I call their sound “New England Gothic.” Upon listening to their latest release “Heavy as Lead,” visions long lost but dearly held are easily conjured. I find myself taking the long way home when I throw the disc into my old pickup truck stereo. Every guitar note and songbird word sung drifts into my ears, unlocking dusty boxes in the closet of my mind.
Faces, spaces and places begin to appear on my dashboard, while my foot remains steady on the gas pedal. Faces of old loves dearly missed, spaces destroyed by the sands of times that only remain in memory, places far away that seem within my grasp as I dream at night.
I think that is the essence of what The DuPont Brothers are.
When everything is stripped down, when there is no backup band, where it’s just two guys completely vulnerable to the audiences, you as the listener also become vulnerable. It’s also the essence of what stop-you-in-your-tracks music is suppose to do, which is shake you out of your day-to-day life like an old friend who wants you know everything will be ok, in time, as long as you never forget to believe in the endless possibilities of the cosmos.
The Smoky Mountain News recently caught up with The DuPont Brothers on their current East Coast album release tour. They spoke of the lessons learned over the last year touring America together, their mindset coming into recording “Heavy as Lead,” and why Waynesville has become a second home every time they head below the Mason-Dixon Line.
Smoky Mountain News: You have toured almost half the country nonstop for the last year. What has that shown you about your music, philosophy and goals in music?
Sam DuPont: It’s been a beautiful, stressful, rewarding and trying experience touring the way we have. Needless to say, all the travels, struggles and rewards have made their way into our writing. This past year has been a huge catalyst for growth on a wide spectrum, ranging from musical to personal. I strongly believe in the power of intention met with hard work. I’m often blown away when I think about how all of this started just a short 18 months ago.
SMN: What was the intent coming into the new album?
Zack DuPont: It was made with the intention of keeping a natural consistency between our live show and the recording process by embracing the same spontaneity in the studio. We wanted to make a record that folks could instantly relate to after seeing us perform. On an artistic level, it is a collection of songs embodying loss, love and hope after our first year on the road. It’s a true collection of songs in which each tune is a piece of the puzzle, creating a tranquil fluidity from start to finish.
SMN: How has all the touring and recording impacted you as not only two people who work together, but also as being brothers?
ZD: Every time we jump in the car, we have a clearer understanding of what we need personally to make this perpetually mobile lifestyle sustainable. That awareness has forced us to dig deeper into our communications and in return, evolve as collaborators in music and life. As brothers, we’re tighter than ever before because of all of the shared experiences, both positive and negative on the road, on stage and in the studio. As writers, we’re focusing more on how the song will sound as a unit and that approach has influenced the arrangements to be one hundred percent in collaboration with each other. We are creating the most developed and refined material to date and it’s solely because we are feeding off of the synergy that is driving the process — it’s a true harmony.
SMN: Waynesville has become almost like a second home for The DuPont Brothers.
SD: The first time we ever played Waynesville, I was blown away by the amount of support we were shown. People from all over the town showed up and packed The Classic Wine Seller the past three times we’ve toured through North Carolina. It’s very rare to play a brand new market and have it go so well on every level.
ZD: I love Waynesville. It’s one of those gem spots on the map where we can relax and be comforted by friends and the support of the community. Richard and Kay at The Classic Wine Seller opened their space to our music with warm hearts, filling our bellies with delicious wines and food. We always know we’ll be taken care of in this beautiful mountain town. We’re really looking forward to releasing our new album at The Strand.
SMN: Why should people support live music around the corner or around the world?
SD: Live performance is a powerful means of expression and there’s a reason why it’s still so prevalent in the modern digital society. No matter how far technology advances, it will never be able to replicate the collective energy shared between the performers and an audience. Live performance is a world-renowned ritual that has survived centuries of cultural evolution.
Want to go?
Acclaimed Vermont-based acoustic duo The DuPont Brothers will be holding an album release party and intimate performance at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at The Strand at 38 Main in Waynesville.
Refreshments, snacks and craft beer will be available for purchase. Tickets are $10. The show is sponsored by The Smoky Mountain News.
1 Owner of the Sun (Americana) will perform at 8 p.m. Oct. 24 at Nantahala Brewing in Bryson City.
2 PumpkinFest will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 25 in downtown Franklin.
3 Mangas Colorado (newgrass) will play at 8 p.m. Oct. 24 at BearWaters Brewing in Waynesville.
4 Hiker Jam will be held from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 25 at The Village Green in Cashiers.
5 The Backstreet Festival will be held all day Oct. 25 in downtown Sylva.