Escaping Pavement’s Emily Burns and Aaron Markovitz met one night at an open mic and since then they’ve been inseparable. They were teen guitarists obsessed with roots music. Their debut album, UpRooted, represents a coming home to Americana from a 10-year long freewheeling musical quest.
The Detroit, Michigan-based duo masterfully blends and blurs the lines of country, folk, americana, and rock, garnering favorable comparisons to artists as diverse as The Band, Chris Robinson, tastemaker/producer T Bone Burnett, The Civil Wars, and Emmylou Harris. Their unique joint frontperson arrangement, with Emily and Aaron sharing equally in singing, songwriting, and guitar playing, allows for astounding musical interplay.
The band is the culmination of a decade of two gifted musicians’ exploration, schooling, and on-the-job training. They formally honed their craft at Los Angeles Music Academy College Of Music. On their journey they soaked up rock, pop, jazz, reggae, blues, and funk, and tried various band permutations within these stylistic guises.
Upon graduating from LAMA, they moved back to Detroit. “At that point we got the crazy idea to go play music on a cruise ship in order to gather some money to record our debut album. So, we disappeared to sea for a year, playing every song you could think of,” Aaron explains. “One day we realized, that life wasn’t for us, we came home, and started writing the songs for UpRooted.”
Stylistically focused and musically well seasoned, Escaping Pavement went into Tempermill Studios in Ferndale, MI. “It was an amazing experience to see and hear all of those years of hard work coming together into one cohesive statement, “ reflects Aaron. Emily produced the album with the assistance of engineer Tony Hamera.
UpRooted is refined and rustic, a celebration of American music thrown by musicians with the chops and character-making life experiences to do it right. “If you listen to the lyrics of every song on the record, you can bring it all back to being uprooted in some way,” Aaron says. “It comes down to change, someone’s life changing in a way that’s out of their hands, like loss, or someone wanting to change themselves. Being uprooted in life happens to everyone,” Emily says.
On the pastoral “Winter Homecoming” Aaron sings with sweetly soulful longing about the painful complexity of moving on. “That song was written as a dialogue between somebody who’s gone away, and somebody who’s stayed behind,” he explains. “I went through a time when I had very mixed feelings about being away, and at the same time very mixed feelings about being home. I think it’s a song that deals with the struggle of ‘the grass is always greener’ somewhere else.” Its bucolic beauty perfectly captures the telepathic interplay of Aaron and Emily. As a duet, it showcases how gracefully Aaron and Emily’s honeyed voices interlace. The stunning “Drive Me To Sadness” is sweetly urgent. “That song is about letting go of the small things that upset you and focusing on what’s important in the grand scheme of things,” Emily explains.
“I feel like UpRooted is the biggest highlight so far,” Aaron says thinking back. “Everything we’ve been working on for the past five or six years has somehow been leading up to this. All of these random happenings have been our path to where we are. The schooling, the bar gigs, the cruise ships, every cover song we’ve ever learned. “ Emily adds: “It’s been a labor of love, we poured our heart and soul into this music.”
-Bio by Lorne Behrman
All photos featured on this site are courtesy of Salwan Georges Photography. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.
Vocals, Guitar, Banjo / Emily Burns
Vocals, Mandolin, Guitar / Aaron Markovitz
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