The phrase, Escaping Pavement means so much more to singer-songwriters Emily Burns and Aaron Markovitz than a name for a group. They also see it as a description of how they wish to live their lives. “In this very technology-based day and age, we feel it is more important now than ever to hold on to the things that ground us and remind us we’re all in this together. It’s about getting back to the essence of the human experience,” says Emily. The newly formed duo that arose from the ashes of a quartet, are getting ready to release their sophomore effort entitled, The Night Owl. “On this album we were striving to keep the human element very present. There might be a slightly off vocal note, or a floor board creaking that was picked up by a mic but it’s all one hundred percent real,” explains Aaron. “Almost every minute of this album was recorded live. I think that really comes across when you listen to the record. It gives you a very true representation of who we are,” adds Emily.
The Detroit, Michigan-based duo masterfully blends and blurs the lines of bluegrass, folk, country, and rock garnering favorable comparisons to artists as diverse as The Band, tastemaker/producer T Bone Burnett, The Civil Wars, and Emmylou Harris. Their unique, joint front-person arrangement that showcases their lush vocal harmonies is combined with melodic mandolin passages and hard driving guitar rhythms. When all of these elements collide, they allow for astounding musical interplay.
The duo’s new album is a compilation of stories about life’s complexities and the ways in which we deal with them. Themes such as the search for true happiness, the loss of a loved one, or moving on after a tragedy are found throughout the record. On songs such as “The Sweetest Lady” and “Silver Lining” two of these themes shine brightly. The latter was written after the pair had seen a painting of a barn that had burned revealing a full moon. The painting’s artist had been commissioned to create a visual representation of the Japanese proverb, “my barn having burned to the ground, I can now see the moon.” “When we saw the painting and learned the story behind it, we were floored by its simplicity and positivity. It’s wisdom one could only hope to summon when facing a major crisis,” says Aaron. The song "The Sweetest Lady" takes on one of life’s biggest challenges-dealing with the loss of a loved one. The lyrics were written by Emily shortly after her grandfather had passed away. “It was the first time I had experienced the loss of someone with whom I had a fairly close relationship. It was hard to come to terms with the fact that he wasn’t going to be around anymore and to come to terms with the kind of impact his passing was going to have on my grandmother. It wasn’t an easy song to write but in many ways it was very therapeutic. I feel every aspect of the song from the arrangement, to the melody, to the lyrics, to the instrumentation, really captures the essence of how we felt in that time period. It’s a song we’re very proud of and it’s definitely one of the most personal songs we’ve ever written,” says Emily.
Being hailed as, “One of the best americana bands out of Detroit, MI,” Escaping Pavement hopes to spread their roots-based message far beyond their home state. With a lengthy tour planned for summer 2016, they’ll be taking their “americana-master blend” to the west coast and back making numerous stops along the way in Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, California, Missouri and many other states. Emily explains: “We feel we’ve grown so much as songwriters and people in the years since, UpRooted (EP’s 2013 debut album). This album feels like a huge leap for us. It’s decidedly different from our first in more ways than we can count. We’ve never been more sure of the direction we’re headed with our music than we are with this record. It’s definitely a milestone for us and we hope others will see that too.”
Click here for our EPK with audio, high-res photos, and more info.
All photos featured on this site are courtesy of Salwan Georges Photography. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.
Vocals, Guitar, Baritone Uke / Emily Burns
Vocals, Mandolin, Guitar / Aaron Markovitz
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