On Through the Night, modern indie folk duo March to May deliver on the promise hinted at on their critically-acclaimed debut EP The Water’s Edge. Their debut full length paints sweeping portraits of love, life, and the pull between darkness and light with a salt-sprayed palette of harp, piano, strings, and horns. Darren Guyaz and Beth Wesche together craft distinct, engaging soundscapes that mesmerize with rich vocal harmonies, enthralling storytelling and poignant melodic dynamism.
The musical spark between Guyaz and Wesche arose among harmonies sung around a mid-winter bonfire on the wild coast of Washington state. An errant spark must have touched their hearts, as our heroes grew into a duo creatively, so too did they grow together emotionally. Fate is fickle, and that part of their world came to a rocky end in late 2014, right before the release of The Water’s Edge. “In most cases when a relationship implodes, you take time, take space,” says Wesche. “Yet we had this music we’d created together, and that was too important to either of us to walk away from.”
Guyaz and Wesche pushed forward, and in many ways the songs on Through the Night chart the duo’s precarious navigation of newly turbulent emotional waters. More importantly, perhaps, the record traces the process of re-learning and rebuilding a relationship with oneself. “As much as this album was an effort to recover things between the two of us and forge a path forward,” says Wesche, “it’s also an intimate exploration of our individual selves. This isn’t a break-up album – having to navigate the darkness helped us deepen our understanding of resilience, and of joy. That’s what this album is about.”
That resilience and commitment to the music they create has paid off. Together, Guyaz and Wesche make music filled with the sweeping majesty of the land in which it was born. Indeed, rugged mountain and sweeping vistas have informed both of their lives from an early age. Guyaz roamed the Appalachians through his childhood, eventually heading west to Montana. One evening on an old, historic homestead in the hills, he picked up a friend’s guitar and began strumming; and forever changing his musical expression. Soon after, he headed south on an open-ended ticket to South America, crisscrossing the Andes until finally resting for a month on a small farm in Patagonia, where he wrote his first song. His vagabond days came to a close after falling in love with the Pacific Northwest, where he often wanders among the Cascades.
Wesche, the daughter of a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, spent her formative years in South America’s Andes mountains and across North America. While living in Ashland, OR, nestled among the Siskiyou and Cascade ranges, she picked up the Celtic harp and was captivated. Life, as it does, got in the way, and her harp fell silent as she chased a different dream in the Northeast. In 2012 she moved back West. After singing with Guyaz around the fateful bonfire, music surged back into her life. Once the spark hit, it didn’t take long for the flames to spread. By March 2013 they had their first songs, by April they had a growing legion of local fans, and by May they had a name and a tour booked. In April 2015 they released The Water’s Edge to a sold-out show, and went on to headline Seattle’s vaunted Triple Door six months later.
Setting out to craft their follow up, Guyaz and Wesche roamed across their rugged home. From cliffs high above Puget Sound, to sailing a historic steamship, to tucked away cabins on remote islands, the songs on Through the Night are all deeply influenced by the Pacific Northwest’s natural environment. Rich and alive, yet perhaps a little dark around the edges, and with an introspective bent that add richness and complexity.
When the time came to record their debut full length they turned to co-producers Martin Feveyear (Kings of Leon, Damien Jurado) and Jerry Streeter (Brandi Carlile, Elephant Revival) for guidance. Decamping to a sunny farmhouse on Vashon Island, a large converted barn at Bear Creek Studio, and Avast Studios in Seattle, March to May have crafted a record that captures the vast beauty of their adopted home. Through the Night enchants and inspires, reminding us that though the waters ahead may be rough, a steady hand and a joyful heart will guide you to a glorious new day.