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Folk Power Trio I’m With Her On Crafting Its Name Before Hillary Clinton’s Campaign

Folk Power Trio I’m With Her On Crafting Its Name Before Hillary Clinton’s Campaign

On Feb. 16, folk-pop power trio I’m With Her will unveil its debut LP, See You Around, a collection of fine-spun harmonies written to fiddles, ukulele and banjo, and co-produced by Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Paul McCartney). As the group gears up for a 2018 world tour, member Sarah Jarosz says the album title, taken from one of the first songs the act wrote together, couldn’t be more fitting: “It set us off on this journey, and it really sets the tone of what’s to come.”

DIFFERENT STROKES, ALL FOLK

Though the trio grew up in opposite corners of the United States, its members all developed complementary tastes: Sara Watkins played her parents’ Beatles records in California, Aoife O’Donovan tuned in to her Irish father’s Celtic radio show in Boston, and Jarosz got a mandolin for Christmas in Texas. Having since collectively released nine solo efforts and co-founded two bands (Nickel Creek and Crooked Still), O’Donovan says they were bound to link up: “We kept running into each other at festivals and through friends.”

MEET ME IN THE BATHROOM

A chance meeting in Colorado led to their first performance. A mutual friend texted them a last-minute request to open a show at Sheridan Opera House in summer 2014. “We crammed inside this bathroom and worked up 20 minutes of music,” recalls Watkins. Choosing a band name was just as easy, and came long before Hillary Clinton picked the same one for her 2016 presidential campaign: “It has to do with camaraderie and sticking together.”

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FAST FRIENDS

Scouring for “time pockets” between solo tours, the group spent a week writing at a Vermont farmhouse in December 2015. “We’d stop, have a beer and go in the hot tubs … we watched an entire season of Narcos,” says O’Donovan. The newfound bond seeped into their music: “When we go back and listen to voice recordings,” adds Jarosz, “we’re not able to tell who is who.”

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 27 issue of Billboard.

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