Twas Now releases Flesh and Bone and “Family Roots” video
For anyone who has lived in Kitchener, ON since the 1980s, it’s a safe bet they know the enigmatic graffiti adorning a prominent railroad bridge that simply states, “Twas Now.” No one really knows who put it there or what it means, but for the duo of Mike and Diana Erb, they’ve found a message within it that has come to embody their approach to making music.
In adopting the name Twas Now, the Erbs felt it encompassed their vision of combining the oldest forms of folk and country music with modern lyrics and attitude. They proved definitively how capable they are at mining the past with their 2018 Canadian Folk Music Award-nominated debut album Old Fashioned Way, which featured songs by the Carter Family, the Louvin Brothers, Hank Williams and others. Now with their sophomore effort Flesh and Bone, the pair puts its own songwriting talents on display while musically adhering to roots traditions.
Teaming again with producer John “Beetle” Bailey, whose resume includes work with Serena Ryder, Alex Cuba and Molly Johnson, the Erbs laid down the 11 songs on Flesh and Bone in the relaxed atmosphere of their family cottage, beginning with just their voices and acoustic guitars. Mike began the overdubbing process afterward, which was finished with the help of renowned local players such as fiddler Shane Guse, upright bassist Mark McIntyre, and pedal steel guitarist Steve Wood. In many ways, the Erbs believe Flesh and Bone is the culmination of everything they’ve learned on their own about music to this point, and also the first step on the path toward an entirely new level of creativity.
“We started off by playing traditional folk and country tunes that had two-part harmony carrying most of the song,” Mike said. “Our original music has grown from there, but we still draw from artists like the Carter Family. In fact, we couldn’t help including one of their songs on this record [‘Poor Orphan Child’]. Mother Maybelle’s guitar technique remains the foundation on which we base a lot of our writing.”
Diana added, “At the same time, we’ve both been inspired a lot recently by Margo Price and Brandi Carlile. Their albums sound amazing, both from a performance and production standpoint, but more importantly, they are artists with fierce determination to show the world that women do belong at the top of the music chain.”
You can hear that blending of the past and present on the first single from Flesh and Bone, “Family Roots,” premiering here exclusively. Although the album is indeed called Flesh and Bone, it’s sure to capture a lot of hearts and minds. Find out more at twasnowmusic.com or twasnowmusic.bandcamp.com.