Putting the alt. in alt.country
What is it that separates alt.country from its unpunctuated counterpart? Is "alt." just something new artists attach to their brand of country to keep people from picturing Toby Keith? For the Everybodyfields' Jill Andrews, the alt. is the rough edges.
"Our music has a dark side to it," the co-singer/songwriter says. "It's not like the music you hear on the country radio stations because it's less polished."
The Everybodyfields' music has a pain brewed on the fringes of acceptance. The heartbreak doesn't come from a cheating sweetheart; it's generated by the last gasps of a crushed soul. "We've had a lot of emotional distress and confidence problems," Andrews admits. "I don't think it's that alt.country lends itself to heartache and sadness, it's that heartache and sadness lend themselves to alt.country."
From talking to her, one wouldn't think Andrews was eternally burdened by life's struggles, and that's largely because she isn't. "I've had a good life," Andrews explains. "I don't know why what we write about is so sad, but it's just what comes out."
While the band's members aren't exactly rays of sunshine, they don't rule out the possibility of a brighter tomorrow. The title of the five-piece's latest shadowy, pedal steel-saturated LP Nothing is Okay isn't as cynical as it seems. "It has a double meaning," Andrews says. "It means everything is screwed, but it also means having nothing can be OK."
For Andrews, the defining piece of the Everybodyfields is the dueling vocals created by the contrasting styles of herself and fellow singer/songwriter Sam Quinn. Andrews' voice has a sweet, soothing quality, which stands in staunch opposition to Quinn's grizzled and harsh delivery. "My voice developed more in the church choir and his developed more by just listening to records," Andrews says. "When we got together, it was like magic. It just felt right.”
The Everybodyfields will make its very first appearance in Albuquerque on Friday, Feb. 29, at Puccini's Golden West Saloon with The Section Quartet. The 21-plus show starts at 7 p.m. Feel the pain at www.theeverybodyfields.com.