Bobby Bradford and Marywood Kate are nomads. Five years ago, this Boulder, Colo., folk duo formed Statue of Liberty, and they've been bouncing around the Midwest and Rockies ever since. "It's pretty exciting for us to be out on the road, meeting great people and playing in new places," says Bradford. "It's just Kate and me in the Toyota, and we've enjoyed compiling lists of things we've seen, heard, eaten, and learned as we go."
Bradford and Kate have been musical acquaintances since their days in high school in Dubuque, Iowa, but they didn't forge a true partnership until years later. "After I did a little bit of college, I came back to Dubuque and started playing in a band," Bradford says. "Kate was in town over the summers, and we started working together on songs and demos."
At the time, Bradford discovered that Kate's bright, crystal-clean singing complemented his gruff, low-tone style, while her harmonies and vocals added a graceful, wispy element to his finger-picked ballads and twangy roots-rock sketches. Bradford and Kate soon began performing under the band name Statue of Liberty, and in 2010, the duo worked on their debut album for two months at the Institute of Production and Recording in Minneapolis with producer and longtime friend Scott Miller at the helm.
"Spending two months in a friend's studio is a great way to spend a summer," Bradford says. "We recorded the best stuff we could come up with."
The pair finally released a seven-song mini-album titled The Up State in mid 2011. Bouncy, melodic tracks like "Only" and "Back to You" lean toward the tambourine '60s pop of the Beach Boys and the Turtles, while more dramatic tracks like "Confessions" and "Time Carries On" feel like the lo-fi indie pop of the 2000s. The waltzy "Lonely Heart" and the melancholic "Run Away" are more alt-country-ish.
"It's about blending genres in creative and interesting ways," Bradford says. "We're both fans of different styles, so we try to add many elements along the way, whether it's big guitar solos or multiple vocal harmonies."