Erin & The Wildfire
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Erin & The Wildfire

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Pop Soul




"Rolling Stone Shout Out"

"The jam reached its peak when Erin Lunsford (of Erin & the Wildfire) howled into the heavens during “Country Roads.”" - Garrett Woodward, Rolling Stone - Rolling Stone


"Major Chaka Khan 2019, circa Hello Happiness, vibe from the upcoming Erin & The Wildfire album... It’s got that deep soul feel with vocals that stretch out across the whole album, and a funky pop sound that’s catchy and dynamic." - We Are The Guard - We Are The Gaurd

"Erin & the Wildfire Reflect on Their Empowering New Album, “Touchy Feely”"

Rising indie-pop band, Erin & The Wildfire, who are gearing up to release their highly anticipated sophomore album, “Touchy Feely,” arriving April 1st. Check out what they had to say below:

The Vinyl: To those who may not be familiar with you, mind introducing yourself and to break the ice, share a fun fact no one may know about you.
Erin & The Wildfire: Hi we are Erin & The Wildfire, an indie-pop band based in Richmond, Virginia! We love to play music about tearing down the patriarchy, radical self-love, and body acceptance. Fun fact no one knows about us is: We love to play 20 questions to pass time in the band van, but the first question always has to be, “Is it bigger than a breadbox?”
TV: Before you all met, who or what inspired you to start making music?
EWF: I’ve always been inspired by singers and storytellers, coming from bluegrass roots, I feel connected to others through song. Whitney Houston, Donny Hathaway, Dolly Parton are some of my personal favs. One of my biggest vocal inspirations was a DC based artist, Eva Cassidy. I love her control and tone – she could have sung from the phone book and made it meaningful. She took classic pop songs and made them into heartbreaking ballads and she sang the **** out of the blues. The guys all played music either through church, school, or family ties before we all met too.
TV: How did you all come together? What’s a little bit of background story is there of this fabulous band?
EWF: We all came together because we were seeking out more music in our college experience at the University of Virginia. We each joined the student-run record label called O Records and started practicing and playing together. We were just performing for fun back then, but we started arranging some of my songs for the band and we had so much fun and so much cohesion as a group that we kept it rolling. We played together for 7 years in Charlottesville and just moved to Richmond in 2018.
TV: So you all recorded your second full length record and the writing part of this record was practically virtual, what was that like and how did you all manage to adjust from working in person to everything virtual?
EWF: In some ways the virtual process was really freeing because we were able to try totally off the wall sounds and arrangements, but it also made some of the writing process glacially slow because we were depending on people to work independently. The group in-person writing session forces you to focus and make decisions, but it’s not always conducive to our most creative work. With this virtual process we were able to flesh songs out more fully and try some songs multiple ways before landing on the final version. We had 2x as many sketches as we used on the album, so maybe some of those will be reworked for a future project.
TV: What is a typical writing/recording process look like for you? What normally comes first? The lyrics or the actual music?
EWF: Pre 2020/covid awfulness, we almost exclusively arranged songs that I presented to the band via voice and guitar or voice and piano. My songs typically begin with lyrics in the form of a hook (melody + ideally a catchy lyric) and the music comes later. I’d write a song with completed lyrics and a chord structure and present it to the band to be ripped apart and put back together. However, during the pandemic we wrote WAY more collaboratively and sometimes lyrics only came to me after listening to a new sketch from Matt, Nick, Stephen, or Ryan. For this album recording process, we had the sounds and vibes completely fleshed out before entering the studio. There were some last minute changes to arrangement and organization of the songs, but we came in with a very clear idea of feel for this album.
TV: What was your experience like working with Matthew E. White on your upcoming album, and how did you get hooked up with him?
EWF: We know Matthew through the bustling RVA music scene. We opened for Natalie Prass in 2019 and he had produced her most recent record so we connected at the show. We especially loved his production work on Natalie’s record “The Future And The Past” so we sought him out to work with us on our next project. Matthew’s production expertise was flawless and he really kept us in line scheduling-wise in the best way. He’s like your kind-eyed elementary school bus driver who knows you by name, protects you and guides you with the ferocity of a parent, is the only one who knows how to actually get to the school, but still wants you to get off the bus once you arrive.
TV: Who/what are some inspirations to you? And if there were any artist you could collaborate with who would it be and why?
EWF: We collectively love YEBBA, Vulfpeck, D’Angelo, Jamiroquai, Donny Hathaway, Lalah Hathaway, Chaka Khan, Earth Wind and Fire. And so many more. If I could collaborate with anyone right now it’d be YEBBA. Her writing is so unique and her voice is absolutely the elixir the world needs right now.
TV: Richmond, VA is where you are based. What is the music scene like there? Are there a lot of opportunities and places to play there? And what is your most memorable hometown show?
EWF: Richmond’s music scene is rich. You’ve got every kind of music, on any given night of the week. We moved from Charlottesville because we were going through personnel changes w/ our keyboardist and seemed to always be pulling players from RVA. Richmond feels very musically collaborative – People are always supporting each other and checking out the local scene. We feel really lucky to have been welcomed into such a vibrant scene in 2018. It’s also got a really great range of venues from your rock solid go-to spots like The Camel, to the big stages like The National, and festivals like Richmond Jazz Fest, Friday Cheers, and Dominion River Rock. My favorite hometown show was in 2021 when we played for a sold out Friday Cheers crowd on Brown’s Island. It was our first show back after a 1.5yr hiatus due to Covid and it was BEAUTIFUL outside on Browns Island in the heart of Richmond. I was sizzling from the energy that night. Then of course we went back into quarantine in the months following because of the Delta variant, but it was a bright spot in an otherwise dreary year.
TV: You guys also recently made your debut on NPR’s Mountain Stage alongside so many incredible acts, what was that like for you? Seems so incredible to be apart of something like that!
EWF: Thank you! We felt so honored to be a part of that bill. I got to sing a song with Amy Helm and the rest of the performers at the end of that show and it was so special. I was fangirling so hard. That experience was really lovely through and through – the staff and crew at Mountain Stage are so supportive and professional and Kathy Mattea was there as a guest host and I grew up listening to her songs. My family was furiously texting me while I was on stage to say hi to Kathy Mattea before I left. We hope to come back soon when they have full capacity for the in-person audience again too!
TV: What are some plans that you can share for 2022?
EWF: We are releasing our new album this week, touring it for several months, and then we are headed back to the studio! We are trying to continue this loosey-goosey virtual writing process and throw in some in-person sessions as well to create the next album. The songs keep coming so we want to get back into the studio and keep the energy moving.
TV: As we conclude this interview, anything you’d like to say to your fans?
EWF: We are so thankful for the fans that have gotten us to this point. We hope you like the new record and we hope you’ll come to a show soon because we miss you! Can’t wait to get out and play again after this maddening Covid quarantine. Xoxo -Erin - Prelude Press

"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

"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

"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



Virginia roots, powerful vocals, and an indie-pop soul.

Erin & The Wildfire started as four college kids in Charlottesville, Virginia making music just for fun, but has grown into a flourishing, decade-long musical relationship among four best friends. E&TW, who now call Virginia’s capital city of Richmond home, have evolved their sound over the past ten years to where it currently stands firmly in the soul and indie-pop genres, drawing influences from a wide range of artists including Emily King, D’Angelo, YEBBA, Vulfpeck, and Donny Hathaway.

The band blends the expressive, powerhouse vocals of frontwoman, Erin Lunsford, with the pop, funk, and indie sensibilities of bandmates Ryan Lipps (guitar), Nick Quillen (drums), and Matt Wood (bass). In addition to the core four, E&TW has recently found a kindred musical soul in keyboardist Stephen Roach, who has played with the band since 2019. 

Band Members