The Near Misses
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The Near Misses

Band Americana Adult Contemporary

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Sep
20
The Near Misses @ Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion

Bristol, Tennessee, USA

Bristol, Tennessee, USA

Sep
19
The Near Misses @ Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion

Bristol, Tennessee, USA

Bristol, Tennessee, USA

Jun
07
The Near Misses @ Savannah Independent Music House Concert

Savannah, Georgia, USA

Savannah, Georgia, USA

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Music

Press


Marigold captures band's rich harmonies, bigger sound
BY EL DIABLO
Published 11.14.07

They sing like angels and write like veterans, so for most who've heard The Near Misses, there's been little off-target about the all-female quartet since they first performed together in 2004.

Now, on the eve of their CD release party on Nov. 24 at The Evening Muse, fans of the band will hear the fruits of a year-long labor in Marigold, their official full-length debut. (An earlier EP featured live cuts, and Early Hits was a makeshift home-burn culled from crowd favorites and songs written prior to the band's formation).

The 10-song Marigold features two or three cuts from each of the band's four songwriters and singers: Etta Lea, Reeve Coobs, Shana Blake and Eva Gael (co-founding member Jill Lurie left in 2006). The songs range from Tres Chicas-like twangy country numbers and luminous pop a la Aimee Mann to Neko Case-esque indie rock and soulful, widescreen rockers. The group's signature harmonies color every song and style, and get fleshed out with equally lush instrumentation and arrangements.

But the group's calling card is their ability to create a holistic sounding record out of such disparate styles and voices.

"There was concern during pre-production that because of all the different singers it wouldn't sound like a record but something cobbled together," says Lea. "To me, it doesn't. The song can be folky or indie rock style, but once it gets Near Miss-ified, that's what makes it sound like a song by The Near Misses."

A song gets "Near Miss-ified" when the four women figure out how they'll structure the intricate harmonies. Typically, a songwriter brings a tune in with a general idea of what they want, but then the rest have lee-way to add their own ideas -- with the songwriter retaining veto power. Lea says it's not uncommon for her band-mates to start adding parts before she runs through a song the first time.

"We're all perfectly capable of doing your predictable three-part harmonies, and we don't try not to do that, it's just that we're interested in finding out what we can do that's fun and interesting," she says. "There's very rarely any 'here's what I want you to sing.'"

That's pretty much how the group has approached the process since they first sang together as The Near Misses at a Folk & Vote rally at The Evening Muse (Lea co-owns the club with husband and Marigold co-producer Joe Kuhlman). Originally a quintet with Lurie, four of the members were regulars in the Tosco Party Singalong Chorus and had all worked in other bands or sung on other records. But what began as a fun lark quickly took a more serious turn when crowd reaction to the band's sets -- initially featuring original material and covers by Gillian Welch and The Beatles, among others -- was largely positive.

Regional tours followed, and together with appearances at festivals like the Flat Rock Music Festival this summer proved that the group's music had legs. It also proved they could survive line-up changes -- after Lurie left, Gael briefly relocated to Kansas and the band performed as a trio -- and the rigors of the road.

"With all the touring we did this summer we went through that stress and hostility and could've broken up but didn't, so I think we got that out of our systems," Lea says. "Everybody has a good idea of what they want out of the project and what we want to see the record do."

Recording picked up steam in April, with locals like Jason Atkins (keys), Shawn Lynch and Jim Brock (drums), Dustin Hofsess (guitar) and The New Familiars chipping in. Together with the core members' growing confidence and expanded songwriting palates, Marigold is a far cry from The Near Misses' stripped down, folky beginnings.

"I don't think the older fans who have liked our quirky, folky ways will be put off by the drums or an electric guitar," Lea says. - Creative Loafing Charlotte


JULY 2005

Near Misses Live at Canyons this Saturday

By Jeff Eason

They’ve been called Charlotte’s most original eclectic roots-rock, pop, contemporary folk, country-tinged jazzy quintet. That’s saying quite a mouthful. It might be easier to describe the Near Misses as an energetic all female acoustic combo that blends tuneful original songs with outstanding vocal harmonies.

It’s the Near Misses! Etta, Shana, Reeve, Jill and Eva are coming to entertain the mountain masses at Canyons in Blowing Rock this Saturday!

The Near Misses will make its High Country debut this weekend with a free show at Canyons of the Blue Ridge in Blowing Rock. The show is scheduled for Saturday, July 16 and the music starts around 10 p.m.

The Near Misses is made up of bassist Shana Blake, drummer Jill Lurie, guitarist Etta Lea, guitarist Eva Gael and guitarist Reeve Coobs.

The band has produced a live EP but plans to record a
full-length album of originals in the near future.

“We’ve been doing a lot of shows lately and we’re really looking forward to the Canyons show, said Lea. “It will be one of our rare three-hour gigs so we’ve been busy adding some more covers to our original set.”

Lea stated that the new covers run the gamut from Pink Floyd tunes performed with a funky folk arrangement to songs by Tracy Chapman, Gillian Welch, Sting, John Prine and Bob Dylan.

“We’ve dabbled with a couple of heavy metal tunes and a jazzy version of the George Gershwin song summertime also,” said Lea.

Although the swinging and singing nightlife has become a labor of love for the quintet, all the members of the Near Misses continue to ply their day jobs to make ends meet. The best thing about the group’s music is that it is a totally collaborative affair. All five members of the group write music and lyrics and the vocal harmonies are the product of closely listening to each other’s talents and responding with the appropriate sound.

“The band has only been together for about six months,” said Lea. “Our first ambition is to make a live CD that is representative of our stage shows.”

To that end, the band has a leg up on the competition as Lea is one of the owners of the Evening Muse, a popular music venue in Charlotte that has a reputation as having some of the best acoustics in the state—especially for unplugged and softer rock acts that don’t blow the roof off the joint.

Four of the Near Misses met as a part of the Tosco Music Party, “a 20-year-old, living-room-style song circle party that meets about three times a year in Charlotte. The quartet learned how to harmonize their individual voices as part of the Tosco Singalong Choir and soon found that they needed to express themselves musically more often than the TMP could meet.

“When we first met, we were all single,” said Lea, explaining the group’s name. “Also there’s the added meaning of just slightly avoiding an accident.”

In musical terms, you could say that “near misses” means taking risks and having them work out in an exciting, unexpected manner. That’s as close of a definition of the Near Misses sound as you can get. - The Mountain Times


MAY 2006

The all-girl supergroup brings its blend of multiple genres in four- and five-part harmonies to Savannah.

By Oakley Julian

Making its Savannah debut this weekend, the all-female quintet performs an eclectic blend of originals and covers, drawing upon roots-rock, pop, contemporary folk, country and jazz influences with a self-described "cowgirl airy" sound. After exploding onto the music scene in 2004, the group was voted "Best New Band" in the arts and entertainment category by readers of Creative Loafing in Charlotte, N.C. "These girls utilize awesome 4 and 5 part harmonies, charming musicianship and great songs to WOW audiences," according to Jeff Williams of gogoPilot. The Near Misses also extends its creativity to crafting handmade, one-of-a-kind items available only in its "traveling rummage sale." - Savannah Now


Discography

Marigold (2007); Early Hits (2006); Stocking Stuffer - The Christmas Misses (2006)

Photos

Bio

The Near Misses are an all-female quartet featuring some of North Carolina’s finest vocal & songwriting talent. The group performs an eclectic blend of originals, drawing upon American roots, rock, pop, contemporary folk, country, and jazz influences. Each member is a gifted songwriter and musician in her own right - Shana Blake (bass), Reeve Coobs (acoustic guitar, djembe), Eva Gael (acoustic guitar), and Etta Lea (electric guitar, mandolin) - but when these four young women come together with their songs and harmonies, something truly magical happens. The Near Misses create a layered and varied musical experience, unfolding lush arrangements of voices and instrumentation for a performance that is by turns playful, poignant and challenging. Their songs feature unforgettable melodies made complete by layers of gorgeous harmony. Original compositions in styles from contemporary folk to country rock to pop are tastefully woven with delightfully unpredictable vocal arrangements. Each member switches off songwriting duties and lead vocals while utilizing a range of instruments that includes acoustic and electric guitar, djembe, bass and mandolin. Together the Misses create a whole that is truly greater than the sum of its parts!