I Draw Slow will find itself at O.P. Rockwell next week
July 22, 2016
The American folk band I Draw Slow is caught in a unique position.
The band was inspired by American folk and bluegrass artists but formed in Ireland. And their listeners on both sides of the pond interpret the music differently, according to guitarist Dave Holden.
"At home, people think we sound American, but in the states and anywhere else, people tell us they can hear the Irish in it," Holden said with a chuckle during a phone call from his home in Ireland. "I suppose you can't control that."
I Draw Slow will give audience members a chance to "draw" their own conclusions when the band opens for The Brothers Comatose at O.P. Rockwell on July 29. Doors open at 8 p.m.
Holden said the band members didn't consciously decide to insert their Irish influences into any of I Draw Slow's compositions.
"To be honest, we were working on the American side of things," he said. "When we were in another band, we played American old time and bluegrass and country for years. When we started I Draw Slow, we wrote our own songs in that genre, but because we are Irish, I suppose, the music naturally came out sounding a bit more Irish, you know.
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"That's the great thing about music," Holden said. "You can't control what comes out, even if you try to make it go in a different direction. If something is meant to come out, it will."
Holden writes most of the music and his sister, Louise, who is the band's lead singer, usually writes the lyrics.
Normally, I will have a melodic idea and structure and I'll give it to her and she'll write the verses and chorus, because she's better with words than I am," he said. "Once she's done, we'll bash it around a little bit more, but try to keep the overall aesthetic to it."
That's how the songs were written for I Draw Slow's three albums — "Downside," "Redhills" and the latest, "White Wave Chapel."
"We released 'Downside' only in Ireland over here and we recorded it in a kitchen in a house in the Wicklow Mountains, where we sat around one microphone and played," Holden said. "It was low-key and lo-fi because I had a few songs and I wanted to see how they would work on an album."
The record paved the way for the follow-up, "Redhills," which was the first released in the United States.
"That one got us the record deal in America," Holden said.
Still, "White Wave Chapel" is the big one for the band.
"We like to make albums that people can listen to from start to finish, although we know the album is a dying art form in the music business," Holden explained. "We just enjoy the fact that we can stick on an album and it has a narrative that runs through. We were keen to do that on this album."
Throughout its career, I Draw Slow — which also features violinist Adrian Hart, banjoist Colin Derham and bassist Konrad Libby — have played throughout their home country and the United States and performed with Bela Fleck & The Flecktones.
However, Holden said the real reward for being in the band is touring.
"We try to get over to America two or three times a year," he said. "The highlight is going somewhere we've never gone before and hearing someone singing our songs back to us.
"That's very touching because sometimes when you're on tour, you're lonely because you're away from your family," Holden said. "And that makes you realize there is a reason why you do this."
I Draw Slow will open for The Brothers Comatose at O.P. Rockwell, 268 Main St., on Friday, July 29. Doors open at 8 p.m. For tickets, visit http://www.oprockwell.com. For more information about I Draw Slow, visit http://www.idrawslow.wordpress.com/about-i-draw-slow.