Dirty Dozen: Tall Heights

Getting there is half the fun, as the old saying goes, but the journey is really the whole point for Boston progressive-folk duo Tall Heights. Singer/guitarist Tim Harrington and singer/cellist Paul Wright know where they’ve been, and where they want to go. As for the route, well, “we’re just mapping it out as we take it, day by day,” says Harrington. They’ve reached their biggest junction so far — Neptune is Tall Heights’ first album for Sony Music Masterworks, and the latest step in the ongoing evolution of their sound and style.

Tell us about yourselves and what you do?
I’m Tim, I play guitar and sing in Tall Heights. We’re a duo at heart, and a trio most of the time when we’re touring. My partner in crime is Paul, he’s a cellist and a singer. We write equally and collaboratively.

How did you get together/start out?
We went to the same grade school and my older brother, Ryan, and Paul found themselves in the same first grade class. Ryan and Paul became close, our families became close, and much, much later, Paul and I started singing together, and then writing together. Then one summer we busked in Boston’s Faneuil Hall for 100 days straight to fund the first Tall Heights recording.

What is your current release/future release?
We’ll be releasing our album Neptune here in the UK and Europe this spring.

What is the best part of being in a band/singer/song writer?
I personally love being a songwriter because it gives me an amazing clarity of purpose that I sometimes see people in more typical occupations struggling to grasp. Sure this life endeavor I’m on brings me a shit load of anxiety, self doubt, and uncertainty — truth is, I spend a staggering amount of my day thinking about how I completely suck in every way — but it’s never a big, existential freakout. Instead my demons have less to do with what I’m doing and more to do with how I’m doing it. Whenever I zoom out from my day-to-day and wake up to what I’ve done with every minute of my twenties and what I intend to do into my thirties I know in my gut it’s something that is meaningful and lasting, or at least honest. I like that feeling.

What is your most significant moment yet?
I sang one of our songs to my grandmother on her death bed. I think she really liked it. I left from there and drove to Vermont so we could record Neptune. She died while we were in the studio. We were really close, and I think her spirit came with me into those recording sessions. I’ll never forget playing her songs in those last days together.

What are your biggest musical influences?

When we were making this album, I think in some ways we were just trying to remake Beach Boys “Pet Sounds.” Of course we didn’t, not even close. We also love Lucius, Gregory Alan Isakov, Porches, Tame Impala, and of course our very dear and lesser known friends Pavo Pavo, Darlingside, & The Ballroom Thieves.

What venue/gig do you most want to play?
I don’t care where I am, I just like it standing room only, sold out, locked in, and electric. 1000 people there to really roll up their sleeves and dig in on a night with us, emotionally and otherwise.

What is your best/favourite song you have written?
I think the single “Spirit Cold” was a bit of a revelation for us. It sort of connected the dots between where we were and where we wanted to go. I’m not sure if it’s our best, but it was really fun for us to write and it certainly opened up doors for us in the states.

What is your favourite album of this year?
Well, let’s apply the question to 2016 since it’s only January 2017 right now. I’ll give two: one by our dear friend and producer Oliver Hill’s band, Pavo Pavo, Young Narrator in the Breakers and the other by a personal hero, Bon Iver, 22, A Million.

What does the next six months have in store for you?
We’ll be touring all over the states and Europe, maybe even getting back into the studio to start our next album. We’re psyched.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Oh god, I can’t even begin to guess. I’m not even sure we’ll make it through the next four years if you know what I mean. Hopefully still writing songs and making records…I think I’d like to have a family at some point in time, but who knows.

 

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.

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