North/South, the new live album from roots rock duo Scott Nolan and Joanna Miller, consists of a hometown performance at the Park Theatre and a touring gig in Duluth, Georgia.
“The ‘North’ aspect of the album was pretty intentional,” says Nolan, who has five studio albums, his last being 2011’s Montgomery Eldorado.
“I play with a lot of different people, but nothing really worked out on the road until it was stripped down to me on guitar and Joanna on drums.”
“We just really wanted to make a record that documented our live show and represents what we’ve been doing over the last bunch of years,” Miller adds.
The duo sat on the Park Theatre recording for almost two years, mostly because Nolan didn’t feel like they came away with a full show.
“Some songs turned out really good, but I still felt like it was just one part and we were missing a little bit.”
The live album’s other half was recorded in April when Nolan and Miller were touring through Georgia and played a show at Duluth’s Red Clay Theatre. The performance was recorded by sound technician Shalom Aberle, who Nolan and Miller met three years ago when they were touring through the region.
“The first time we kind of got off on the wrong foot because we were almost late for the show,” recalls Nolan. “This time we kind of just laughed about it. I realized he’s really passionate about what he does and we ended up leaving with a really beautiful, quality recording of our show.”
It’s fitting, especially since Nolan and Miller have had the opportunity to tour through the U.S. quite extensively, especially down in the deep South.
“People are pretty welcoming and receptive to hearing new stuff there,” Miller says. “In Duluth, most of the crowd didn’t know us at all, but they still made themselves a part of the set.”
“As a traveling musician it’s all just North America to me,” Nolan chimes. “I do like that they’ve got music rooms that have been around forever and they have a lot of music rooms that don’t sell alcohol. Audiences can bring whatever they want and to me it’s striking to have those rooms because the ones up here really seem to depend on alcohol sales.”
Nolan and Miller say they didn’t bother making set lists for either of the shows, something that ended up working in their favour.
“It really was a happy accident that we didn’t end up playing all the same songs [in Georgia] we did at the Park,” Miller says.
A new song called “Twister” was performed during the Duluth show and Nolan says there’s more new material on the way.
“We’ve got some shows coming up here in Winnipeg and then I think we’ll start working on another record.”
Published in Volume 68, Number 9 of The Uniter (October 30, 2013)