As you probably know by now, I really enjoy interviewing new groups — well, new to me, that is. Such a group is a Portland-based band — GoldenOak — made up of siblings Zak and Lena Kendall. The brother and sister grew up in the Farmington area but they consider themselves coming from all over the state of Maine. The band has a full-length CD, “Pleasant St.,” and an EP, “Foxgloves.” I talked to Zac Kendall about their upcoming show on Monday, Nov. 27, at Slates in Hallowell.

Q: Where are you calling from?

Kendall: We’re in Teaneck, New Jersey. We had a show last night in New York and we stayed here with a friend last night.

Q: How far afield do you guys get with your touring?

Kendall: Well, on this tour we got all the way down to D.C. and that’s kind of about our limit. But we’re slowly kind of getting farther south and farther west as we plan more and more tours and build up the fans in these places.

Q: Seeing you had a show last night, I really appreciate your willingness to get up and call me this morning.

Kendall: Yeah, no problem, but this is definitely my earliest morning on the tour so far.

Q: And I bet you’re hoping it’ll be the last one for quite a while, too.

Kendall: (Laughter) Yeah!

Q: So, have you ever performed at Slates in Hallowell before?

Kendall: Yeah, we actually played Slates’ Monday night series about a year ago last fall. It was our first time there and we really had a blast so we reached back out to Katie (Daggett) to set up another show this year.

Q: Let’s talk a little about the music you folks make. How do you describe what you do?

Kendall: Well, we call our music folk/Americana and indie/folk — kind of a wide range of the new folk revivalist style stuff.

Q: Now you have a full-length and an EP out at the moment, correct?

Kendall: Yes, in 2016 we put out a full-length album called “Pleasant St.” and then the new six-song EP just over a month ago on Oct. 3, and that’s “Foxgloves”.

Q: Are you always writing new material? Seeing you just released “Foxgloves,” I’m sure it’s too early for you to be working on a new project.

Kendall: Yeah, but I’m definitely always writing and we, as a band, are always trying to come up with new collaborations — whether that’s brand new material or kind of re-vamping work we already so. But writing is always occurring for me.

Q: Now, the instrumentation you have in GoldenOak is a bit different, like Seth Wegner’s cello . That’s such an eloquent, rich tone. It’s almost like a human voice.

Kendall: Yeah, totally and we kind of try and treat it that way, too. The band kind of formed around me and Lena, my sister, particularly with our vocal harmonies laying on top of a sound, but as Seth does play with us more we start to expand more into a full-band sound. He and I started playing together a few years ago and his cello really became a vital part of a lot of the music we write for that same aspect. It does act like a musical voice, not only in its range, but also in the way we try to approach the melod. Seth actually treats the cello as his voice. Yeah, the cello’s really shaped a lot of the music we’ve been making since day one.

Q: And then you add a trumpet, first with Julian Sterns on “Pleasant St.” and then Eloise Schultz on “Foxgloves”.

Kendall: Yeah. Well, actually Eloise has just finished playing with us. She ended up getting a full-time job and isn’t playing with us as much as she used to. It’s something that kind of happens in music. People tend to move in and out. So this tour we’re actually playing with a drummer and a keyboardist.

Q: Oh!

Kendall: Yeah, which are two instruments that we’ve added. We kind of felt that they lend themselves really well to the batch of songs that we were out on the road with. And having that kind of fluid band makes things really fun and exciting for me and Lena. We can have our friends out on the road with us or it can even be stripped down to just me and her with a guitar and harmony. It really adds a lot of excitement to each show that we try to curate, and it also forces us to find new ways to play the same songs. It keeps things exciting.

Q: Well, that would be one word that could be used, yes.

Kendall: Yeah, exactly!

Q: Now what will the lineup be at Slates?

Kendall: I think it will probably be a duo show, me and Lena, and we might bring a drummer with us; and depending on Seth, our cello player’s schedule, he might be playing with us, too. We haven’t quite figured out the lineup after this tour, we’ll have to look at people’s schedules and with it being a Monday night that could be kind of unknown, but we tend to do everything around me and Lena and then whoever’s there kind of works itself out. It creates a fun situation for us.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Kendall: Well, we’re really, really excited about this new music. We’re definitely trying to do something really unique with this new group of songs we’ve put out, and we’re trying to push ourselves as writers and curators of an album. We’re trying to think holistically about the kinds of music that we’re putting out and the format in which we’re putting them out.

Lucky Clark has spent 45 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.