Polly Pry
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Polly Pry

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
Band Folk Americana


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Finishing Each Other's Sentences: A Sit-Down With Folksy Duo Polly Pry"

What do you get when you pair a classically trained guitarist with a beginner ukulele player? A couple of best friends making musical magic. Founded in 2005 by Kristen Kirschner and Anna Byars, Polly Pry is a refreshing, inspirational fusion of professional musicianship and DIY aesthetics. They have a sparkling chemistry, and their folksy, lighthearted, upbeat sound contrasts with undercurrents of lyrical angst and despair – but they don’t sweat the small stuff, as we found out when we pried them open last week.

Dig: Polly Pry is named after the first female investigative reporter – a woman who defended a cannibal’s innocence and stopped bullets with her skirts.

Kristen Kirschner: Absolutely. One of the first female muckraking journalists.

Dig: A couple of badss btches named after a badss btch.

KK: Anna is tougher than me, but I kill the bugs.

KK: Well, we changed the name – that was a working title. We changed it to Two Warm Minutes because the tone of the album fits better with it. We had a lot of crazy stuff happen. It’s been ready to go since 2008, but then our drummer got killed in a car accident. I just found it really hard to get motivated after that.

Anna Byars: A coffin is one hell of a speed bump.

KK: It has been a long time coming. My dad has been tapping his feet, man, because he got some of the best session musicians in the world to play on this record.

Dig: I heard that the album came out a little more country sounding than you normally go for.

KK: Our natural sound is a little rougher, but this album has a really smooth, Nashville polish. It has more of a timid vibe because I was still learning how to play ukulele in 2008.

Dig: So, you basically learned how to play ukulele after starting the band.

KK: Here’s how it went down: I learned how to play ukulele to impress a boy. Or maybe it was just out of boredom. Anyway, I took it as a challenge one summer. I learned a couple of songs, like “The Tide is High.” Then I met Anna at a party, and we realized we had such similarities. So, we started writing songs right after we met, and we recorded a little EP, A Cocktail of Killer Bees, with just a ukulele and a guitar.

Dig: Anna, I’ve heard you’re a guitar hero.

AB: You know, somebody asked me once if I had Rock Band, and I was like, “Yeah, I’ve got a few of them,” and they were like, “Why do you need a few of them?”

Dig: And you’re a high school teacher, Kristen. How do you think working with kids affects your creative process?

KK: I have a ukulele club at school, and we hang out and play ukuleles. It’s fun.

Dig: Have you ever considered writing songs for children?

KK: I’m about to have a kid, so we’ll probably write a lot of pretty irreverent kids’ songs.

AB: [singing] “You tore my body apart.”

KK: “I used to look really good in jeans until you came along.” You know, I have two stepdaughters, so I love Taylor Swift, and she says, basically, “People should know better than to cross me, or I’ll write about them.” So, people need to be aware that I might write a song about whatever’s happening, and they might not love it.

Dig: The subject of a song is sometimes in the audience?

AB: Yeah, and Kristen will just barrel through the awkwardness. She’ll be like, “So, this is a new one. It’s about someone who’s standing right over there, but we’re just gonna play it.”

Dig: Tell me about how the creative process works between you two. Kristen, are you the primary songwriter?

AB: She’s the primary songwriter.

KK: However, I would say that a lot of songs are written because Anna will call and leave a message on my answering machine. She’ll be like, “Laaa daa daa daa daa, and something about hardwood floors.” Click. And I’ll be like, “Hmm...” and then it’ll just be like [explosion noise]. I have a phone full of Anna’s hummed things.

AB: Hmmm hmmm mmm mmm mmm … G, G, then D, C. Do you know B-flat? I’ll teach you B-flat.

KK: Exactly, then that’s how it goes. I’ll be like, “Of course I know B-flat. I learned it like a week ago, garsh.” Except I’ll probably just call it “harpoon” instead of B-flat. I make up names for chords based on how my hand is shaped when I play it. It works, but when you’re trying to play with people, you can’t really tell them to play “spider.”

AB: Yes, you can. It’s an F-sharp minor.

Dig: That’s great! You speak each other’s language.

KK: Exactly! I do write stuff alone, though. I got my heart busted up pretty royally about four years ago, and I just disappeared into a wormhole.

AB: You’re just more drawn, creatively, to let that be your thing. Like if I’m gonna crawl into a hole, I’ll probably just do a lot of technique or scales.

KK: Yeah, and I just write a lot of songs and sob in the bathrooms of random friends’ apartments who let me crash with them on my heartbreak tour, essentially.

Dig: So, what was the heartbreak tour, exactly? Were you playing shows?

KK: [Laughs] No. That’s what happens when you put two outfits and a bathing suit in your car and drive to Wilmington, North Carolina. It was an “I GOTTA LEAVE!” thing. I got my heart busted up pretty bad. I had to go. It was a healing journey. It was just driving and crying. It was like a Delilah request.

Dig: Were you writing a lot of songs during that period?

KK: Oh, yeah. It was me and my ukulele in the bathrooms of friends’ houses. But it was more than just being dumped. It was like losing complete orientation with my world as I recognized it. But, yeah, just getting out of town. I highly recommend that as a cure for a broken heart.

Dig: Is that the story told on Two Warm Minutes?

AB: Yeah, it is in a lot of ways. But this album is kind of the story before that.

KK: Yeah, Two Warm Minutes is the story of me learning.

AB: It’s like the honeymoon of our friendship, in a lot of ways.

Polly Pry will be playing at Red Star on November 19. Watch out for the release of their first full-length LP, Two Warm Minutes, later this year. - Dig Magazine

"Best Albums of the Year"

Polly Pry’s folksy image centered on Kristen Foster’s ukulele and cowgirl dresses went through
maturation on Two Warm Minutes. This album radiates the warm complexity of relationships, the slow
gallop across love’s peaks and valleys with a fuller sound than the band has exhibited before. They
are funny – “You can hawk my chainsaw at the pawn shop/Crash you car in the sheriff’s yard, I will pay
your bond” –as they are sonically sumptuous, pitting the strum of a uke against swooning choruses and
orchestration as complimentary as a new pair of boots. - 225 Magazine

"Polly Pry: Casual-ly riding from Nashville to North Gate"

By Jason Andreasen

A ukulele, a guitar and an upright bass.

That’s all that The Casuals needed to become one of Baton Rouge’s best kept musical secrets and the area’s most original, chuckle-inducing folk ensembles to ever write a song about a handsome North Carolina boy or a peeled peach. In just a few short years, the triad that makes up The Casuals (Anna Byars, Kristen Foster and relative newbie Justin Hilbun) has garnered themselves a loyal local following and has just returned from Nashville with a new record, a new moniker and lyrics that, with a little help from one of the city’s most legendary producers, may have gotten even raunchier.

On Thursday, July 24, sandwiched snuggly between Flatbed Honeymoon and the evening’s headliner, The Howdies, the band will be making their first appearance under their new name: Polly Pry.

“I knew we were gonna definitely keep playing music together, when Anna and I first partnered up, because we really have a lot of fun together and we’re B.F.F., hardcore forever,” joked Foster, who can often be seen on stage with her tongue planted firmly in her cheek and her arms shrink-wrapped around a ukulele. “I didn’t know we were going to play lots of shows and that people were gonna like it. My mother had a band in high school called The Casuals, so I just thought we’ll use that name because I couldn’t think of anything else.”

However, because of the Sixties British pop group of the same name, the band knew that they would eventually switch the name to something they could call their own.

“The reason we decided on the name Polly Pry is that she was the first female investigative reporter in America. I’m a reporter as well. I wanted something that was true to what I was interested in. I liked the idea that it was a female name, it had the alliteration and plus it was an amazing woman from history,” said Foster.

A few months back, Justin Hilbun, also of local favorites The WayHighmen, joined the group to add some heft to the group’s sound. Although Foster jokes, “We argue that he’s our third girl,” you can hear in her voice that the addition of Hilbun’s upright bass is something that the band can’t imagine playing without.

Unfortunately, they have to brave the North Gate Tavern crowd without him while he is schlepping his way across Europe. Dave Simpson, of Righteous Buddha, will be filling in for Hilbun.

Anna Byars, who Foster describes as a guitar hero, is instrumental in the actual writing of the catalog of songs that Polly Pry boasts. She oftentimes takes the reins with musical arrangements and even a lyric or two, according to Foster.

“Randomly she’ll call me and hum a melody line and text me a chord progression and hours later, text me a line she really likes. Anna plants the seed a lot of the time. She writes a lot of the music, she makes it more interesting,” explains Foster.

In April, the trio headed to Nashville to record their debut album with famed producer, Fred Foster, who co-wrote “Me and Bobby McGee,” produced Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman,” and signed Dolly Parton to Monument Records in 1964. More importantly, he’s Kristen’s father.

You might think that Polly Pry’s brand of songwriting, dripping with sexual innuendo and self-deprecating vulnerability, might make the collaboration between band and father-of-ukulele-player uncomfortable. Then again, your dad isn’t Fred Foster.

“My dad is so much cooler than I am, you can’t shock him. I handed him the lyric sheets for the songs, and he looked at them and he changed some of them to make them dirtier. I’m 27, he’s no longer holding on to this totally pristine image of me. He’s extremely honest and was able to see that other people were getting excited about the project,” said Foster.

Her father actually demanded a demo from the band prior to working with them. Once receiving it, he realized that there was something special in the songs. The resulting album brings more of a country twang to the band’s decidedly folk sound.

“It’s more country then we maybe are, but it sounds really good,” said Foster. “When we first recorded it, it was scary how country it was. As we mixed it, we mixed a lot of that down, but it has a lot of twang to it and I think that’s a direction we’re comfortable with. We’re still folky for sure, lyrically we can’t help it.”

Polly Pry’s new album is currently being mastered and will be available in September. The July 24 show at North Gate will be one of the band’s first since returning from recording in Nashville in April. This might be one of the first opportunities to find out what happens when a ukulele, a guitar, a stand-up bass and tons of facetiously worded verses hang out in Nashville for a few weeks.

Check out myspace.com/NorthGateTavern to find out more about the debut of Polly Pry.
- Tiger Weekly


Still working on that hot first release.



Founded in 2005 by Kristen Foster and Anna Byars, this all-original band boasts an ultra-melodic song list that covers the basics of life and love, as seen through the rarely rose-tinted lens of songwriters who aren't afraid to laugh at themselves (and each other). Polly Pry is currently based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, performing locally and in surrounding cities and states.

Band Members