Brothership.
AMF: With 2021 offering a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel that was 2020, what are you most looking forward to?
AB+BF: Having a routine again! (laughs) Traveling, playing live music, getting in the van and getting on the road, and knowing that we have a schedule of shows before us again. 2020 was in a way a giant hole for us, but in a way we were extremely fortunate to be able to use the time to fine tune our new album. We came out of it better, and stronger, songwriters. (Their new album, “Not Your Little Girl,” is in the mixing room as you read this, with an expected release date of early fall- come out this weekend for a sneak peek.)
AMF: Tell us what, or who, you’re listening to at the moment?
BF: I’ve taken a really deep dive into Aretha (Franklin) lately. Also been playing a lot of Eagles and Marshall Tucker Band, and I’ve always been a big Beatles fan, along with the blues.
AB: Really exploring the Country influence right now- more of the outlaw side, along with Margo Price, Patsy Cline, and a healthy mix of soul, gospel, Southern Rock, and Aretha as well.
AMF: Recent coverage of one of your shows led to a writer saying that you’re carrying the torch lit by Western North Carolina’s Warren Haynes. Those are some big shoes to fill. Any thoughts on that?
AB: Honored. Just truly honored by those words. Live music is a beautiful thing to be a part of, and I’m just lucky to be here and be a part of the WNC tradition of music.
AMF: Tell us your favorite memory as a member of an audience?
AB+BF: LOCKN’ 2018- Tedeschi Trucks Band’s last set finished with a Joe Cocker ‘Space Captain’ rendition that you just had to be there for.
AB: Margo Price at the Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte- the opening act left their drum kit on stage and Margo wound up in a drum duel with her own drummer mid-show. Also, Floyd Fest 2019 Brandi Carlile did an incredible rendition of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Case of You’.
AB+BF: (laughing) We’ve both got TTB and Brandi high on the same list.
AMF: You’ve recently undergone a rebrand (From DownTown Abby & The Echoes to Abby Bryant & The Echoes) – does this signal any change in direction from a musical standpoint?
AB+BF: Really, just the time we spent (during 2020) working on the new album- our music has really progressed and our songwriting has grown much stronger. We wanted to reflect that with the (slight) name change.
AMF: You received the 2019 “On The Rise” award at Floyd Fest. That’s a big deal- thoughts?
AB: Huge honor! 2020 was obviously a wash, so one of the perks that will carry over to this summer is 5 performance slots at this year’s festival with main stage appearances. We’re working on some special themes for the fans!
AMF: I’m sure I’ve missed something- please tell me what?
AB+BF: We’re really proud of the new album- we were basically given the time to totally re-record it during the pandemic. We hope people will enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed recording it. There will be plenty of glimpses of the new songs in Aiken this weekend- we look forward to seeing everyone!