SPOTLIGHT: Rainbow Girls on Finding a More Personal Perspective for ‘Bedroom Lobby’ [VIDEO]
Rainbow Girls, from left, Erin Chapin, Vanessa May, and Caitlin Gowdey (photo by Brittany Powers)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rainbow Girls are No Depression’s Spotlight band for December 2023. Learn more about this trio and their new album, Welcome to Whatever, in our interview, and look for more all month long.
Rainbow Girls have a real way with cover songs. Their video of a performance of “Down Home Girl,” based on Old Crow Medicine Show’s version, went viral in 2018, and they released that song on a whole album of covers, Give the People What They Want, the following year. Many of the California trio’s weekly social media videos find them performing covers of songs from across genres.
But the real heart of the band is in their intensely personal original songs, nine of which are featured on their new album, Welcome to Whatever. Drawn from personal experiences and complicated feelings, these songs shine with authenticity and don’t hold back from hard truths.
The truth can be hard to see, though, while a songwriter is living inside it. So Rainbow Girls Erin Chapin, Caitlin Gowdey, and Vanessa May have learned to seek other perspectives. For “Meet You at the Gate,” a song from beyond a breakup, Gowdey says she was inspired by something that happened to her, “but I wrote the song from the perspective of the other person in the story.”
And that did the trick for “Bedroom Lobby” as well. When Chapin felt stuck in creating the song, she tried looking at it a different way, somehow making a very personal song even more resonant.
“This one is a whole relationship wrapped up in four minutes,” she says. “I was going through a phase in my life where I didn’t want to get attached, but met this incredible person who was impossible not to fall for. And I fell hard. But relationships are a two-way street, and they can’t work out just because one person decides they’re ready. And I was kicked to the curb.
“By the time we were in the studio, though, it was a couple years later and I was happily in love and in a new relationship. I tried tracking this song a couple times and was having trouble sinking into the sadness that really makes ‘Bedroom Lobby.’ All the parts and notes were correct, but the song didn’t sound right. I paused and pulled out an old photo of my parents from before their split, took a moment to embody my mom, and sang it from her perspective, to my father. I was on the verge of tears the entire time. We knew that was the take when we all listened back and everyone was in tears.”
Watch Rainbow Girls perform “Bedroom Lobby” for No Depression readers in this video: