“Sean and Scarlett Compton make up The Lonesome Doves, a folk-rock duo looking to make good music and share their songs to the world. IndieVerse talks to them about their passion for music, their new album and more.”
Tell us how the Lonesome Doves started out.
We started out when we met. We have been making music together since the first day. It’s really what brought us together too. Sean was the first person I could sing in front of and feel really comfortable. He also showed me how to play a chord on guitar 4 years ago. Sean started playing when he was 12…
Why ‘The Lonesome Doves’?
We went back and forth for a band name for ourselves. At one time we were called The Falcors (that flying dog/dragon thing from the Never Ending Story), and that stuck for a while. We like animals & to us doves are really sweet animals. We see them all over Texas just minding their business usually. I always like seeing two together, but when I see one I always say it’s a Lonesome Dove. In a way, even if you find the one you love you still have to deal with being lonely at some point in your day. Waiting for them to come home from work, and waiting to get home to them from work. So loneliness is just a part of being human most of the time. You have to deal with yourself at the end of the day, and so it seems fitting that even together you still will have loneliness, and all different kinds.
There’s also a loneliness about playing music, when you are playing you feel complete in a way that you don’t when you aren’t playing. We get lonesome for our instruments a lot, like they need to be played more! Doves mate for life & are also a world-wide symbol of peace, so they work as being symbolic for us. We dabble in pacifism after all, and our record is family friendly because of that. We didn’t intend to make the album completely PG & ‘lovey-dovey’ but we also couldn’t help playing our guitars & pouring our hearts out during the process. The word Lonesome gets a bad rap. We should deal with every bit of loneliness in our lives. If we hadn’t ever been so lonesome we could cry, we [Sean & I] would have never met! We were two Lonesome Doves, and yes, we certainly are less lonesome since getting together.
Lonesome Doves captures the music, and when we aren’t on stage we are the happiest/goofiest people ever. Plus, there’s a famous novel about frontier Texas called Lonesome Dove. It’s by a fellow named Larry McMurtry, whose son James, is a songwriting influence of ours.
On your website, you describe yourselves as “lovebirds making tunes in Texas with nothing but a TASCAM.” Mind describing how you make your music?
We usually start with a melody. Then we wait for words to come, the right ones that fit the song. We write it down and if it’s good enough we usually can’t stop playing it until it’s finished. Of course, we recorded our music with a handy 8 track TASCAM recorder. Since we could fill up 8 tracks or more on it, every song was made with that useful ingredient. We recorded a lot of the quieter parts of the album whilst our young daughter slept in the other room. In fact, most of Handmade was recorded during our daughter’s naptime. We called our home Sleeping Baby Studios.
Who else is involved in the Lonesome Doves?
It really is just the two of us but we had a lot of help from our friends to complete Handmade. “How to Say I Love You” was written by our friend Matt Dixon. Patrick Smith was responsible for the smooth bass on “Home” & Ben Burkland, who was stateside at that time, laid down some sweet drum fills for the track. That song was recorded live in a pro level studio and mixed by recording engineer Bradley Coffer. “In The Jungle” was recorded and mixed by Drannon Bell who also played keys on the track. Also, there would never have been a Handmade if our Aunt Missy & Uncle Harry hadn’t lent us their TASCAM to get this recording process started. We originally had one of our own, but it was destroyed when a certain band member left it plugged in during a kick-ass lightning storm. Our parents should probably get a shout out too for watching our kid when we gig & for always being our number one fans.
What kind of direction did you want to take with Handmade? Was it something you both had had in mind for a good while? Or did it reveal itself as you both went along with the making of the album?
Handmade is an idea that everything we put out musically together is from scratch. We genuinely had no idea how to put music out into the world, and after 3 years it finally came to be. We have boxes full of songs we want to develop. Life moves at you fast when you fall in love, get married, have a baby & all that time you’ve found a musical connection with someone. We were able to foster that connection this whole time & Handmade is the result. We have never had the luxury to be able to sit and take a few weeks to just draft and record. We recorded this one weekend at a time during mostly nap times. That’s our next project; having some hunkered down time to just sit and be creative instead of our usual routines. The routines of having jobs, managing a small family & a marriage are great but already a lot of work for us! Music is often a release when we play it together, or something we do before we settle down to go to sleep. We have never been full time musicians, but that’s what we aspire to. Handmade revealed to us that our wish is to do nothing else but make music.
How does it feel now that Handmade is finally out?
It feels amazing. It’s great that in this day in age you can release your music to the world so easily. Of course, we’ve still got boxes full of songs to go through for the next one…
I like how it transitions from a slow, harmonious rhythm with The Wind into something more upbeat and catchy with In the Jungle, and then to a relaxed, laidback tune with Home. How do you order your songs to complement one another?
We felt “The Wind” would set a good mood for the album. That song is surprising. It has a lot of feeling without being much more than voices, guitar, and a little percussion. I am glad you think they complement each other well, it means people might like the first song and stick around for the second and third! But we chose them on purpose, to showcase to a new listener how varied our sound is. We bend a lot of genres, just because we simply make music in service to the song that we are trying to capture. Sometimes that song can get funky, or maybe we want to feel it all stripped down with just acoustic guitar, like on “Unconditionally”. “In the Jungle” shakes you up and gets you into a groove. “Home” takes you back to an old country song melody you remember when you were young. We’re hoping within these three songs there is something for everyone.
When it comes to your music, what do you think makes the Lonesome Doves stand out from the crowd?
We are quite versatile & we are just beginning. We’ve not really tested nor know of any boundaries when it comes to our music yet. Sean’s guitar and my voice haven’t given you all we’ve got to give and when we perform it’s like magic a lot of the time. It feels good to connect the room of people a little more with a song. We have a lot of chemistry on stage, playing music and singing together will do that yes, but being in love and doing it is the rarest kind of happiness you can have with someone.
And how does folk rock & roll differ from other genres of music?
It’s like the best of the country/western/old school side of things with all the delights of allowing a loud wallowing guitar or for my voice to explore the emotions of the song rather than try to sound like anything on American Idol. We aren’t sure we are purely folk, nor purely rock n roll, but folk-rock is a peg we don’t mind fitting in.
When it comes to writing a song, where does most of your inspiration come from?
Inspiration comes a lot from day to day experiences & feelings. “Happy Tears” was written within 5 minutes of receiving a Ukulele for our 2 year anniversary. We wrote it as we walked around our neighborhood.
How did you come up with the idea to write The Wind?
I was taking our daughter on a walk last year around this time and it was especially windy. The wind seemed to be circling through everything that day and it chilled me. I got this eerie feeling & I could hear this pound of a drum behind a guitar melody. When Sean got home I told him about the melody & he translated it into guitar. I wrote the lyrics out and we played it all the way through a few times over & over. We went and recorded it right away. We had lots of Sleeping Baby Studio sessions at that period. When we finally added the harmonies the song just gave us chills. The drums were recorded in our garage but they sound like a heavy ghost walking around on loose dirt, it gives me chills when I hear it.
Were there some songs that you enjoyed making very much, but in the end just didn’t really fit into the album? Would you consider revisiting those songs with your future album(s)?
Back to the box of songs! We have a whole box full of them, and lots of recordings and demos online and on our phones. We debated on a lot of them, but we felt they weren’t ready. This process has taught us that it matters when a song is ready and when it isn’t. We have a lot of songs that demand all of our attention and focus when it comes to fully arranging them and setting quiet time aside to record. We would have loved to put a cover of Sonny & Cher’s “I’ve Got You Babe” on the record, but that was one thing we just didn’t know how to approach. I mean I guess we would need Cher’s permission, and she is a DIVA and also we are so unworthy! But we really liked our take on Sonny’s song and so do a lot of people on SoundCloud. There’s also a classic Sean-sung number called “Don’t Wanna Sleep Outside Tonight” that fans should look for on the next one.
How does it feel every time you perform live? How much has changed since your first few performances?
Again, it feels really amazing. We can really rock out together when we have a gig. It feels good to get lost in a song. A lot has changed since the first few performances! We used to be a lot more nervous. We are more comfortable on stage now, it’s like playing at home but we are conveying the songs to a room of people not just each other. We are getting a good rhythm together as bandmates.
What’s next for the Lonesome Doves? Any new plans?
Yes, a tour! We are going to be touring the U.S. soon to play music and sell our debut album Handmade! We can’t be too specific yet, but next month we’ll have a big announcement to make and the tour will begin in the summer.
Anything you’d like to say to our readers at IndieVerse?
Just thanks for their time & thanks for reading about us. Love and support from music lovers is what gets us by. We hope you catch The Lonesome Doves when we come to your town! Stay tuned for more music!