Photo Credit: Gottfried Kibelka
For Birmingham band The Old Paints, stardom is not an expected goal. The current duo has no plans to set an official release date for the new album they are recording in February. “We’re not famous anyway,” Harris reasons casually. “Y’know, Little Rock or Atlanta, they’re not concerned when we’re releasing our record.”
Despite limited expectations, the band is looking to grow in the new year. The duo is currently in the middle of booking several southeastern shows, one of the first being their Feb. 13 performance at Montevallo’s own Eclipse Coffee and Books.
Currently, Harris sings and plays guitar while the other Old Paint, 18 year old Breely Flower, handles percussion duties. The pair plan to bring a few more members into the fold to expand their sound. Virginia Phillips, a recent UM graduate and member of psychedelic rock band Plains, will handle bass duties.
Harris formed the Old Paints two years ago after returning to Birmingham with the goal to play music again. The original line-up quietly released an album simply titled “First Ten Songs” in 2013.
Eventually, Harris’ band began to dissolve. He considered going solo with the name until he found Flower at a weekly Open Mic Event he hosted at Good People Brewery in Birmingham. “We just kinda made it up as we went along and have gotten pretty tight,” Harris said.
The Old Paints’ live sets include stripped back acoustic originals peppered with Ramones covers, whom Harris calls “the greatest American rock band ever.”
A video on AL.com’s Birmingham sessions features the band playing the Magic City referencing “Anything.” As Harris sings and plays a repeated pop lick on the guitar, Flower’s bright voice joins in as she taps along on not a drum kit, but a large yellow cedar log.
This piece of timber is The Old Paint’s percussion instrument of choice for the hundred or so shows they’ve performed. Harris cut the log from a cedar tree about a decade ago. He explained that it features great acoustics and is much easier to set up than a typical drum kit.
“I’ve never been the kind that thinks, ‘Well you have to have this kind of guitar with this kind of setup and this kind of amplifier’…The things that are mass produced, that’s convenient, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the way it is. You can make music on anything,” Harris said.
For the band’s Montevallo debut, Harris promised that the Old Paints will “kick a little booty” and that Eclipse’s small size will only heighten the performance.
“I like intimate. I like being next to people and having to be in the moment with them. I feel like live music starts to be some kind of a party. It is about the people that are there, it’s not just about the musicians. There is some sort of dialogue that takes place.”
During the set, the band will perform a mix of covers, old songs and new tunes off the upcoming record. Patrons may have the chance to hear Harris’ fake love song to Hermione Granger aka Emma Watson. He chuckled as he attempted to explain the purpose behind the song. “Is she the most beautiful woman on Earth? I don’t know..maybe.”
While the Old Paints have several career defining goals they hope to achieve in 2015, Harris jokingly said that a personal one is for Watson to hear the song once it is properly recorded. “Whatever happens from there is just fate,” he said.