The Bittersweets are the Nashville based band formed around vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chris Meyers, vocalist Hannah Prater, and former Counting Crows drummer Steve Bowman. Together they have created a roots rock/ alt country sound that isn’t too country and not too rock and roll. Think Rilo Kiley without the twang or Shawn Colvin minus the twee.
Their debut album The Life You Always Wanted released in 2006, is one of the strongest and most surprisingly mature albums from a young band I have heard. Not that the band members are overly young, but that they had been playing together only a very short time (a few months) before they recorded it. Prater’s voice has silky smooth, gentle, dulcet quality that weaves an enchanting aural picture, with echoes of vocalists like Norah Jones and Emmylou Harris. Meyers’ lyrics and music are thoughtful, never overwrought, never pushing you too far, but instead lulling you into a warm comfortable place. His vocals, whether harmonising with Prater’s or serving as main vocals are fluid and guileless. When they mingle together, Prater and Meyers voices have a bitter-sweet quality, undoubtedly the inspiration for the band name, which wraps you in a complaisant blanket of luxurious nostalgia.
This week I interviewed Chris Meyers for Band of the Week. An intelligent, witty, and fun man whose talents seem to lean to this side of prodigy. Meyers taught himself to play piano by listening to Bruce Springsteen’s album Born in the USA, a guitar rock album if ever there was one, and playing the chords over and over again on the piano, when he was just five. Our conversation was a long and winding one, and what follows is the highlight of our chat.
Tell me about your debut album The Life You Always Wanted. It has very biblical themed titles. What’s that about?
It does have biblically themed titles; it’s one of those things that just kind of happened.