Track Premiere: 3 Pairs of Boots “It Ain’t Easy”

There is one thing that we don’t understand about husband and wife duo Andrew Stern and Laura Arias who are 3 Pairs of Boots and it is this – and we fully expect you to be ahead of us on this – two people, but three pairs of boots?  We are not going to make any assumptions about who has 2 pairs and who has but one pair to their name.  What we will mention is that 3 Pairs of Boots make a fine twanging country sound on ‘It Ain’t Easy.

Stern and Arias originally met through a “Singer Wanted” ad. Within a year, they were not just bandmates; they were also spouses. Because Stern is a guitar player, that’s where everything begins and ends for him “The sound I am looking for is clean, honest, well-played, clever, heartfelt, and unexpected, yet simple” he explains, before adding that with Arias he gets to work with a singer who “is a natural, incredible singer. She is so intuitive. She never studied music. She just has ‘it,’ whatever‘it’is.

3 Pairs of Boots have a new album ‘Gone South‘ out on July 12th on Dark Country Music from which ‘It Ain’t Easy‘ is taken. As a bonus we also have this exclusive Question and Answer session with Andrew Stern focusing on this track and the band’s music in general.  So, hit play on the track link below and then read on!

What inspired the song? What is it about?
The song was inspired by the idea that taking the short cut, the easy way out, is not the best way to live a good life. Yes, it’s easier to grab a fast food burger than to go to the farmers market, buy real food, go home, and cook a good meal. That takes more time, more effort, but it’s so much better for you in multiple ways. It’s easier to be lazy, gain weight, not take care of yourself, but you won’t feel good about yourself. It’s easier to spend money instead of saving it, but having money banked creates financial independence, giving you control over when you work, who you work for.
How was the recording process for this song? Did it come easily?
As I recall, this song wrote itself pretty quickly, and the recording went on without any problems. Sometimes, songs just roll out sort of on their own, without much trouble, and this was one of them.
Any great stories for this one in the studio?
We have so many influences musically, and what we write and play and sing is the summation of all our listening and playing experiences through the years. Our mixdown engineer, right in the middle of mixing this song, shut it off, and said, “So when does Morrissey start singing in the instrumental section?” which was so surprising.  We had a good laugh – who would think The Smiths and Morrissey would come into play for a country/Americana artist, but he was spot on.  That section had that Johnny Marr jangly, composed solo guitar section that could have been on a Smiths record. I love creating composed guitar solos, that create a certain mood and melody, as opposed to just the typical wanking guitar solos that are so clichéd. His comment was so unexpected, but I loved that other people can hear things in there that we don’t notice, because we are just too close to it. I finding it so interesting to see how our influences are in what we write. This one perhaps was Buffalo Springfield meets The Smiths, yet I also modelled the guitar parts in the third verse after Les Paul.
How do you feel about the final version versus what you heard in your head?
The final version, as is the case many times, greatly expands and changes from the initial writing.
If you could describe your music to people who have never heard it before, what adjectives would you use?
I would say it is heartfelt, big on melody, influenced by the great songwriters of the last 50 years, with a singer who has a beautiful, understated voice, like classic, great singers such as Patsy Cline and Billie Holiday, who sings with passion and emotion.  It is music that has unexpected subtle twists, songs that stand up to repeated listening, with, as I like to say, a lot of meat on the bone.
How do you think living on the West Coast has impacted your music and your overall sound?
The Bay Area is such a great melting pot of music, going all the way back to the ’60s, and having a great music promoter like Bill Graham putting on shows with great artists that he mixed all together, jazz and blues and rock and country all on the same stage.  I grew up with parents who listened to Dylan and Joan Baez and Miles Davis.  The whole English rock scene was raging as well – The Beatles, The Who, the Stones – and then the LA bands like The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, The Doors – combined with the psychedelic San Francisco scene, all of that taught us both to be open musically, to go where our hearts went, without prejudice, just discovering and learning as we travelled down the road.  We are very fortunate to live in such a rich and varied musical environment.

Photo credit: Vinny Cancilliere

Author: Jonathan Aird

Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?

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