With their sweet sounds fused with Rockabilly, Americana, Folk and Bluegrass all mixed with a hint good ol’ Southern humor, it is no wonder that Pea Pickin’ Hearts are one of the best-kept secrets in the indie world. Based out of Gatlinburg, Tennessee this husband and wife band, Rachel Gibson and Jon Ives, harmonize as if they were a match made in music heaven. Their main focus in song writing is simple, good old fashion story telling fused with good old fashion southern humor. Rachel’s vocals seem to be a mixture of Wynonna Judd, Patsy Cline and Stevie Nicks, while Jon’s vocals and harmonies are evocative of Denny Doherty of the Mamas and Papas.
Rachel with her punk-rock pixie hair and Rockabilly style and Jon with his classic clean looks seem like the furthest thing from your a-typical Americana/Bluegrass band. Their music is just as whimsical with a mixture from all things Country and Rockabilly that were born straight out of the Appalachian Mountains. Listening to albums such as “Last Words” and “Creekwood Crow”, you cannot help but smile at the stories that are being told within the lyrics, and you will definitely be tapping your foot right along with the music. With such whimsical songs like “Ebay” where a fed up mama sells her badly behaved son on Ebay to the sweet love song of “Tennessee Mockingbird” about seeing and hearing your love for another repeating back to you–as if from a mockingbird, this duo makes you want to truly live the phase “Live, Laugh, Love” completely out loud!
I was able to sit down with the band via Facebook and ask them some questions about their music.
Q: How would you describe your music?
Rachel: “Our stories & those of the people we meet along the journey, from family members to strangers, inform our work. Humanity. It is about understanding the gray, muddy middle-ground that is different for everyone & telling THAT story.”
Jon: “And, the aesthetic or genre of music on which the song develops is based on the content of those stories. A folk tune is great for sharing quiet understanding or couching the hard-to-handle in comfort. Western swing, Olde thyme & rockabilly really creep into our happiest stories, our frantic and anxious ones too.”
Rachel: “But all the content is driven by the stories. Every word, every note.”
Q: How did you come by your band name?
Rachel: “Our name is derived from the Tennessee Ernie Ford saying: “Bless your pea pickin’ heart”, a euphemism for calling someone simple which is what our footprint is… simple, authentic, personal with a dose of humor and maybe a little streak of wicked humor. Euphemisms are ubiquitously Southern, and it just felt right. We consider it a tribute to our Tennessee home.”
Q: Do you have any music coming out this year?
Jon: “We have been working on songs that contemplate the notion of ‘home’. While contemplating a short move this year & reflecting on the near loss of our home in the #Gatlinburg wildfires, we’ve come to realize that home says a lot about your wants, your loves, your needs, your dreams.”
Rachel: “In addition, our imagination so have been captured by a couple of parks in our National Park System, Gettysburg & Big Bend, and we hope for an opportunity to write on site in these parks in 2017. So, we could end up with two or three very different releases between 2017-18.”
Q: What are your favorite songs to perform and why?
Jon: “My favorites from our “Last Words” CD are the title-track, Last Words, & the first single, “Loonies Bird”. I am proud of them both as themes of individuality & the struggle to make your own way in the world. But musically, they represent a turn in our style that has been years coming. But honestly, fulfilling the inevitable request to play ‘Crazy’ (written by Willie Nelson & popularly sliced by Patsy Cline) is always a show height. Rachel belts a mean Patsy & the guitar parts are so much fun for me.”
Rachel: ” ‘Cut A Rug’ from ‘Last Words’ is so personal for me, but it is also a toe-tapper. I like to see people give in to joy. So, I love to make them dance –from a slow sway to Etta James to full-on rockabilly boogie.”
Q: If you couldn’t play music what would you be doing?
Jon: “Farming & art. We are dedicated to sustainable, locally-sourced food & sharing how to live closer to the earth in a modern way — no tie dye required, ha.”
Rachel: “And we are dedicated to the visual arts, theatre, and creative output. If we couldn’t sing it, we’d plant it, sculpt it, paint it, photograph it or write about it. Creativity expanded, not contracted.”
Pea Pickin’ Hearts are currently on tour. And, you can listen to them on Spotify, Soundcloud, Reverbnation, and on their website, Pea Pickin’ Hearts.