By Nick Brothers
The ladies of the Louisiana delta folk duo Silo start each of their shows by assembling and schlepping “ten thousand things” out of their tour van. Despite their rootsy simplistic sound, their setup incorporates a “drum set,” accordion, banjo, guitar and glockenspiel, as well as several percussive odds and ends they pass out to the audience.
The “drumset,” which is really just a couple pieces they found in the trash or bought used, only consists of a floor tom as a kick drum, and a hi-hat cymbal hooked up to a double bass drum foot pedal. Double bass pedals are known for popularity in metal music.
“On top of that, there’s this band called Silo that’s a metal band that keeps getting put on our events,” said Reneé Arozqueta, one half of Silo. “I think it’s a sign we should just integrate and become the first metal folk group.”
Beyond the different noisemakers the band uses, the heart of Silo rests in the duo’s ability to hauntingly harmonize with each other. At one of their shows in Louisiana, an audience member wanted to know where all the sounds he was hearing was coming from.
“I think we just try to avoid becoming formulaic,” said Jennifer Jeffers, the other half of Silo and native Arkansan. “When you think about folk music, it’s easy to just get kind of caught in a very simple chord progression, a very repetitive harmony or melody. So we really train ourselves to never get stuck and we try to keep it unpredictable.”
Jeffers and Arozqueta met while teaching in rural Louisiana. Jeffers has been an active member of Teach for America, and Arozqueta was teaching third grade before deciding to puruse music full-time in May. After playing together a couple times, the two realized their voices meshed together well and they had some serious musical chemistry.
Now, Arozqueta and Jeffers are going on their first-ever tour as Silo in support of their new album, “Tall Tales.” Fortunately, Arozqueta is no stranger to touring and playing music in different projects, so she brings experience to Silo while Jeffers brings her beginner’s drive.
“Not only does she bring the banjo and crazy awesome silky harmonies, she’s very quickly learned how to do the drums as well as the guitar and banjo simultaneously,” Arozqueta said. “Now we have essentially eight limbs that can play eight different things.”
The sounds of Silo are soft and sweet, and the harmonies employed by the duo are excellent. The lyrics speak of lonely places and the woes people carry, but their music is largely about the South, Jeffers said. When playing live, the duo tries to keep the show lively while switching between instruments.
“Our shows are very high energy. We do a lot of switching, we call it the “switcharoo,” Jeffers said. “We like to keep it interactive, and we love audience participation.”
Be sure to check out the ladies of Silo performing with their bare bones set at Smoke and Barrel Tavern during happy hour from 6-8 p.m. Saturday, July 5, and the Dickson Street Pub Sunday, July 6. They also just bought some “crazy fancy sexy speakers” for this tour, so be sure to check those out, too.