The Brown Mountain Lightning Bugs

Kendra and Zack Harding form The Brown Mountain Lightning Bugs, a folk(ish)/Americana group hailing from Winston-Salem, NC. The band made its debut in 2015, shortly after the two tied the knot in an old chapel in the heart of the Piedmont.

Combining their unique backgrounds that range from classic rock to classical guitar, they create a blend of original music with deep roots in the past with a contemporary twist here and there.

The Bugs have played extensively throughout the Southeast, including performances on The Grey Eagle’s Patio Show Series, Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival, and at Awendaw Green. They’re currently in the studio working on their second album, due out in 2020.

Song-by-Song: I Am the Waves

From Kendra:

This song was written in response to a song that was written in response to a song by Les Claypool (more on that below). Zack was in the Philippines visiting family at the time, and I missed him quite a bit. His birthday was going to be happening while he was gone, so I decided to write a song and video it for him as a present. He loved it and proposed not long after getting back from his trip, so it must have been a good song!

I started with a spare, a capella opening and then let the song grow more and more chaotic in tempo throughout (like a stormy sea). This makes the song fun to play live, but we had a heck of a time recording it. Getting the timing right between tracks was super challenging, but listening back to it, it’s clear that all the hard work and brainstorming paid off!

From Zack:

Primus has a song called “Tragedy’s A Comin’” on their 2011 album Green Naugahyde. The song is about seeing tragedy on the horizon, but being completely unable to do anything about it. With my own health problems and my family’s illness over the years, I could relate to that feeling. It’s a terrifying, helpless feeling to know that some terrible thing is bearing down on you in the near future and there’s no way to get around it. I wrote a song called “Seawall” that followed a similar perspective with the added notion that I would succumb to the tragedy if I had to face it alone. Finally, Kendra wrote “I am the Waves” in response to “Seawall,” letting me know that I wouldn’t have to face tragedy alone ever again, because she would be there with me.

This is a haunting tune, and the recording captures both the harrowing nature of looming tragedy as well as the loving embrace of standing together in the face of such a challenge. I think this is my favorite banjo part on the album.

“Seawall” almost made the cut for this album, but not quiet. I hope to release it in some form in the future, because we have a really nice recording of it.