The Senators, hailing from Phoenix, aspire to create a genuine presence in the Southwestern folk scene and spread their sincere love for the genre. The four-piece band, which consists of lifelong friends Jesse Teer, Chuck Linton, Marshall Hunt and Jason Yee, will perform at an admission-free show at the Laughing Goat on Pearl Street on Wednesday, Feb. 5.
The group recently recorded their second album in the New York Catskills, a region defined by the musical legacy of Bob Dylan and Woodstock Festival. Simone Felice, known for his work with the Grammy-nominated indie-folk group The Lumineers, helped the band record the album. At Felice’s barn-turned-studio in the historic folk area, the band drew inspiration from their predecessors to find their own place in the storied history of folk music.
The CU Independent caught up with The Senators’ guitarist and lead singer Teer to discuss their forthcoming sophomore album and their folk music career.
CUI: What was it like to work with Simone Felice?
Teer: Everything we produced before that was our own since we had studio space in Phoenix. But this is the first time we’ve handed the reins over to somebody like this one, and what Simone did was make it a whole lot more honest. We tried too much in our last stuff. As a guy who grew up playing cello and orchestrating symphony, I can hear a lot of layers. I always tried to put too much on because maybe that’s what every young songwriter does. You try to make up for what you don’t have by adding more. Here, it was just guitar and vocals. And man, that was tough!
CUI: What was it like to produce music in the Catskills?
Teer: After we reached out to (Felice) and got up there, we realized what was up with the Catskills. The Big Pink, the place where Bob Dylan and The Band recorded their stuff, was right down the street from us. So it was like getting a lesson in American roots and folk. We knew we were up by Woodstock and what that was, but I didn’t know how many folks actually lived up there and did music. It was so cool to be surrounded by that culture and learning about it while concurrently working on an album there.
CUI: Did other aspects of your experiences there influence the songwriting process?
Teer: I grew up in Phoenix, and I think that’s a lot like growing up in Colorado, where you’re surrounded by these landscapes that are foreign to people outside. To record an album in the forest was weird. When we were recording, I think seeing that helped us a lot. A lot of the songs we wrote are about the idea of place. They reference the Southwest. It was nice to get outside of that for a bit and realize a lot of the stories we’re telling are unique to where we’re from. It became this undercurrent of the album that we didn’t intend.
CUI: What are The Senators’ goals for the coming year?
Teer: One of the things we plan to do is be really present. Boulder is one place we really want to be in and meet people. In the last year, we’ve really moved from being an Arizona act to an Arizona-New Mexico act. The next step, whether it’s at Laughing Goat or doing living room shows, is just to meet people and grow a real connection out in Boulder by doing it the right way. A lot of the time, we forget that live music is important because streaming is a thing. But music is still a one-to-one thing in the end.
The Senators’ second album is set to release in the spring. Their discography can be found here. More information about the tour can be found here.
Contact CU Independent Arts Writer Ben Berman at email@example.com.