Callahan, FL’s Trinity River Band has been extremely busy this past year. Next week, their latest album, Heartstrings will be released on Orange Blossom Records, their third release in a little over a year. 2014’s Better Than Blue proved a breakthrough album for the band, with title track receiving extensive radio airplay, reaching the Top Ten on Bluegrass Today’s Radio Airplay chart. They are hoping that Heartstrings will further add to the band’s emergence as a fresh voice in today’s bluegrass music scene.
I had the opportunity to chat with Sarah Harris, the family band’s de facto frontwoman, about the new album, available Tuesday, May 12th.
Daniel Mullins (DM): What do you think separates Heartstrings from the other albums in the Trinity River Band (TRB) canon?
Sarah Harris (SH):Heartstrings is the culmination of all of our different musical backgrounds and influences. This is the truest representation of who we are, more so than any other album we’ve ever done.
DM: You recorded this album at National Media Services. What was that experience like, and how was it different than your other albums?
SH: In the past, we’ve done all of our own recording and production at our home studio. We were approached last year by NMS to come into their studio and have them produce a Christmas album with us. After having worked so closely with Will Shenk (our amazing engineer) and everyone at NMS, we knew we wanted to do our next album with them. It was such a treasured experience, and it is a blessing to have the NMS family apart of ours.
DM: Heartstrings features such a wide variety of material. How did you gather so many songs from so many different sources?
SH: As I have mentioned before, individually, we have diverse musical backgrounds. We are music lovers, period. And we love variety! So, our sound spans several different genres- bluegrass, country, gospel, folk, Celtic, blues, and swing- all done in our own unique acoustic style. We write a lot of our own music, and we are thankful to have so many incredible, award-winning songwriters as friends.
DM: This album features some special guests. What was it like getting to record with Marty Raybon?
SH: First of all, Marty is an amazing singer and performer and a wonderful, Godly man. We’re blessed to call him our friend. I told Marty years back that it was a dream of mine to sing with him one day. Oh, and did I mention he has a remarkable memory? Because he remembered that conversation and asked me about it every single time I saw him! “When are we gonna sing together?” or “do you have us a good song yet?” The time was finally right when Brink Brinkman and Dale Pyatt sent us Fences. We fell in love with the song as soon as we heard it, and I knew just who I HAD to sing it with!
DM: Mark Johnson provides some of his signature “clawgrass” banjo on this record as well. What was it like working with Mark?
SH: We met Mark in the fall of 2014 at the Withlacoochee Bluegrass Festival. He and Emory Lester were there performing the same day we were. We hit it off so well and instantly felt like lifelong friends. We all have such a respect for Mark’s musicianship and creativity, but it was especially exciting for Josh to watch and learn from one of his banjo heroes! Mark’s “clawgrass” style of playing added the perfect touches to the folky Tell Me Darlin’.
DM: What are some of your favorite moments and songs on Heartstrings?
SH: Honestly, it is too difficult for us to pick our personal favorites from Heartstrings. We love each one for different reasons and have a strong connection with every song. We had a blast in the studio, and we put some of our favorite and silly moments in our “Making of Heartstrings” video! The video is only available with the enhanced version of the CD. Josh did almost all of the videotaping and put the entire 11 minute video together himself!
DM: What do you hope folks learn about TRB by listening to Heartstrings?
SH: We hope that when people hear this album they immediately know that we are a family who loves God, a family who loves each other, and a family who loves making music together!