ACL Fest Interview: Big Thief
Brooklyn folk rockers in the Friday interview spotlight
Big Thief12:45pm (10/5 + 10/12), Barton Springs stage
Fielding inquiries into her Brooklyn-launched folk rock group Big Thief, frontwoman Adrianne Lenker also narrates the background activities of her grandparents. Grandpa just returned from delivering for Meals on Wheels, and Grandma is testing out a thrifted espresso machine.
The idiosyncratic artist seems more tapped into these earthly happenings than musing over last year's tender, memory-laden capture Capacity. Nomadic thanks to extensive tours in recent years, she calls her present locale of the family dwelling in Grand Rapids, Minn., her "closest thing to a home."
"It really does blur together," she admits of constant transit. "You start noticing that there are humans and sky and earth and water, these basic things. The details are incredible, but hard to take in."
The ferociously delicate crew's most recent Lone Star performance occurred in June at Kerrville Folk Festival, where Lenker and guitarist Buck Meek have volunteered for many years. Lenker crafted new tracks en route with Meek, who delivered a spring solo album with Austin label Keeled Scales, as well as bassist Max Oleartchik and drummer James Krivchenia.
"It's this nonstop flow that's always growing and being tended to," details the singer about group songwriting. "Who knows, maybe some vegetables will pop up."
In her distinguishing method of airy poeticism, Lenker launches sentiments with a pleasant "hmm" and ends on a soft chuckle. This month, she returns to acoustic guitar for abysskiss, her first solo work since 2014. Recorded in a week with minimal tweaks, the pensive, scaled-back work comes out on Saddle Creek the same day as Big Thief's ACL Fest debut.
"With Big Thief, it's an alchemy of all of our energies, ideas, and creativity," the singer explains. "For this album, it feels so nice to have that intimate sitting down with myself and playing without being on anybody else's rhythm. The rhythm feels like its own."