Jessi James Hall : vocals
Daniel T. Hall : drums, percussion, saw, guitars
Kevin Howard : piano, organ, guitars
Becki Howard : violin, background vocals
Jesse Hopkins : bass
“If we’re going to continue playing music, what would it be like?”, is the question Jessi James and Daniel Hall asked themselves in January of 2012. In the months leading up to that moment, the two had fallen in love, lost a loved one, gotten married, and in the midst of it all, found themselves unmotivated to create new music. It should be noted that previous to this Jessi had been in New York, recorded and released the first Bethan EP Chapter 1, and was out playing shows, though at this point the music was heavily electronic in nature. While this brought Jessi some moderate success, she confesses that the shows were missing a certain “something” that she hadn’t quite put her finger on yet. She wanted to feel the spirit of a whole band, like minded people on a stage creating live music together.
George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Tom Waits, and Serge Gainsbourg is the music that filled the Halls’ Oak Cliff, TX apartment. At some point the two began writing songs together that were very different from anything they’d written separately. They began to talk about creating a new sound together that would match their new start. During this exchange of what could be, Becki Howard (violin), Kevin Howard (keys), and Jesse Hopkins (bass) were named as ideal bandmates. Text messages were sent to them with an invitation to create music together and surprisingly all were on board. The new Bethan was born, and soon enough their question about continuing to play music would be answered. It just worked.
As a quintet, the band put their impressive, melancholy songs on stage. Opening for acts like Tennis, Air Review, Sarah Jaffe, Midlake, and Cate Le Bon earned them quite a bit of respect in their home state of Texas. Now all they needed was a record. Bethan’s new melody driven song craft and Jessi’s light as air vocals were destined to be magic in the recording studio. The band chose Redwood Studios in Denton, TX with McKenzie Smith (of Midlake) as the producer. The result is a beautiful collection of songs, somber and sultry, but with enough playful elements to convey their new found hopes and enthusiasm. The record is a great listen as you move through their moments of pop, some strange theatrical almost campy feelings, into what sounds very slinky, and at times down right dark. Time Gone By is brand new, but it already feels like a classic to us.
To see all releases from Bethan, click here.