Pretend Sweethearts
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Pretend Sweethearts

Atlanta, GA | Established. Jan 01, 2016

Atlanta, GA
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Americana Folk


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


The best kept secret in music


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Still working on that hot first release.



Pretend Sweethearts is a trio of songwriter/multi-instrumentalists whose voices blend in richly hued harmony, wrapping themselves around songs of love and loss, spiritual yearning and social justice.
Their music is a blend of Southern, West Coast and World roots music - a 21st century folk amalgam that simultaneously represents and transcends cosmic americana. Upright bass and pedal steel, guitar and banjo, South American drums and a good ol’ fashioned tambourine shape a music that is well-traveled but still identifiably American.

Brianna Blackbird and Drew de Man met while studying music therapy in Portland, Oregon. They began songwriting together and released their first ep‘s in 2013 and 2014 and a full-length in 2015. They toured the West Coast, playing a slew of bars, clubs and café’s but also put considerable energy into performing in homeless shelters, youth detention centers, prisons and rehab facilities. The duo fell in love as they followed their sound, and made an adventure of life on the road - sleeping on beaches, on couches, in caves, and under redwoods. They left Portland in 2014 and moved to a Bolivian mountainside, where they immersed themselves in Andean culture, worked on new songs and home-birthed their son, who is now happily touring the US and Europe with them.

Joe Stevens, a native of California and third generation professional musician, joined up with the Sweethearts at the Kate Wolf festival in 2014. He is an adept guitarist, seasoned songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who is also among the first wave of transgender musicians to break into the public consciousness. A nationally touring musician, Joe founded his first band, Coyote Grace, in 2006 and opened for Melissa Ferrick The Indigo Girls and Girlyman shared stages with many others, before going solo in 2013. Joe has also been invited to teach workshops in songwriting and transgender advocacy in several universities around the US. He epitomizes the hobo folky mystic. His Instagram followers delight in pictures from the road of rickety barns, wide open spaces and lonely twists of highway.

Drew de Man was given his first guitar at ten and never looked back. If his voice has something twangy about it, he comes by it naturally, with parents from Georgia and the Mississippi Delta. Growing up, his ear was on intimate terms with the great 70’s songwriters, Grateful Dead and loads of roots music. Country blues, string band and classic country blended into the stew with rock-n-roll. His father is a poet with a penchant for quoting ancient mystical texts around the campfire. Drew founded his first band, No River City, in 2001, and spent six years making records and touring the country, and has shared stages with the likes of Iron &Wine, Calexico, Jolie Holland and Alejandro Escovedo. While playing with Fast Rattler, a band formed by Brendan Phillips to honor the music of his late father, Utah Phillips, Drew crossed paths with Joe and Coyote Grace and the two became good friends and decided to collaborate musically.

Brianna Blackbird is a wild little wind. Born and raised in Oregon and the daughter of a music teacher, she grew up on classic rock and Beethoven, healthy home cooking and rainy days. She’s a veteran of choirs and she can teach any kid how to play piano. She studied performance and social activism at Naropa College  before moving to New York, where she began songwriting in earnest. The hard-to-please Portland Mercury called her voice “striking” and “cloudless”.  Her songs range from tragic to uplifting,  borrowing equally from Celtic folk, 90’s alternative and songwriters like Kate Wolf, Patty Griffin and Peter Case. Her voice soars gorgeously as a soloist and blends sweetly in harmony and she’s lately taken up the upright bass when she’s not beating the calfskin bombo (drum) or playing guitar, and she has been seen with her baby son in arms on stage quite a few times.

The trio is currently based in Atlanta, where their Bottomlands house concert venue is growing. They hosted a showcase at Folk Alliance 2016 under that moniker. They’re working on material for their first album together.

Band Members