Portland folkers Lenore met later in life, but that’s part of their magic. After all, sometimes it takes getting to your lowest point to discover who you are and reclaim your happiness. That’s exactly what happened for Rebecca Marie Miller and Joy Pearson of Portland’s new witchy folk band Lenore. The two found each other in times of desperation — Pearson was recovering from a divorce, and Miller was feeling lost in LA after attempting to find her musical niche both in solo work and with The Mynabirds.
One night, at a Pokey Lafarge show, the two met and felt an instant connection. Just a few days later, they agreed to collaborating and writing music together as a medium for mutual healing. Today, Lenore, which now consists of Miller, Pearson, and friends Edward Cameron (guitarist) and Jessie Detwiller (cellist), are premiering their first single, “Sharp Spine,” off of their upcoming self-titled record.
The track features their entwining harmonies — which is the most arresting part of their sound — along with handclaps, a clever guitar lick, and low, slow bass line holding it all together. The track is deceptively simple, building into intricacies as it unfolds, and the legendary Eric Bachmann (Archers of Loaf and Crooked Fingers) takes over lead vocal duties. Listen up above.
Not only did these two women connect on a purely musical level, but they also were able to relate each other over the trials of being a woman in the male-dominated music industry. “For most of my twenties I was raising children,” Pearson said. “I was just a mom, and I didn’t feel I belonged in the scene anymore. It was powerful when Rebecca and I came together, two like-minded women who both just needed someone to grab the other’s hand and run to the finish line.”
Miller echoes those sentiments, explaining how sexism so often inhibits women from freely creating.
“It can feel like you’re not always taken seriously by other industry professionals when you’re a woman,” she said. “Like you couldn’t possibly have the authority or the answers to the questions. Joy and I meeting in our late thirties is a gift. We don’t have any f*cks left to give. I’m writing the best songs of my life and I don’t know if I’d have been able to write these songs ten years ago before meeting Joy.”
On their upcoming record, the quartet worked with producer John Askew (Alela Diane, Sera Cahoone, Laura Gibson) and recruited some peers from Portland’s thriving music scene to collaborate with, including, Neko Case’s Paul Rigby and Dan Hunt and Death Cab For Cutie’s Dave Depper. With these kind of superstars onboard, and the inimitable chemistry between Miller Pearson, the resulting record is a refreshing, strong reminder that the best things can happen at the very last minute.
Lenore will be out this September. Pre-order it here.