During the horrible storms that tore through the Southeast last week, Hymn for Her's Lucy Tight and Wayne Waxing were on tour, dodging hail and tornados near the Georgia-Tennessee state line. This week, they're still on tour, happy to be alive and eager to play another string of shows. Even with the ups and downs of travel, touring is an endless adventure that the Philly-based husband-wife duo loves.
"We're liking where we are," says Tight. "We always say we're both trapped in the jail cell together in a good way. Sometimes we're at each other throats, but mostly it's such a luxury to roll down the highway past green pastures, rockin' tunes, and enjoying life. It's nice to have your family with you. I know a lot of bands who can't do that."
The couple travels in a 16-foot 1961 Bambi Airstream with their 4-year-old daughter and a huge black lab.
Tight says, "We've been on tour for four straight months, and we'll be on tour for another three — gigging five or six nights a week."
Swapping duties on a broom handle cigar-box guitar, a banjo, dobro, and drums (a big bass drum and a clangy hi-hat), they call their raw, edgy style of rock "stomp-grass punk-folk." That phrase sums up much of the foot-tappin' material on their recently-released album, Lucy & Wayne and The Amairican Stream, a 12-song set recorded at home inside the Airstream.
"I had a feeling that after we recorded this album inside the Airstream, the vehicle would definitely add to the nostalgia of things," Tight says. "The nostalgia of a family traveling down the highway, playing a rootsy kind of music with their dog and baby."
A two-person band set-up can sometimes come off as a gimmick, but when the two musicians create a full-band cacophony, the novelty diminishes.
"Somebody recently described us as 'Amish-meet-Hell's Angels,' and I thought that was perfect," says Tight. "It's funny: the idea of the basic country people taking care of their family with the Hell's Angels on their bikes, running free, rocking out, hair flying in the wind. I think that's a great description of our music, too. We love it all."
Hymn for Her pull it off with sincerity, skill, and wit, jamming hard on blues-based rhythms and belting out country-style harmonies. Music fans old enough to remember such hickish blues-rock duos as Georgia's Chickasaw Mudd Puppies, N.C.'s Flat Duo Jets, or Wisconsin's Timbuk 3 might find some cool similarities. Tight and Waxing emphasize the nasty-tone slide of the cigar-box guitar through a vintage amplifier quite effectively, which helps set them apart from the typical guitar 'n' drums two-piece in the rock world.
"It definitely was a natural progression," Tight says. "When Wayne and I started playing together, we were a very folky duo with ukulele, acoustic guitar, and banjo. We shared one mic, facing each other, and we sang old love songs. Then we took the cigar box guitar out of the closet and played it one night. The minute we used it onstage, people started dancing. We decided to work up a set with it. Then we went on tour with it. It unfolded like origami."