Artist: Red Tail Ring
Red Tail Ring is the musical brainchild of two old-time-minded Michiganders – Michael Beauchamp and Laurel Premo. The collaboration blends the loving attention of revivalist fervor with the playful creativity of starting from scratch. Whether rendering a traditional tune or one of their many original compositions, the duo infuses each song with musical imagination, haunting harmonies and instrumental artistry on fiddle, banjo, mandolin, jawharp, and plain-old foot stomping. “We love pushing the boundaries of what a traditional song can be,” says Beauchamp. “It informs how we write our original songs. There’s a real energy exchange between the old and the new.”
Red Tail Ring’s recent project, a 7″ vinyl release with fellow Michiganders Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys entitled The New Roots Exchange Vol. I (Earthwork Music, 2014), honors this two-way connection from its recording process to the song selection. Recorded in one take around two microphones – a recording and performance style harkening back to the early 20th century – the collection features traded solos and rich harmonies on traditional songs “Sugar Hill” and “The Wind and Rain” played as a large group on side A, while side B spotlights the individual groups covering each others’ songs in a playful artistic exchange. “We discovered so many of our favorite albums by listening to vinyl,” explains Premo, “so we were excited to add TNE to that history.”
Red Tail Ring’s third full-length album, The Heart’s Swift Foot (Earthwork Music, 2013), was met with glowing reviews from Americana and roots music authorities. No Depression writes ” new music from Red Tail Ring is gorgeous,” and The UTNE Reader describes the album as containing”fierce, masterful fingerpicking and poignant lyrical narratives.” In addition to being featured on American Songwriter Magazine.com , The Heart’s Swift Foot reached #6 on the FOLKDJ chart for June 2013. The new album presents 10 original songs with two acoustic standards that aim to stretch the confines of what two people can create sonically.
Since the release of their 2011 debut double-album, Red Tail Ring has remained busy, playing as many as 130 shows a year, with tours to both U.S. coasts and performances as cultural ambassadors through the American Embassy in Denmark – “exporting some Midwest sounds,” as Premo puts it.
For Premo and Beauchamp, Red Tail Ring encircles their present and future – a place where expansion and creativity meet tradition, and thrive.