"We don't like any of the same things, or any of the same bands," Alexandrea Watson admits wryly. In the context of an up-and-coming band, this isn't an uncommon scenario. Although an end goal of harmony and memorable songs may be in sight, the sum of the parts hoping to get there can be on quite divergent paths. But it's whole other beast when we're talking about spouses, as is the case with Chicago Americana duo Rivals of the Peacemaker.
Alexandrea is referring to her working relationship with fellow singer/songwriter and husband Billy Watson, whom she met after attending Columbia College. Her visual arts style - combining text and images ("Not in the sense of typography. More stories, words, poems," Alexandrea explains) eventually led to illustration and screen printing, as well as picking up guitar (she had played piano since childhood), but she wasn't showing her songs to anyone. Billy, playing in bands of his own, and Alexandrea met eventually, and began collaborating. Luckily, despite the aforementioned differences in taste, "for some reason, we like what we make together," Alexandrea mentions.
Rivals thankfully can hold court in both approaches that have served country-tinged folk and Americana well over the past 100-plus years: Slimmed down to a duo, they create a stark, intimate mesh of top-notch songwriting and evocative vocals; With a backing band - made up of guitarist Anthony Rubino, drummer Derek Crawford and Jeff O'Connor on bass - they can craft soaring ballads and fiery, ramshackle stompers. The lush, should-be hit "The Day After the Rapture," gives an image of remorse for not quitting a relationship earlier than the apocalypse, something that touches on country's always-present sadness and humor, while "Not Dead Yet" puts the pedal to the floor with Crawford's furious gallop and Billy's good-time hollers. Hairs stand on end, as the Watsons hold the tender, but strident chorus of "Break My Heart" out for good measure. In an industry where you're either identified as a gruff, DIY never-been or a glammed-up, Hollywood cowgirl, this is a pair with canyon-wide range who could fit on massive, straight-up country tours, alt-folk rave-ups or anywhere in between.
To interview the band, preview the show or come review the band's set, don't hesitate to reach me: firstname.lastname@example.org
RIVALS OF THE PEACEMAKER ONLINE
facebook // bandcamp // twitter
STREAM: Rivals of the Peacemaker EP (2012)
WATCH: "The Day After the Rapture" music video (2012)
HAVE PLAYED WITH: Ha Ha Tonka, Local H, Scott Lucas & The Married Men, Edwin McCain
RIYL: Gillian Welch; Lucinda Williams; Heartless Bastards; Kathleen Edward
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