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Summer Music Guide: Fellow Pynins

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A consummate curator of quality, Ashland Folk Collective presents homegrown Fellow Pynins on June 11, just before they launch on their latest tour. Making a (tiny) house home in southern Oregon, Dani Aubert and partner Ian George are fittingly a favorite on NPR’s Tiny Desk sessions.

RVM: During the pandemic, you moved from Portland to Minneapolis and then to southern Oregon.  What brought you here? 

Dani Aubert: We actually moved to Ashland in 2011!  We loved this sweet valley and I went to AIM for massage school. I ended up shifting to making music a profession instead, and never looked back. We started a six piece folk band called Patchy Sanders that had a great go at it. To make things simpler, we decided to break down to two duos. Fellow Pynins and Hollis Peach is what came from that split, two wonderful folk duos.

Ian and I have been touring all over the UK, Ireland and the US ever since. We moved to Minneapolis after we had our second child to be closer to family. Then when the pandemic hit, we moved back to our sweet nook of Ashland to build a tiny house and be with our old friends here in the valley. We also planted a huge garden and dug deep into music making.

RVM: In December, you recorded your second album.  How did the setting play into the sound?  I understand that you live in an off-grid tiny house, where the songs were recorded.  But at the same time, you are living in such an expansive environment. It seems like a wonderful juxtaposition—and one potentially rich with comparisons.

DA: Yes, tiny house living is small! We crafted most of the songs here at our home or on our front porch. We recorded in a straw-bale studio on the same property where we have our tiny houses parked. Our friend Dan Sherrill (who is in Hollis Peach, and just put out a solo banjo record) recorded the album over five days and nights in the studio.

This album, Lady Mondegreen, is an album of traditional songs. We chose to craft and rework some of our favorite traditional songs as an ode to our own songwriting that is very inspired and influenced by the music of the British Isles and Ireland. We collected most of the songs we recorded during our travels in those countries. Each song holds a bit of the environment in which it was first heard and then later crafted.

RVM: You play a show in Ashland on June 11, and then are hitting the road again. What do you most enjoy about being on tour? What do you most miss about home when gone?

DA: YES! We are playing at The Story on June 11. We chose this venue so that we could present the music in a very intimate listening oriented space. We thrive when we are able to interact with the audience!

As for touring, we love to perform and connect with people. We love the feeling that we get from being in a room full of people that are present with us.  Meeting new people and getting to hear the stories of their lives, the town lore and history make touring such a rich experience.  The balance of a solid home life and touring is wonderful. Of course, we miss our comforts of home when we are on the road, but they are more appreciated when you know the alternative!

7 pm, Saturday, June 11, The Story, B Street, Ashland, $25.

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