Dirty Dozen: The Harmaleighs

The Harmaleighs craft honest passionate and poetic songs cut from a pastiche of indie-folk, pop and Americana and released the Hiraeth EP on May 5. The Nashville duo released the empowering Americana anthem, “Lady Brain”, where delicate electric guitars entwine with hypnotic and heavenly vocals before crashing into an unforgettable refrain. And the inspiration for the track is as ridiculous as the title implies.

Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?
The Harmaleighs are comprised of Haley Grant and Kaylee Jasperson. We met in college in Nashville, Tennessee and became friends then fell in love. Shortly after that we found common ground on our musical influences and started making music together. Over the past few years we’ve been touring our old record and working hard to write and record our newest record ‘HIRAETH’.

How would you describe your music?
We’d like to coin it as Americana-pop.

What are you currently promoting?
Our record HIRAETH, coming out May 5th! ‘Hiraeth’ is a word we stumbled upon when we were on the road. It’s a Welsh word meaning ‘A longing for a home that never was, or no longer exists, that you can no longer return to’. We really resonated with this word when we were living in our van without actual roots. When we would come back ‘home’ to Nashville, it didn’t feel like home. We had expected it to feel the same as it did before we left for tour but that simply wasn’t the case.

Can you tell us a little bit about your influence?
We’ve both been heavily influenced by Lucius, Norah Jones, Brandi Carlile, Katie Herzig, and Feist. All of these ladies have played a crucial role in our development. Especially our songwriting.

Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one thing that might define you?
Kaylee- I’d have to say that ‘Lady Brain’ is a standout song for me. It tackles sexism that we’ve experienced. I haven’t noticed it so much as a singer, but as a bass player hearing comments like “wow I didn’t know girls could play bass” have really frustrated me. So having a song like this that confronts an issue in a sarcastic matter has been important to me.
Haley- I think that ‘birds of a feather’ changed the way that I write songs. That was one of the first songs I wrote/re wrote 5-8 times. It is also the first song I wrote without an instrument. My new favorite thing to do is write songs while I’m driving. Without my guitar abilities hindering me, I find myself able to write more interesting melodies which leads to better lyrics.

What are you currently listening to?
Kaylee- The Lumineers “Cleopatra” and Lianne La Havas “Blood”
Haley- Lucius “Wilderwoman” The Lumineers “Cleopatra” Maggie Rogers “Now that the light is fading”

And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?
Both of us wouldn’t be who we are now if it wasn’t for Brandi Carlile’s – “Give up the Ghost” record

What are your hopes for your future career?
I think we are both hoping to create music/art that makes people feel something. When I watch Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ music video or listen to ‘Gone Insane’ by Lucius, I am changed afterwards each time. They are both so powerful and unique. I want to be able to provide that feeling for others.

If money were no object what would be your dream project?
Kaylee- I would put a super group together consisting of us, Norah Jones, Grace Potter, and Stevie Nicks with David Byrne producing the record.

Haley- After fan-girling for 100 years, I’d love to co write a concept album with Sia.

What’s the best thing about being a musician?
Connecting with a group of people that will never all be together again at one moment in time. Each show has its own energy and presence. Even if you play the same venue again, it will be completely different then your prior experience.

And the worst?
Being gone from home for so long.

Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK?
We have a pug named Gus and he is the best.

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show - The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session - playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.