Since they got their start as street performers playing for tips from passers-by on the Venice Beach boardwalk, California-based duo Skin & Bones have built their sound from the ground up. They gained a following by playing wherever they could find an audience - dive bars, house parties, barns, or on the sidewalk outside of big touring shows that came through town.
No matter the setting, listeners are drawn in by the "spirited interplay" (Relix) between violinist Peter Blackwelder and guitarist Taylor Borsuk, whose deep, twangy, booming voice stands at the forefront of the songs on their debut full-length album 'Shadowboxing,' out now.
As Wide Open Country put it in a recent feature on the band, the two musicians share "an uncanny chemistry and balance that bobs and weaves," creating "a dynamic sonic palette where every bit of instrumentation feels necessary."
Spotify has taken notice too, highlighting songs from the album as some of the best new "sounds and scenes in indie folk and roots music" and featuring the band in playlists with over 3 million folllowers - from curated genres like "Infinite Indie Folk," "Grass Roots" and "Fresh Folk" to themed mood playlists like "Stay Wild" and "Swagger."
The UK-based blog For Folk's Sake praised the new album for its "lively instrumentation," along with Borsuk's creative instinct for telling "heartfelt stories" through "carefully delivered" songwriting.
"I like to write about all kinds of things: the guy working behind the liquor store counter, an old couple at a diner, and a car that won’t stop breaking down," says Borsuk, explaining the inspiration behind many of the album’s songs. "I like to find deeper meanings in what could be seen as mundane."
Recorded at The Bomb Shelter studio in Nashville, 'Shadowboxing' marks the young band's debut full length record, and their first collaboration with producer Jon Estes (Kesha/Steelism/John Paul White) and engineer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes/Langhorne Slim/Hurray for the Riff Raff).
"They did a great job of bringing the best out of the songs. The sound has gotten more mature, and I think this record has a lot more weight to it," says Borsuk. "We made the decision to record to analog, mainly because we love how human it is, with all of its raw imperfections and warmth. We really got to feel the energy and feed off of each other. I hope that people can feel it when they listen to the record."