BY MEREDITH KLEIBER Most bands typically travel by tour bus, hiring one or multiple drivers to chauffeur them around the country from shows to hotels and vice versa. Lucy Tight and Wayne Waxing, however, don’t really fit the definition of “typical”. Better known as the self-described “stomp-grass punk folk” duo Hymn For Her, Tight and Waxing traverse the country in their 1961 Bambi Airstream, fully loaded with myriad instruments, recording equipment, dog, and four-year-old daughter. The Airstream functions not only as their primary form of transportation, but also as a recording studio — Tight and Waxing recorded their album Lucy & Wayne and THE AMAIRICAN STREAM entirely in the trailer — and, more importantly, as their home. Utilizing an unusual collection of instruments, including banjo, cigar box guitar, dobro, bass drum, hi-hat, and harp, Hymn For Her has created a uniquely characteristic sound that is sure to get your body and feet moving, no matter where your preferences land on the musical spectrum. If you’re considering going to see their show at the Dawson Street Pub on Friday, but haven’t quite committed yet, perhaps a quick peek at their videos will swing you. “Fiddlestix” is like a psychedelic home movie, peppered with lo-fi scenes of their daughter frolicking and dancing, close-up profiles of bearded goats, and clips of Tight simultaneously Hula Hooping and strumming her cigar box (if you haven’t yet noticed, these two are master multitaskers).The video depicting Hymn For Her‘s rendition of the Morphine song “Thursday” offers a personal glimpse into their everyday life on the road, along with a taste of how the hell they managed to produce an entire album in their tiny Airstream. Tight and Waxing recently took some time out of their busy schedule to answer some questions for Phawker.
PHAWKER: You have illustrated Hymn For Her’s style as “stomp-grass punk folk with a hint of Americana”. What musicians influenced you the most when you first began to play, and who or what is your biggest inspiration now?
HYMN FOR HER: As musician kids, we were influenced by Van Halen, Joni Mitchell, John Prine, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Pixies, Beatles, Stones, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Led Zep, Pink Floyd, The Carpenters, Burt Bacharac, Elvis Costello, Elvis Presley (and a million others). When we got together our influences blended into whatever we have become at whatever point we’re at. Our biggest inspiration now is traveling, being a family on the road, meeting people who are living their dreams and hoping to inspire folks who want to step out of their box that it can be done.
PHAWKER: Can you describe what your sound was like before you added the cigar box guitar to your musical repertoire?
HYMN FOR HER: It was more in the folksy bluegrass style. We played lots of stripped-down acoustic music, ukulele, banjo, acoustic guitar, 2-part harmony. Now we rock a lot harder.
PHAWKER: You have a pretty tight tour schedule. Doesn’t it get exhausting to drive for extended periods of time, play a show, and then get back in the car and drive some more? And all of this on top of caring for a child and a dog—are you superhuman?
HYMN FOR HER: We make time to stay with friends; our daughter has dozens of friends across the US, and so does our dog Pokey. The driving can get pretty tiring if it’s longer than 5 hours from show to show. We often drive at night when the traffic is smooth and our girl is asleep. Stress-free. Then we have time in the day to check out a city, chill out at a cafe, hang with friends. We love playing music so that part is never exhausting.
PHAWKER: Your new album, Lucy & Wayne and THE AMAIRICAN STREAM, was recorded in your 1961 Bambi Airstream while you were on tour. To say that is amazing would be an understatement. What were some of the hardships you encountered during the recording process?
HYMN FOR HER: It was our first attempt to record a record using Pro Tools. There was the typical learning curve. Running into errors. Losing tracks. Getting frustrated. Sometimes we weren’t able to get an electric hookup for the Airstream, so we couldn’t record exactly when we wanted to. We needed a few days at each place we went to set everything up, because the Airstream is our home, so we’d have to break it all down to set it up as a studio (check out our videos and you can see the process). But for the most part, it flowed really well and it was nice to do it on our time, not pay tons of money to an engineer, and not get exactly what we wanted. We were really happy with the outcome. It sounds exactly like we do live, and that’s what we were going for.
PHAWKER: You’re playing a show in Philly on July 22nd. How does it feel to be going back to your old stomping grounds?
HYMN FOR HER: Always great. No matter where we go, Philly will always be home. There is Silver Pop Pop, Uncle Flarky, G-ma, Uncle Woo, Anti EJ, Uncle Erfington, and tons of other family and friends who we love to see.
Hymn For Her plays the Dawson Street Pub in Manayunk tomorrow night