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Folk duo Tall Heights open for the Shook Twins on Saturday night at Revolution Hall.
Folk duo Tall Heights open for the Shook Twins on Saturday night at Revolution Hall.
11/19/2015

Folk duo Tall Heights open for Shook Twins Saturday

By SCOTT CUNNINGHAM //

 “The overall sound is more important than the individual vocal tones,” Harrington explains. You do “ whatever you have to do to your singing voice to make it jibe with the other singing voice.”

Within a few short years, folk duo Tall Heights has gone from working the streets of Boston to booking national tours.

 “A lot changed for us in that period of time,” co-founder Tim Harrington says. “We weren't 'Like holy crap, we're on this crazy fast ride.' Instead what we were doing was driving to the next gig and trying to play it well.”

 Somehow, Harrington and Paul Wright have found time to release three albums in that time span as well. Their latest, Holding On, Holding Out was released earlier this year and has helped propel the pair to the forefront of the national folk scene.

 The duo perform Saturday, Nov. 21 at Revolution Hall when they open for Portland-based act the Shook Twins.

 Over the course of several years, the two honed their act, built a fan base in the Boston area, and stashed away cash to record an album. When they were ready to hit the studio, they had a definite plan in mind.

 “The goal was to change absolutely nothing about what we were doing out on the street. The parameters were these two dudes in a room making music with these two instruments and these two voices,” Harrington explains.

 “Man of Stone” was elegant and beautiful, with Wright playing cello and Harrington guitar. Vocals were the only other instrument to be found on the album. Although that album had a great deal of vocal harmonies, it was harmony in the traditional sense of one voice complementing or backing up the other.

 In “Holding On, Holding Out,” the two take their vocals to new levels, reaching the mythic vocal blend and tightness of Simon and Garfunkel.

 “In 'Holding on Holding Out', we are singing together way more than we were on Man of Stone. We didn't realize this until we were done recording, but there's something like three seconds on the album where there's just one person singing.”

 Listening to the album, their voices merge as one. Not only do they sing the same words at the same time, they sing identical notes, not separated by intervals such as octaves or thirds. The effect is more than a doubling of a vocal part. Rather, the individual timbres of their voices merge as one, creating what is in effect a new voice.

 “The overall sound is more important than the individual vocal tones,” Harrington explains. You do “ whatever you have to do to your singing voice to make it jibe with the other singing voice.”

 Now that the duo has found some success, they have been able to hire people to manage the business end of their music, a luxury they weren't able to afford prior to the release of Man of Stone.

 “We were getting to the point where there was way too much to do on the business end that we didn't have time to write or breathe.”

 Freed from having to manage their quickly rising career, Harrington and Wright have been able to concentrate more on their songwriting.

 “In the year before the most recent EP, we were doing something we had never done before which was wake up in the morning and song write. Making that the most important part of our day. The first three to five hours of our day was truly a time to be creative.”

 Their creativity has been amply rewarded this past year with a full tour schedule, including appearances at both the Philadelphia and Sisters Folk Festivals. Look for the pair to continue their early success over the next few years, your ears will thank you.

 Tall Heights will be opening for the Shook Twins Saturday night at Revolution Hall in Portland. Tickets are still available. Doors are at 7:00 p.m.

 

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