Hometown: Oxford, Ala.
Album: Limits of the Sky
Why They're Worth Watching: Raised on praise-and-worship hymns and classic-rock vinyl, The Bridges deliver organic pop bliss devoid of saccharine filler. Their debut, Limits of the Sky, perfectly captures the majestic folk harmonies?of its three female vocalists with retro production flourishes from Matthew Sweet. The Bridges are poised to introduce the digital generation to the forgotten analog beauty?of ’70s-era album rock.
For Fans Of: Eisley, Fleetwood Mac, the beach
It’s hard to imagine another band with members as close as the musicians in folk-rock collective The Bridges.The group—consisting of three sisters, one brother and one cousin—has lived under the same roof in Oxford, Ala., since lead singer Brittany Painter moved in with her Byrd family bandmates in 2002. Six years and one magnificent debut album later, the quintet is still spending every conceivable moment in each other’s company. How a tour van full of siblings made its way from an extended family reunion to a signed contract with Verve Forecast is a tale as charmingly surreal as the pop gems the group has spent the last year polishing.
Listening to The Bridges—aged 18 to 24—narrate their life story is like experiencing a Ken Burns documentary with five narrators all riding an intense sugar high. As one would expect from a group of people who have breathed the same air for the better part of a decade, they not only finish each other’s sentences, but can also divide a grammatical clause between five different voices. Attributing a single remark to one sibling is nearly impossible. As they make perfectly clear, Natalie (piano and guitar), Stacey (guitar), Isaaca (bass), Jeremy (drums) and Brittany have been living the same life in pursuit of one goal and loving every moment of it. Even after a four-hour photo shoot in New York City’s Meat Packing District, The Bridges glow with photogenic charm and energy. As Brittany explains with a grin, it all started in a closet full of Barbie dolls and bridesmaid gowns.
“We just always had a connection ever since we were kids. We were all best friends: me, Natalie and Stacey. And then we started putting on plays…” The most reticent of the group, Brittany pauses bashfully mid-sentence. Natalie and Stacey, crackling with nostalgic glee, continue the anecdote on cue.
“...My grandma lives in this tiny town called Tarboro, N.C., and that’s where we would all get together over the holidays. Her back room is a closet full of all of our aunts’ bridesmaids’ dresses from all of these weddings. We’d turn up this compilation CD of ’50s and ’60s rock ’n’ roll from The Beach Boys, The Everly Brothers, Patsy Cline and Neil Sedaka, and we would get up on the furniture and sing. We would have Barbie dolls sitting on lampshades—they were our practice audience. Our parents never told us, ‘This is kind of strange, guys.’”
The most unbelievable fact from this bit of reminiscing is that the Byrd sisters and their cousin would have to lip synch at all. Limits of the Sky, released June 10, is a confection of natural talent and inspired songcraft. Painter’s melodies careen with classic hooks on “One Way” and “Say The Least,” pushed by a diaphragm that could bend iron. Harmonizing with Stacey and Natalie, The Bridges construct some of the most addictive folk-pop revelry since Joni Mitchell and Fleetwood Mac. Produced by power-pop luminary Matthew Sweet, Limits is saturated with vinyl influences that existed decades before The Bridges’ oldest member sang an interval. For the Byrds and their cousin, forging a sound inspired by classic ’60s and ’70s pop isn’t so much a postmodern gimmick as a genuine product of their youth.
"This was some of the first music that we ever really listened to,” explains Jeremy, the second youngest at 19. “Our parents would show us records or songs that they just really, really loved. That’s what we think music really is.”
“Now that it’s 30 years later, you know the stories of those bands so it’s all the more sentimental,” Stacey elaborates. “When we saw a live DVD of Fleetwood Mac, we all cried. We were infatuated with their lives and their story. After everything they went through, they were still on stage playing together.”
For a group that went from playing closets full of stuffed animals to music halls packed with A&R reps, The Bridges know that music is only as passionate as the memories and bonds between its makers.
The Bridges on MySpace
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