Erin & The Wildfire
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Erin & The Wildfire

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band R&B Funk




"Rooster Walk 9 Interview"

Sliding backstage after the set Erin & The Wildfire quickly loaded gear and greeted us. The band is composed of Erin Lunsford, Ryan Lipps, Nick Quillen, and Matt Wood. When they finished up their set, Erin walked over to the fence and spoke with fans, shaking hands and handing out stickers. It's fulfilling to catch moments where fans get a chance to pay their respect and artists can reciprocate.

I know you play a lot of shows and festivals, what keeps you coming back and do you have any favorites?

Erin: Some of our favorite festivals so far have been; Rooster Walk, it's not too big, it has the best vibe, and it's beautiful. Another is FloydFest, we absolutely love playing there! We are playing Front Porch Fest this year and are excited about that. Places we want to play, Lockn again, we played once in 2014 after winning a battle of the bands, they haven't had us back yet but I'm gonna keep emailing them until they let us back in. We'd love to play at Coachella, Glastonbury, and Bonnaroo,

Quillen: It's my dream now to play Red Rocks, it is so beautiful.

You guys are from Charlottesville, VA. An area working hard to build its music scene. What other cities are you impressed by?

Erin: We love Richmond, VA. We've grown a little following there and always have a great time doing shows.

Lipps: Asheville has a great scene, maybe it seems like an obvious answer, but we really want to go play there soon and are looking forward to it happening.

I was stalking your Instagram because that's who I am and what I do....

Quillen: Is it really stalking though?? That's why we put it up there, we want you to look at it. Please look at our stuff! (laughs)

And I saw you recently did Mockstars and went in as Katy Perry. I have to ask, was everyone on board?

Erin: What's funny is everyone thinks we did Katy Perry because of me but it was actually him (points to Lipps).

Lipps: Yeah I'm obsessed.

What's your favorite Katy Perry song?

Lipps: Ohhhhh, that's a tough one, I love them all.

Quillen: Mine's E.T.

Lipps: Yeah I dunno, all of them, any of them.

Quillen: The year before we did No Doubt and it was actually his idea too.

Oh, so you're the cultivator of everything?

Lipps: Yeah I have good ideas, it's just executing on them that can be the thing. Pop music is fascinating to me. People keep making the same stuff, the same kinds of songs, but yet it still sounds different and it's still fun. I feel like it was a great exercise to see what all goes into it and take away what we could learn and figure out how to apply it to us.

Wood: I didn't want to do it really at first, but once I was in an entire costume, that was pretty cool and I dunno by that point you just feel different and are really committed to it. It ended up being a lot of fun. Teenage Dream is the best Katy Perry song, end of story.

How did you guys meet?

Quillen: Tinder (laughs)

Erin: I wish that was the answer but we met at UVA, we were in a student recording group together. I was the President, and I was like I want you in my band, and you in my band. Ryan wasn't originally in the band but our other guy quit and we were really fortunate to find him and get him on board. The horn players that have joined us came on about a year ago, the lineup has changed a little bit.

Quillen: It was a good choice.
The last one and we will let you go, what's your next move, what are you guys doing this year?

Erin: Good question and great timing. We were just in the studio to record our first full album, it'll be out at the end of the summer and we will start touring for it in the fall. I'm so excited. We played everything, well I think almost everything, just now in our set.

Quillen: And it sounds even better on the record.

It can sound better, that's crazy because it sounded amazing just now.

Erin: Awww, thank you!! We are really proud of it, be on the lookout this summer and for a bunch of show dates to follow! - Bullet Music

"Cville Niche Interview"

The band recently did an interview with the C'ville Niche on October 23rd. Click the link below to learn all sorts of intimate details and secrets about the group! Read here! - Cville NIche

"Song Premiere: Erin & The Wildfire “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”"

Today, Relix is proud to premiere a digital-only single by Erin & The Wildfire as the band offers up their take on the Motown classic "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." The tune was recorded at Ravensworth Studios in Central Virginia by Butch Taylor and mastered by Fred Kevorkian.

On the track, the band said, "Our interpretation began as a joke and almost didn't happen, but now it's one of the most powerful arrangements in our repertoire. We took the classic fun-loving version and turned it into a tear-the-sky-open ballad of longing and lust. It's one of the first recordings with which we really got to experiment and arrange, too. We wrote horn parts, did weird guitar effects, and slid rice, coins, and bottle caps around on old drum heads: we explored the song and we can't wait to share it!" - Relix Magazine

"Out & About: Erin & The Wildfire"

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Erin Lunsford — from Charlottesville via Fincastle — has had a really successful year or so in music, where winning things is concerned.

She won Paramount Idol in Charlottesville, which earned her cash, recording time and a consult with Red Light Management. She won a songwriting contest in Lovingston that earned her $1,000 and eight hours of recording time.

And last summer she and her band, The Wildfire, won Charlottesville’s Rockin’ to Lockn’ contest, which got them an opening slot at September’s Lockn’ Festival in Arrington. On that festival’s closing Sunday, the quartet opened for a slew of nationally and internationally known performers that included Wilco, Widespread Panic, Allman Brothers Band, Willie Nelson and Grace Potter.

“Playing Lockn’ was the show of a lifetime,” Lunsford said in an interview last week. “It was a legendary lineup, literally, and we got to start the day off. It was really special. It was really fun. It was a short set, but we made the most of it.”

She brings her band to Roanoke on Wednesday for a show at Martin’s Downtown Bar & Grill. The act last week released a three-song single, “Blame The Rain.”

“This is the newest evolution of my songwriting,” she said. “I’m really proud of these songs.” - The Roanoke Times

"We Love Music: A Q&A with Erin and The Wildfire"

I’ll never forget the first time I heard Erin and The Wildfire live. I’ve always been a firm believer that the live music experience tends to trump any recording (within reason) and this band captured my attention from their very first song of their live set back in March 2014 at Iota Club in Arlington, Va. Since then, the band — featuring vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Erin Lunsford, guitarist Ryan Lipps, bassist Matt Wood, and drummer Nick Quillen — continues to make waves regionally and has a stop at Jammin’ Java planned for this Sunday night, July 27. They’ll be joined by Tim Jones and Zach Broocke as part of a Buncearoo Presents show in Vienna, Va.

Tell us a little bit about yourselves. How did you all get together to start this band and why? There’s got to be a story there!

Met through a student-run musicians’ collective called O Records. Erin needed a band for a frat party so we learned some terrible covers, took our shirts off, and the rest is history.

How would you describe Erin & The Wildfire’s sound to someone who’s trying to decide if they should come to a show?

“It’s a rock show.” Particularly, Irish mellow bog-punk. But seriously, soul + blues + funk.

The soul rock vibe runs deep with this band. Where do the songs come from, who writes them (is it a collaborative effort), and what musicians past or present influence what you write?

Erin typically conceives the first ideas to most of the songs, whether it be words, basic chords, or a melody. Once she has developed that seed enough, she’ll present it to the group and we collaboratively construct the final product by fleshing out details and hammering out the overall arrangement. Influences include Eva Cassidy, Grace Potter, Steve Gadd, Jimmy Page, and Paul McCartney.

After seeing the band perform live a few times and listening to your interview on The Circus Life podcast, I’ve got to say that this is quite a band of characters. What’s one of your favorite stand-out funny memories from a show (or even a rehearsal) while all together?

Erin: The bar gig where this drunk person snatched the mic off the stand (mid-song) and started belting out Johnny Cash.

Ryan: The time I mega-sneezed on Nick’s ride cymbal and he got really grossed out. This was also in the middle of the song and there was copious precipitation.

Nick: The fact that after 2 years together, I am still the reigning and undefeated billiards champion of the band.

Matt: During a show at Devil’s Backbone Brewery, I was grooving on stage and went to bust moves over by Nick’s kit. My cable got tangled around my legs and I nearly Shia LeBeefed into the drums.

You were recently signed to Red Dust Music. How does that feel and what’s on the horizon for you now that Red Dust is in the picture?

Red Dust kicks a lot off ass and we are stoked to be working with Heather!!! We’ve got shows on shows coming up and recording soon too which is awesome!

You’ll be headlining Jammin’ Java as part of Buncearoo Presents show on Sunday. How did you get involved with Buncearoo and drew you toward working with them?

Buncearoo is awesome, first of all. What’s up Cheryl and Bill! They came to see us at our first Iota show back in March and they’ve been in touch ever since! They really care about the music they are supporting. Ideal music people to work with! - We Love DC

"The 'Burg Lockn Preview"

While sitting on the front porch of her Charlottesville home a couple years ago, singer/songwriter Erin Lunsford began mimicking a birdcall on her banjo.
She can’t remember what kind of bird it was exactly but, before the Fincastle native knew it, that rhythmic whistle had turned into a soulful lament about the anxieties often associated with band life.
“You can hang a bell from my neck, but you’ll never hear me coming/You gave me hell when we met and now you fear I’m a runnin’,” she intones solemnly, over guitarist Ryan Lipps’ faint acoustic strumming on the track “Here I Go.”
It’s one of the cuts her quartet, Erin & The Wildfire, is likely to deliver during the Rockn’ to Lockn’ Final Round at the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville this Saturday.
“It’s about the tension that always surrounds a band: ‘Is someone gonna leave the band? Are they gonna stay?’” the 23-year-old UVa grad says of the song. “… But it’s also about the struggle with being the centerpiece of the band and also being a woman and being at the forefront of all that and how there’s that pressure.”
Lunsford and Lipps, along with drummer Nick Quillen and bassist Matt Wood, who’ve been at it together since around early 2012, will be competing against three other area acts for a slew of choice prizes, including a feature in Relix Magazine, an interview/on-air set with Charlottesville’s WNRN, $1,000 in cold hard cash and — the real payoff — a slot performing on the last day of the Nelson County music festival’s second installment next month.
Throughout the summer, bands — Lynchburg’s own Steal the Prize among them — have gone head-to-head at various venues in Central Virginia, with only four still standing out of an initial batch of 16. The winner will be determined by a panel of judges, as well as audience votes, and Lunsford certainly has been busy rallying the troops for the occasion.
“I’m working my butt off to try and get people there,” she says, laughing. “We’re the only hometown band left. We’ve got two TV spots, two radio spots, two newspaper spots, and this makes a third one. … And it’s also just bugging the hell out of people with like, ‘Please come to our show.’”
Building on the strength of their self-titled debut EP, which was released late last year, Erin & The Wildfire is supporting a disc that tilts from Janis Joplin-esque bluster to laid-back singer/songwriter swagger, recalling a toughened-up Norah Jones who might then muster a little Alanis Morissette-like blasts of epic relational rumbles.
Lunsford and the boys carry this five-track set to searing, shadowy places, pushing unselfconsciously retro ’60s rock and soul to stunning depths with an eerie, bruising and delicate resolve.
Lunsford, always a strong vocalist, is quickly becoming a dangerous one, too, finding a tone that’s ragged and loose, breezy and biting, as she slowly and alluringly lets each line settle in before starting the next.
From the distorted chug of “Weeds or Wishes,” in which Lunsford sings of a potential suitor who “needs a haircut” but still “cleans up nice;” to the bluesy shuffle of “Legend of St. Peter,” where the band channels the slow boil, the roiling storm of a Bonnie Raitt classic; to the reimagined cover of the Bee Gees’ 1977 hit “Stayin' Alive,” a rendition that has the feel of something almost brand new, it’s hard to imagine these four up-and-comers not emerging victorious on Saturday.
There’s more than enough grit and passion oozing out to hang alongside the heavyweights scheduled to throw down at Lockn’ in a few weeks.
And that’s right where Erin & The Wildfire want to be.
“It’s kind of ironic,” Lunsford explains. “If we were to win, I would be on the same festival stage as two of my idols since high school: Grace Potter and Susan Tedeschi. Just thinking about the possibility of playing up there before them is really exciting. We’re honored just to be a part of it.” - The News & Advance



Powerful vocals. Infectious hooks. Sensual harmonies. Snacks.

Erin & the Wildfire combine elements of funk, soul, and R&B into a unique experience for fans. Featuring the core four – Matt Wood (bass), Ryan Lipps (guitar), Nick Quillen (drums) and Erin Lunsford (vocals) – who’ve been together since college, evolving their sound for six years – and a rotating menagerie of talented musicians out of Virginia. 

The lyrical content comes from Lunsford’s life, loves, and the passions of her and the rest of the Wildfire – including those of female solidarity, body positivity, and pizza. The demanding presence of Lunsford’s voice, combined with the talent and charm of Quillen, Lipps, and Wood, makes for a high energy, inspiring performance that stays with you until the next time.

“Each show feels like it’s the next and last chance to explain ourselves –another chance to connect with the audience to speak our truth. We hope that people seeing us for the first time (and repeat viewers!) feel appreciated and comfortable and we hope they feel inspired by the tunes.” Lunsford, “The Young Folks”

Band Members