Talking Music with Andrea Asprelli: Cricket Tell the Weather Predicts Cool New Music
Cricket Tell the Weather sure can play and sing. Their music has an old familiar feel to it even though, for the most part, it’s all original. You’d swear that they were a band that grew up in the Appalachian Mountain woods. Their music ranges from plaintive and contemplative to incredibly vibrant and textured bluegrassy tunes that make you want to jump up and dance. Cricket Tell the Weather’s tight harmonies and expert musicianship make for a great listen and are a must to catch live! Enjoy this interview with Andrea Asprelli of Cricket Tell the Weather below.
Here’s a video of the band singing “If I Had My Way.”
I’ve got to ask — where did the band name Cricket Tell the Weather come from?
Would you believe me if I told you it was the best name out of a very long list? You could be interviewing “Tap Water’s Fine” or “Pretty Beat” right now, but the cards fell and Cricket Tell the Weather came out on top. The name was referenced in a play that Doug Goldstein (banjo) was in, and it stuck. Aside from the mighty fine idea of a cricket weather man, the story is true — crickets really do chirp along to the temperature, on quiet country nights.
How did the band form?
In 2011, I co-wrote a song called “Remington” with Jason Borisoff that ended up winning the Podunk Bluegrass Songwriting Competition. I’d played in a lot of projects up till then that were in the traditional style playing people’s original songs, so writing songs was nothing unfamiliar and I had a lot of encouragement to begin writing more. I’d met a few musicians in the bluegrass community in CT and NY and as a band we worked up the originals we had and did a bunch of showcases and contests that first year, and won the FreshGrass Award that September. A lot of those initial players have had to move on, but the core of the project is still original songs supported by the traditions of bluegrass, folk, and old-time, and I’m honored to be able to feature some of NYC’s finest acoustic players on these tunes.
You have a new album coming out this year. How will it differ from the band’s debut release, and what can fans expect?
The first album showcased a couple singers and songwriters, and was a great experience to learn a lot about the writing, arranging, and recording process. One of its notable qualities is how varied each track is from the other, as we explored many styles and sounds that fit the songs we were writing and singing. For this second album I’ve had a chance to hone my own writing style a little more, and while I still like a good deal of variation among the songs, the sound will be a little more cohesive on the whole — still with a lot of original songs, and a few fun covers/trad tunes to round it out. We had an awesome time recording with Eric Ritter at Windmill Agency Studios in Lake Ariel, PA, where we spent a few days this summer hanging out with the goats and blueberries at his family’s farm in between studio takes.
You just put out a sneak peak video from the forthcoming album, what can you tell us about the song “Photographs“?
I had first jotted down some ideas for the song while walking along the beach at Coney Island, and had just listened to some old romantic songs from the 20s and had them in my mind. I was thinking about how untrustworthy our memories can be sometimes when we’re reminiscing about or being nostalgic about something or someone — our own narratives outshine whatever the truth could be a lot of the time! I wrote the lyrics over the course of six months or so, and each verse almost is inspired by a different experience, either mine or someone I know, that fits along that same idea. I originally heard the song a little more playfully as a swing tune, but the rhythm of the lyrics ended up fitting a more familiar bluegrass/folk form, and felt even more at home with the arrangement and treatments of Jeff Picker (guitar), Doug Goldstein (banjo), and Sam Weber (bass) on the recording and in the video.
When you listen to music, what do you listen for? What inspires you?
I love acoustic and traditional music because it feels very honest somehow — what you see is what you get, and that can feel like a rare thing to witness sometimes. So within that there are a lot of ways it pulls you in — three part harmonies, improvisation, the groove as all these instruments play their role as a kind of drummer. Traditional music is also fascinating as a sort of oral history — it’s great to trace back old songs and learn about their original meanings, myths, and contexts, and feel part of it in a way. It’s also inspiring to hear new songs that feel like they are part of that lineage and are continuing to serve as part of our oral history for future listeners. All that said, I’m a firm believer that there is a time and place to enjoy the best of any style of music, and if you haven’t yet it’s just because you haven’t experienced it in the right context (which most of the time means live!)
How do you keep your sanity on long road trips?
Doug Goldstein brings the party.
What have you got coming up on your calendar?
Cricket will be in VA, NY, MA, and ME in a couple weeks and will be featuring Mike Robinson (guitar), Hilary Hawke (banjo), and Dave Speranza (bass). Check our site for show details!