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Interview with Forlorn Strangers at Charleston Bluegrass Festival

Forlorn Strangers from Nashville, Tennessee hit the main stage at the Charleston Bluegrass Festival this past weekend. We got up after their set and talked about their rigorous touring schedule, their influences, and what comes next. We had an awesome conversation and became friends throughout the rest of the night before they headed back to Nashville to work on their new songs and album. Forlorn Strangers member Benjamin was playing with Dallas Baker and Friends on stage while I talked to Jesse, Abigail, Chris, and Hannah behind the stage. During their set, they all switched string instruments and harmonized like a family should. Read the interview and see some pictures from their set and the night below.

Zach: First time I saw you guys live was when you opened up for Dangermuffin, How did you guys get up with them?

Jesse: You know man just by coming to Charleston as much as we have. We’ve been in Charleston a lot of times now just building it from the ground up. Yeah just being on the same circuit and really digging into the Charleston music scene.

Chris: Yeah we played a show with them last summer in Myrtle Beach we just love those boys.

Zach: First time I got exposed to you guys was for Bottom of the Barrel. What caught me was getting the croquette set out of the van and just kept pulling stuff. Are you guys that wholesome on the road together?

Abigail: Yes! Im so glad that came across, we had a blast making that music video!

Jesse: Yeah there is definitely a playfulness and its almost too goofy, that is just how we are. You just have to stay fun when you’re playing so many shows at once.

Zach: Really excited about the family band aspect of things, so Abigail and Hannah you guys are sisters right?

Hannah: Yeah and Sara our tour manager!

Zach: Did you guys grow up playing a lot or is it a more recent thing?

Hannah: Not really, like our parents grew us up listening to a lot of music, our dad plays the guitar and sings so we were always exposed. It was a momentous occasion when each of us got our first guitar. It was really great, but we didn’t really sing together formally growing up.

Zach: You guys played 180 shows in 2015, and over 300 shows in 2 years. Musically you guys grew stronger, but what was it like as a family being on the road for the first time?

Hannah: We had done two like month long tours…

Chris: Yeah six weeks here and there…

Jesse: Yeah so for starting out with a Nashville band that is not uncommon at all. We worked our asses off to get those shows together and kind of learn the ropes of touring. We could stand doing this for a while instead of working day jobs.

Abigail: Yeah its all about just strapping things together, drinking blueberry beers, and sleeping on a lot of people’s floors….

Jesse: Lot of floors.

Zach: After I caught the “Bottom of the Barrel” music video I saw you guys got up with Grammy Winning producer Phil Madeira. He’s been with Hornsby, Allison Krauss, these are some huge names…

Jesse: Yeah hes been around a while…

Zach: Like did you guys step it up a little being in that type of company?

Jesse: Yeah we were super psyched and it was kind of a happenstance thing. Like you said he’s worked with so many people and that is kind of the main thing in Nashville, stepping up your game because everybody around is better and people are listening so you need to perform. Phil was just so cool we came across him at a Christian festival.

Zach: Yeah I knew you guys had some Christian roots.

Jesse: Yeah we all grew up going to church and built the harmony thing we have around that. So yeah we just happened to be at this festival and saw Phil playing this Telecaster blues guitar and got talking to him and realized who he is and who he’s played with so we said “Uhh, we are in the market for a new record and producer” to where he said, “Are you doing the Christian thing, or are you just doing a thing.” I said we are definitely just doing a thing” and then he said “Ok I’m listening.”

Zach: So last question and we can get back to the party. What’s next?

Abigail, Hannah, Chris, Jesse: Next Record.

Chris: We’ve begun writing songs, we have about six or seven new songs, we got more coming, getting those song we have been working up at rehearsal. We have rehearsal Monday night to get those songs together. And to flesh them out. Real excited about it all. 

This was a great chance to get to know a Nashville based band that loves Charleston. Can’t wait to work with them more in the future. Here is a link to the entire recap of the 2017 Charleston Bluegrass Festival. They are only scheduled for a show at Terra Fermata in Stuart, Florida May 3rd while they will be working on that much anticipated 2nd full album. Check out these pictures from the weekend  and that playful “Bottom of the Barrel” music video below.

Photo Credit: Ethan Waldrop

Photo Credit: Joshua Daves Martin

Photo Credit: Ethan Waldrop

Photo Credit: Joshua Daves Martin