Respecting your elders is a good rule to live by. It’s also one that can pay big dividends musically and that’s what young Nashville trio, The Accidentals, have done with the new EP “Time Out Sessions #2.” Like its predecessor, the EP features co-writes with some familiar songwriters they admire. The latest release features songs composed with Beth Nielsen Chapman, Tom Paxton, Gretchen Peters, Peter Mulvey, Maia Sharp, Gary Burr, and more.
This coming Sunday, The Accidentals bring their “Time Out” tour to the Nashville City Winery in a show that features Kim Richey, Beth Nielsen Chapman, and Maia Sharp. The show is in the big room and there are still some seats available. In the meantime, give a listen to “Eastern Standard Time” that Sav Buist wrote over Zoom with Peter Mulvey. After that, I’d backtrack and explore the delightfully fresh sound of their 2021 LP, “Vessel.”
Thank you Sav and Katie for your rich response to 11 Questions. Keep the great music coming!
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
Sav: So, funny story. I was actually born in Nashville, and Katie was born in Milwaukee, WI. We spent most of our lives in Traverse City, MI, which is where we met in our high school orchestra program, playing violin and cello, staying after school to cover Led Zeppelin and Coldplay in our “Alternative Styles for Strings” club. Shortly after, we formed a duo band and performed at coffee shops and breweries in our hometown, and within a couple years those gigs turned into great festivals and opening slots for artists like Brandi Carlile, Joan Baez, Martin Sexton, and more.
We’ve toured heavily (200+ shows a year) for the last eight years, and we decided we wanted to refocus on the songwriting and session work. The road can be grueling, and we felt like we needed a reset. We were doing a lot of string team session work for other artists (cello, violin, viola, mandolin) and we started co-writing. So, in November 2021 we decided to make the move to Nashville and build a home studio that we could work out of there. We call it Crooked Moon Studios after the photo of the moon that a patron gave us signed by four astronauts including Buzz Aldrin, and we hung it in the studio, but it refuses to hang straight.
The goal is to build our reputation as full-time engineers, writers, string arrangers, producers, and musicians.
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
Sav: My first vinyl record was Out of the Blue by ELO, which is one of my all-time favorite records. I got it from RPM Records up in Traverse City, MI. I remember when I first let the needle drop. My dad and I were gathered around the record player, watching it whir to life, with that beautiful build into the song “Turn to Stone” rising from the initial fuzz. I just bought Leo Kottke’s 1976 self-titled record from McKay’s three days ago, and I still feel a little swell of love whenever I let the needle drop.
Katie: I am a huge indie-film geek. The first record I ever bought was the soundtrack to the movie Juno on CD when I was 12 years old. I was so drawn in by the variety of stripped-down songs and wordy lyrics that I had to look up in the dictionary. Listening to it introduced me to Kimya Dawson, Sonic Youth, Belle and Sebastian, and The Kinks. A great collection. I stopped buying records for a while since we were only home between 50-100 days a year, but now that we moved to Nashville, I have a record player and just bought a copy of our friend Rett Madison’s album called Pin-Up Daddy. They’re an incredible artist based in LA and we’re trying to convince them to move to Nashville.
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
Sav: The first concert I really remember seeing is Nickel Creek at Kresge Auditorium in Interlochen, MI. It was one of their last shows for a while. I was totally obsessed with them. I was in a family band with my parents, and we probably covered eight or nine of their songs. Sara Watkins is still one of my big inspirations. As for the last live concert, well, I’m about to go watch Thao at Mercy Lounge in March, and I know it’s gonna be amazing, so I’m gonna count that in here.
Katie: Sav took me to my first music festival when we were in high school. It was on a farm in Northern Michigan. I remember Martin Sexton was headlining under a full moon, and it was so peaceful. (We got the opportunity to tour 20 dates on the west coast with him a couple years ago and it was incredible.) One of the shows we saw most recently was the string ensemble Lockeland Strings backing up a bunch of Nashville singer-songwriters at Wilburn Street Studios. It’s a recurring series so we’re hoping to go to another one!
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
Katie: There are so many deserving artists. Brandi Carlile has always been an inspiration to us, her collaboration and humility are boundless! She has a way of constantly using her voice to raise up other women. In 2019 we were in the audience for one of her panels at Americanafest while she was in the process of producing Tanya Tucker’s album. It inspired us to cover 20 of our favorite female artists for our YouTube series called Play Your Paragon.
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
Sav: Don’t judge me, but I’m just not a pizza person. A 48-hour food poisoning incident while traveling from the UK back to the United States ruined it for me. But Dino’s is great! Coffee on the other hand is easy enough – typically when we first meet up with someone to do a co-write, we meet up at Ugly Mug. It’s a great place for ice-breaking and the black bear latte is awesome.
Katie: I just found a new pizza place! I used to live on the east side and was addicted to Five Points Pizza’s garlic knots, but now I’m on the other side of town. On a whim my boyfriend and I ordered from Venito’s Pizzeria (connected to a gas station on Trousdale Drive), and it was fantastic. For fancy coffee beverages I go to The Well.
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
Sav: I really can’t pick a favorite cause that’s like asking me to pick my favorite rock off of a shoreline. There’s so many good ones and a lot of shore! Right now, I’d say I’ve been listening to Harvest by Neil Young, and you really can’t go wrong there.
Katie: Alabama Shakes have recorded some of my favorite albums here, Sound & Color (Sound Emporium) and Boys & Girls (The Bomb Shelter)
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
Sav: Honestly, we’re still pretty new here, so we’re open to suggestions! I’ve just been GrubHubbing Columbian food when I’m not up to cooking. Ha-ha.
Katie: Duke’s is great for a 3am sandwich.
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
Sav: Easy enough – Kim Richey, Beth Nielsen Chapman, and Maia Sharp. Wait a second! That’s exactly the kind of show we’re doing right now! Dream manifested. I would bucket list The Indigo Girls, Aimee Mann, Niko Case, and if I won the Lotto, it would be Brandi Carlile.
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
Sav: We’ve played Exit/In, Station Inn, City Winery, High Watt, The Cannery, Bluebird Cafe, 12th and Porter, Mercy Lounge, The Basement, and The 5 Spot and all of them are really great. They’re all different so it would depend on what kind of show we were hosting. For Time Out, the City Winery or the Bluebird. For the Vessel album show, the High Watt, or The Cannery. I imagine if we ever make it to the Ryman, that’ll be one of our favorites. My dad used to play piano there for Whispering Bill, so that would be special.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here.
Sav: A lot of our friends have already moved here: Billy Strings, Lindsey Lou, Rachael Davis, and Stephie James. We’re like the late comers. Now to talk Michael Dause (our drummer)! Joe Hertler, Patty Pershayla (and the Mayhaps), Sawyer Fredericks, Megan Slankard, and the Burney Sisters into coming. Mainly, I’d just like to see all of them more often. As far as a musician I’d like to run into who I don’t know personally, I’d say Neko Case! She writes such great songs.
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
Sav: We just announced a Kickstarter to make three massive projects happen this year.
We just released Time Out on March 4. We’re putting Time Out Session #1 and Session #2 into one big vinyl disc and preselling it on the Kickstarter page.
We’re also recording a 12-song, back catalog album with Liza Grossman’s Kaboom Collective, a 35-piece orchestra made up of students ages 15-25 who are some of the nation’s most talented and versatile string players and were touring the Reimagined album release with the orchestra.
Lastly, we’re making a covers album inspired by the Play Your Paragon series we posted on YouTube back in 2020 – 20 covers of our favorite songwriters. We’re looking forward to what will be our most ambitious year, so far!
On the side were co-writing the next Time Out album, scoring an indie film, backing up and touring with Kim Richey, Maia Sharp, and Beth Nielsen Chapman and producing a Pop Punk album in October and getting as much session work in as we can. It’s an exciting time to be in Nashville.
[…] 11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: The Accidentals (Sav Buist and Katie Larson) […]