Goldpine Releases Sophomore Album, "Two", Ahead of Americana Fest Debut
After about a decade of fine tuning their sound and switching band names, Goldpine have delivered their sophomore release, Two, out today. Harmony driven husband and wife duo Benjamin and Kassie Wilson have captured the stories of this time in their lives, from new beginnings to an homage to their journey under their previous band name “My One and Only”. The award-winning duo have consistently been on the road picking up fans and awards along the way; from finalists at the Kerrville Folk Festival, the 30A Songwriters Festival and venues across the country, to winning the 2022 Rocky Mountain Songwriter Contest. I asked Ben and Kassie about all of this, the new album, and their Americana Fest showcase debut. I’ll spin another track from Two on my Americana Fest preview show for The Local Brew Hour, Sunday, 9/17 at 8am at 89.5 WMOT and streaming here at wmot.org.
AnaLee: Congratulations on releasing Two! It’s so great to finally get a chance to dive into your story. We planned on chatting around the release of your debut as Goldpine last year, but life, health, work, all of it led us to this point in time and I’m glad it worked out this way so we can chat ahead of your Americana Fest debut! Tell us about when you first met, how you knew this was a life match as well as a musical match, and then forming My One and Only and what was behind changing the name to Goldpine.
Ben and Kassie: Thanks, AnaLee. I’m glad we’re all able to connect now! So happy to be here. So, Kassie and I met at a small church plant near Nashville. I (Ben) had just moved here to attend audio production school, and Kassie had moved a few years earlier to pursue a country music career. When we met, music really didn’t have a lot to do with our connection at first. I mean, I was playing guitar for the praise team at the church, but when we met, we didn’t really have any ideas of singing together, or making music together. We just were interested in each other as people (and actually Kassie really was the one that initiated our communication… she Myspaced me. Whoa…MySpace!). But as the years went on, we slowly started doing things together musically. I’d play guitar for her on some writer’s rounds. And she’d sing harmony on some of my shows (which were very few). It wasn’t until about 7 years into our marriage that we became an official duo. And that really happened because a friend of ours in the music industry met with us, and basically told us “You’re shooting yourself in the foot by not working together”. And he was right. Two heads are better than one. Two strengths are better than one. Two personalities reach more than a single. At that time, we had named ourselves “My One And Only” (partly because of our merging of two musical careers, partly because of our marriage together, and partly because of our faith in One God). Well, soon I gathered that the only thing that would cross people’s minds when someone introduced us as “My One And Only” was clouds in the shape of hearts and sweet shallow love songs. Ha. Not exactly what I was intending. Well, we decided to change our branding a little. The name Goldpine presents a little more edge, as well as being easier to say! It was not easy changing our brand name, but once we got through the pains (and daily explanations!), we really felt like we settled into the new name.
AnaLee: You two are road warriors! Touring and performing really define who you are musically. Talk a little about what performing means to you and when and where you’ll be showcasing at Americana Fest.
Ben and Kassie: Performance is really where we feel like we can shine. Our live shows are full of stories behind the lyrics, and shared experiences with the audience. Our music is so much about connection with people in a real way. We’ve got acoustic songs about family farmland that was sold by my grandfather, and the weight of responsibility that a leader of a family holds. People always come up after the show with their shared experience of family farmland and what it has meant to them. This kind of thing doesn’t happen unless you’re live, in-person with someone. I love Spotify, but when I go to a concert, I’m excited to see what happens between the songs. We’ve also got raucous songs about making $35 at a gig in Philadelphia and really feeling like we’re missing home, which most musicians can relate with. We love to bring the audience on a journey during our show. We love to make ‘em cry, to make ‘em laugh, and to make ‘em think. It’s just amazing how lyric and song can unite people. Live shows can be supernatural experiences where you feel… and learn… and connect. So, yeah, we stay on the road quite a bit. It’s where the magic is. Our tour van is a really big deal to us, concerning the amount of time we spend out there. I built out a Ram Promaster cargo van into a tour van. It has running water, fridge, TV, air, heat, dinner table, and so much more. Basically it is our home on wheels. We couldn’t tour the way we do without it. We even cook all our meals in there (although it gets kinda crazy in such a small space!). But, we will be home in Nashville for a week this month for Americanafest! We are thrilled to be selected as an official showcase artist for Americanafest in Nashville. It’s truly an honor to be chosen, and we’ve wanted to be a part of it for years. We don’t take it lightly. We even had the opportunity to represent Americanafest by performing at the Relix Music Conference a few months back. Sometimes you look at what you’re doing and you wonder just how this happened. What a blessing. Anyway, come on out and see us for our Americanafest showcase on Friday, September 22 at 7pm. Held at The 5 Spot in Nashville. I love that venue.
AnaLee: This album arrives almost a year to the day after your debut as Goldpine, One. Are these all new songs or a combination of songs left over from writing One and new compositions for Two?
Ben and Kassie: I don’t think any of the songs on Two were considered for being on One. Most of them hadn’t been written yet. But a few of them are older songs (from when we were called “My One and Only”). For instance, we recorded “My Favorite Parts of You” as a single under “My One and Only”, and we have re-recorded it on Two with all new production and a slightly more mid-tempo feel. I love the way it turned out, with full band sound (and some of Kassie’s late father’s banjo on it!). Oh, and that song has a truly unimaginable harmonica solo on it (from our friend Brynn Scott Grimes), wow it really just takes the song to a new place. And a few of the other songs were finished at least partially years ago, but they just weren’t ready to come out into the world until now. I love that about songwriting. Sometimes you start a song, record it in your phone’s voice memos, listen back… and then you hate it. So, you just leave it there for years. Then one curious day, you go back listening to old voice memos and you hear a brilliant portion of a tune. And then you finish it and record it. Some things just need the right perspective… or temperature or something.
AnaLee: Something about connected people singing together is so very special. Whether it’s sibling harmonies like the Everly Brothers and more recently The Cactus Blossoms and The Watson Twins, but it’s interesting to find the same phenomenon amongst friends, I’m thinking about Amy Miriello and Vanessa Olivarez of Boys Club for Girls, and married couples such as yourselves. Talk a little about what it’s like to have that bond and how it carries over into your singing, including performing the National Anthem at the Nashville Sounds game recently!
Ben and Kassie: It’s interesting to me how people who are together a lot tend to grow the same types of interests or wear the same style in clothes. I suppose it makes sense on one level. Or maybe it’s the other way around… maybe they came together because they had the same interests and style. Anyway, yes there is something super special about sibling or married harmonies. For me, I think of First Aid Kit and Freddie and Francine. I suppose it shows that music performance is more than just words coming out of our mouths. It’s about united passions. It’s about shared experiences. It’s about intimacy. Honestly, it’s really cool to be able to sing together as a married couple. It’s just something that we really connect over, and (how can i say this?) we just really love the way we sound! It’s taken many years of road bumps and critiquing to produce our “sound”. Kassie and I both came from very different musical backgrounds, and it took a lot of effort to meld those two styles into what we have now. Kassie and I have talked about it, and neither of us think we would do music if we were on our own. The shared struggle is manageable, but a solitary struggle can crush you. I suppose all of us have that innate desire to be a part of someone else’s life. And it feels like purpose to us. It feels like home for us. Oh, and thanks for mentioning the National Anthem. That was super cool… and we will have another cool experience singing the National Anthem…at the Kansas City Chiefs football game on New Year’s Eve! It was just announced. Again, sometimes you just wonder how you got to certain places. And we are so honored to be asked to sing at this game. Whoa, singing it in front of 80,000 people (and possibly more on TV?) will be a highlight for us.
AnaLee: Can you tell us about the recording for this record, who you worked with and where you recorded?
Ben and Kassie: So, I (Ben) moved to Nashville to attend audio production school (SAE Institute). I’ve been doing audio production since 2006 in Nashville. So, we engineered this record in our home studio, right upstairs next to our bedroom! We haven’t always produced our own records, but I’ve realized that I just really like the process. I like that I can go at my own pace, I can record when I want. And a major plus is that we’re not being charged per hour! I kind of have a weird recording process that I do. I start with recording acoustic guitar and a vocal, the way we do in our live performance. And then I start to build the track around the guitar. I even add drums and bass and all sorts of things after the guitars. I know it’s backwards, but it’s so much fun to me. Ever since my youth group band recorded our EP in a small Iowa studio, the recording studio has been one of the most special places for me. The atmosphere breeds inspiration. It got me hooked! For the final vocals on our album Two, however, we recorded those at Briarpatch Studio (engineered by Troy Brooks) in Nashville. It was nice not to have to worry about technical things while we were recording vocals (which I have tried to manage in the past). Troy is a friend (and neighbor) of ours, and we loved working in his studio (which is just a block from our house). We also hired vocal producer Ron Browning to guide us through our vocal recording process. Ron is a world-class vocal instructor who makes you feel such ease in the studio and is always a joy to work with and be around. Jason Richmond mixed the album; he also mixed our last album. He’s done a lot of great work on Avett Brothers albums. Dave McNair mastered the album, and we love the work he did with Shovels and Rope!
AnaLee: Thanks for taking the time to chat with me today. I am so excited for your Americana Fest debut and for the future of Goldpine!
Ben and Kassie: Thank you AnaLee! It’s an honor to be here. Thank you for your support for us, and so many other artists who are expressing their passions and purposes through art.
“Thinking About Love”
“Do You Have Me?”