We’ve all experienced how great it feels when everything clicks into place, when hard effort suddenly becomes effortless. It’s usually at the long end of a struggle, at the moment just when we’re about to give up. This was the case with Portland witch-folk band Lenore., formed by two songwriters Rebecca Marie Miller and Joy Pearson. Both had about given up on the music industry, Miller following her time as harmony vocalist in renowned indie band The Mynabirds, and Pearson after her divorce. But when they met one late night at a Pokey Lafarge show, it was kismet. Hitting it off immediately (“It felt like meeting your other musical half!” Pearson exclaims), they smoked and drank their way to the bar’s close, stumbling onto the streets in the early morning. Days later they’d formed Lenore. and began collaborating as songwriters, and even more importantly, as singers. “We're both singers and we're both trained singers,” Miller explains. “We’ve both been in situations where people have said to our faces that they prefer voices that are more 'unusual' or that our voices are too 'pretty.’ We were excited about making music that was as ‘emotional’ as we wanted it to be, as ‘pretty’ as we wanted it to be.”
If there’s a sense of triumph and freedom in both Miller and Pearson’s words, it’s hard earned, and that’s part of the appeal of Lenore., who have quickly risen to be one of the most buzzed-about new bands on Portland’s burgeoning indie scene. “It's really liberating to be in this place right now,” Miller says, “to write the songs we want to write, make the music we want to make, and sing the way we want to sing. People respond to this aspect as much as they respond to the actual music.”
Recruiting well-known producer John Askew (Alela Diane, Sera Cahoone, Laura Gibson), Miller and Pearson brought together close friends and powerful stalwarts of the Portland scene to record the album, including guitarist Paul Rigby and drummer Dan Hunt from Neko Case’s team, bassist Dave Depper of Death Cab for Cutie, and permanent Lenore. band members classical guitarist Edward Cameron and cellist Jessie Detwiller. Even though Lenore.’s debut self-titled album can easily reference everything from Fleetwood Mac to Simon & Garfunkel, from the Everly Brothers to Enya, the main goal was to make something that sounded different. To make music that brought together the glorious uprising of their vocals and harmonies, the stark intimacy of the lyrics, and the open-gazed sense of place that comes from the beautiful sweeping vistas of the Pacific Northwest.