Mike Mains & The Branches

with Motherfolk and Stephie James

Known for their catchy, free-associating, indie pop-rock melodies, Mike Mains & The Branches invites diverse comparisons to acts such as Foster The People, Young the Giant, The Killers, and Arcade Fire—each comparison act a genuine facet of the band’s energetic and often soul-searching music.
Mike Mains & The Branches first entered the national music scene with the release of their debut album Home, released in 2012. While touring Home and growing a loyal following opening shows for Relient K and Hellogoodbye, founding members Mike and Shannon fell in love, married, and in doing so, minted the focal experience of the band’s subsequent music and lyrics; not just love but the swirling highs and bruising challenges of life together.
The band began writing their second album aptly titled Calm Down, Everything Is Fine, which they crowdfunded without the support of a record label, in 2013. As the album progressed, the band spent time with Matt Hoopes, of Relient K, who produced the finished album, and with Zac Farro of Paramore, who played drums. The band’s star was rising.
But the art which the band selected for their second album cover, featuring kids tiptoeing to the edge of a diving board, cautiously eyeing the lake water beneath them, somehow felt like a more fitting summary of their position in the industry as they took their second album into the studio. As a band, they were perched on the edge of a much-anticipated, sophomore album, poised for an onrush of whatever would come next.
What was next was grueling. The band spent months of writing and recording and re-writing and re-recording the album, poring over an album they knew needed to make their fans proud. It wasn’t until they the finished Calm Down, Everything Is Fine and released the album in 2014, that they felt they had recovered from their plunge into the unknown waters of the so-called lake. The album hit the top 20 ranks on Billboard’s New Artist Albums Chart.
They’ve been on the road near-constantly since then, playing hundreds of shows, growing a family of loyal fans endeared to Mike’s introspective lyrics and spry stage energy, side lit by Shannon’s keyboards and assisting vocals, with a rotation of touring members by their side.
Their music is both a byproduct of and laboratory for their marriage. It’s a place Mike and Shannon sort out the pain and the memories of their lives before “I Do”, in addition to naming the new experiences they increasingly share together. “We went through a hard time in our marriage recently,” said Mike of the themes on their forthcoming album. “But we’re coming through. We hope the album conveys our belief that the door to love and hope is always open.”
In a contemporary independent music scene inundated with up and coming bands, it takes a unique outfit to break through that noise. A truly exceptional group must exhibit authenticity, raw talent, and electrifying chemistry. This, of course, means there are very few of them. Motherfolk, a band that started in 2013, is certainly one of those most unique and dynamic acts.
Motherfolk began as a collaborative effort between Nathan Dickerson and Bobby Paver, two college friends with a pechant for writing songs with one another. In the first year of the project, the two songwriters made frequent trips to Nashville to record their first endeavor. In 2014, their eponymous debut album showcased the duo’s musical prowess through a genre-bending collection of elegantly crafted songs.
Since then, Karlie Dickerson, Clayton Allender, Joel Call, and Ethan Wescott have joined Motherfolk’s ranks, and the band has made a name for themselves touring all across the nation. The outfit’s high-energy live performaces have won over audiences from coast to coast, and their infectious musical persona has become one of the most exciting rising success stories in the indie scene.
In 2016, Motherfolk released their highly anticipated sophmore effort, ‘Fold’. As the sextet embarks into 2017, they’re aiming to continue their extensive touring schedule. Motherfolk’s best days are ahead of them, and they’re inviting all of their fans along for the ride.
“Stephie James resurrects the heart-stirring soul of her legacy artists that span the roots gamut. Summoning the melancholy melodies of Roy Orbison and the vigorous spirit of Billie Holiday, she makes good on delivering an EP that is every bit as riveting as the on-stage displays that she has gifted the Nashville scene with for years. Somewhere in-between elements of country, soul, and jazz is a dedication to progressive rock’n’roll, proving James’ artistic know-how beside a staunch passion for delivering sincere messages through robust hooks.” – Jonathan Frahm (No Depression, Pop Matters)

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