Interview: Tall Heights

Photo credit: Samantha Casolari

Genres are tricky—some are offended by the use of them at all, while some believe that genre classifications are helpful touchstones for uninitiated music lovers.  This writer falls somewhere in between; in whichever camp you set up your tent, it’s important to allow space for change. Progressive folk duo Tall Heights has definitely done some changing lately, expanding their traditionally acoustic sound with their latest album, Neptune, set for release via Sony Musicworks on August 19th. “We were looking to grow our sound, in the recording realm and in our touring,” says Paul Wright. “We’d been doing the folk duo thing for a while, and we honed our skills that way. We wanted to see what would happen if we added some electronic sounds and some synth-y pads. We evolved during the recording process and got more comfortable with the experimentation. We’re ready to keep exploring.”

Wright and band co-founder Tim Harrington have been making music together for quite a while; the pair grew up together and their lives were intertwined from an early age. In 2010, they began busking at Faneuil Hall in Boston.  “It was great place to cut our teeth. We made an EP and started touring, but busking is where it all began,” recalls Wright.

Though they’ve pushed the boundaries of their “folkiness”, Wright says Tall Heights still feels a connection to the genre. “In our songwriting process and the emotional intimacy we’ve always tried to bring to our writing—that’s always been our strongest tie to folk as a genre. We don’t just write goofy love songs, we try to write about issues we care about, like global warming and the environment. When people see the acoustic guitar and the cello, ‘folk’ is an easy way to describe what they see, but I don’t think it’s the right way to describe what they’re hearing from us now. We just have to remember to engage with the crowd and keep our focus outward while we perform instead of staring at the ground and worrying about which pedals to kick on and off,” he adds with a laugh.

The band is on the road now, and you can likely see them in your neighborhoods in the very near future, with trips to both coasts and a European tour in the near future. “We’re really excited about what we’re doing,” says Wright. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to grow and change.”

Purchase Neptune:

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8/20: Schwenksville, PA @ Philadelphia Folk Festival
8/27: Hunter, NY @ Doctorow Center for the Arts
9/14: Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
9/15: Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern
9/17: Ashland, OR @ Brickroom
9/21: Los Angeles, CA @ Resident
9/29: Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
9/30: Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse Music Hall
10/5: Washington, DC @ DC9
10/6: New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
10/15: Portsmouth, NH @ Word Barn
10/20: Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom & Tavern
10/21: Chicago, IL @ Schubas
10/22: Cedar Rapids, IA @ CSPS Hall
10/23: St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
10/27: Goshen, IN @ Ignition Garage
12/16: Boston, MA @ The Sinclair
12/18: Albany, NY @ The Egg

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