Rockin' duo dishes on drawing inspiration from Barbie.
Husband-and-wife duo The Tall Pines relied on Barbie dolls to represent them in their music video, “Leave Him at the Altar.”
“Weirdly, Barbie is sort of a very big piece of Americana that you don’t think of and relate to music,” said guitarist/vocalist Christmas Davis, a native of Wilmington.
“I don’t know what sort of weird list I’ve ended up on after looking for a Barbie shotgun, and stuff like that. But it really exists, because there’s a hunter Ken,” the singer-songwriter said.
The Tall Pines, featuring New York City couple Connie Petruk and Davis, finished toying around with their new album, “Skeletons of Soul,” slated for release in 2019.
You can catch The Tall Pines, and their love for the ‘60s and ‘70s, headlining the 111th Arden Fair on Saturday.
How would you describe your new album?
Christmas Davis: It’s basically super stripped down, but very raw and rocking. It’s a rock ‘n’ roll record. Some of our other records have been a little country, a little classic rock and a little folksy.
What’s the backstory behind your Barbie video?
Connie Petruk: We were doing a thing called The Tall Pines Revue at the East Village. It had this secret backroom that was perfect. Maybe 60 people could fit in the room. There was this small stage. We’d do it once a month and we always had a couple of different guests who’d do a short set. Then we would all do a song together. It was a great collection of friends and incredibly talented people.
People loved it because it was so intimate. It was like being in someone’s living room. One of our guests was this fellow named Corn Mo, who’s an incredible singer. He also makes videos. We really wanted to work with him. So we sat down with him and conceptualized this video. I think Chris came up with the idea to use the Barbie dolls to represent us.
Does making music pay the bills for you both full-time?
Davis: It’s what Connie does full-time. I do this as much of the time as possible. And I also have a business I run on the side as well. But this is where my focus is. This is where my passion is. And this is the thing that I consider the most important part of my life.
What’s it about the ‘60s/’70s era that appeals to both of you?
Petruk: Bobbie Gentry and Dusty Springfield, the way that they sang, there was something that was very connected to the earth in their sound; and there was something true and pure. I think it was a time when things were sort of more natural, before Auto-Tune and everything, and it was about their instrument and they were bringing forth a deeper truth through their voices. People were bold and not afraid to just express themselves in a natural way.
Davis: You have to take into consideration that now in the modern world, everything you do can potentially be seen by everyone. In the ‘60s and ‘70s era, there was a freer feeling because there was the idea that you could make mistakes and they may not necessarily be captured, preserved forever and be shared with everyone, which created a sense of freedom. It was more of a general-consciousness sense of freedom, not just “I’m free, because I’m of out of town.”
There’s a collective unconscious sense of freedom that manifested itself in art and culture and everyday life in a lot of ways. This isn’t to say there weren’t uptight people and squares back then, because God knows they had those too. But those aren’t the things we remember when we look back at culture. It tends to always be about how free the creative people were when we look back. We’ve gotten a little meta, but that’s the wide angle.
On a narrower view, it’s like if you look at young people’s Instagrams now, what are they posting for their fashion goals or couple goals? It’s always pictures of people from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Are they unconsciously saying their goals are to be as free as people were before they had the same medium they’re posting their goals on?