Big Harp is the by-product of a three year whirlwind for husband-and-wife duo Chris Senseney (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Stefanie Drootin-Senseney (bass, backing vocals). In those three years a boy from the western Nebraska cow town of Valentine (pop. 2,800) and a girl born and raised in Los Angeles (pop. 8,000,000)…
Fell in love.
Made a baby boy.
Made a baby girl.
Started a band.
The end result is White Hat, the full-length debut for Omaha's Saddle Creek. The songs range from gun-in-her-garter saloon narratives and paranoid soul struts to intimate ballads of quiet resignation and open-hearted love songs. The recordings are raw and un-fussed over, with the spirited energy and honest emotion of live performance. Drawing from the classic country and folk of Senseney's childhood and anchored by Drootin's rock-solid rhythms and indie-punk roots, White Hat contains echoes of artists from Townes Van Zandt to Nick Cave, Willie Nelson to Captain Beefheart. Fitting for a couple in no rush to slow down, White Hat was recorded at LA's Nightingale studios in a mere three days. Rilo Kiley bassist Pierre de Reeder recorded the album and drums were handled by Chris Phillips.
While currently based in Los Angeles, the pair have long connections to Omaha. Drootin, a member of The Good Life, has toured and recorded with acts such as Bright Eyes, She & Him, and Azure Ray. It was actually on a tour with The Good Life that she was swept off her feet by the handsome guitarist in the opening band, Art in Manila. Drootin is also the founder of Omaha Girls Rock!, a rock 'n' roll camp for girls that opens its doors in July 2011.
White Hat will be released September 13 on Saddle Creek. The band is ready to rev up the minivan and hit the trail this fall, kids and trailer in tow.