By Megan Routledge.
Franklin Tennessee's The FBR have released their stunning “Empty Room” single from their forthcoming debut album Ghost out on January 19.
The FBR is fronted by Malarie McConaha and Tim Hunter. The two met at an open mic night at Puckett’s (now Fox and Locke) the local watering hole in Leiper’s Fork outside of Nashville. The two bonded over their love of Leonard Cohen and what started as an acoustic project became a blues, roots southern rock-inspired band named to honour the Cohen song “Famous Blue Raincoat,” from his album The Songs of Love and Hate.
“Empty Room” came together while Tim was out of town. The two had hardly spent any time apart for close to two years due to the pandemic. Leading into Tim’s trip Malarie felt herself riddled with anxiety and apprehension about being alone so requested some sad lyrics from Tim so she could work on music while he was away. The lyrics he sent were focused on an empty room as a metaphor for loneliness, and Malarie took to the piano.
“It is really cool listening back to the earliest phone recordings I took that weekend,” Malarie told the Bluegrass Situation, “and slowly hearing the song come to life. It was a monumental moment for me, being able to be vulnerable enough to express my struggles and for both of us to be able to communicate it through a song.”
When the rest of the band came together to record “Empty Room,” it was a lightening in a bottle moment, they captured something magical, and the song has become a favourite of the band’s to play live.
“Empty Room,” follows the release of “Before I Drown,” a Southern Gothic-tinged tale about a friend who chose in her adult life to dull the pain of her horrific childhood with alcohol, leading to a life-consuming addiction. Bone songs set the tone for the band’s album Ghost, showcasing their rich talent for storytelling, spearheaded by Tim who spent years studying classic literature and writing thousands of poems and songs to hone his craft.
Named to honour an enduring Leonard Cohen classic song, “The FBR — comprised of Tim Hunter and Malarie McConaha — purveys American roots music traditions with poetic storytelling and multi-genre instrumental approaches. The two met at an open mic night at Puckett’s (now Fox and Locke) the local watering hole in Leiper’s Fork outside of Nashville.” What initially began as an acoustic project between the pair eventually grew to include a full band bringing additional guitar, percussion, bass, and keys to the table.
Their debut single "Rain On" gained traction during a time when we the world was facing a new range of emotions during a global pandemic. Following Rain On, The FBR released songs with themes ranging from love and addiction to spirituality and sin, set in melodies that every listener feels deep in the soul.
Recent releases and music videos by The FBR have earned the band interviews and articles in American Songwriter Magazine, American Blues Scene, and many others, and the band has celebrated world-wide reach through Internet radio platforms.
Malarie McConaha, the band’s lead singer and electric guitar player, “intertwines her spirited delivery of rich vocals with raw guitar that ensnares the audience’s attention and holds it throughout every performance.” Her captivating stage presence “draws the audience in and her bold delivery strikes deep.”
Tim Hunter, songwriter, acoustic guitar and harmonica player, writes much of the band’s original music. Storytelling is what he is most known for, having spent years studying classic literature and writing thousands of poems and songs to hone his craft. “Hunter delivers art and poetry with his lyrics, and matches that with melodies that take the listener on a journey.”
The FBR is billed as an all-original, Americana act steeped in Southern rock, blues, country, and Irish to name a few. They are big fans of other story tellers and vocal legends such as John Prine, Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, Tedeschi Trucks, Lukas Nelson, Band of Heathens, Fleetwood Mac, Guy Clark, Janis Joplin, Emmylou Harris, and Steve Earle.
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