Interview: The Young Fables talk new album ‘Old Songs’ , writing with Two Ways Home and more

The Young Fables are a US Country Music duo from Nashville consisting of Wes Lunsford and Laurel Wright. In 2016 the duo released their debut album Two which B.O.O.N listed in their top five albums of that year.

TYF have a really gentle and authentic style to their music which combines a strong traditional country sound with a modern twist. Lead vocalist Laurel Wright has a stunningly soft and honeyed vocal which sweetens the day by listening to her.

On May 4th, The Young Fables released their second album Old Songs which like Two, delivers a beautiful collections of songs which are well crafted and simply gorgeous.

We caught up with Laurel and Wes to discuss their album Old Songs and much more. Enjoy!

Listen to Old Songs here

Purchase Old Songs here

Listen to Two here

Purchase Two here

Hi there – how are you both?

LAUREL: Howdy. We are doing great. We’re very excited to have our latest record out!

Yes, congratulations on the release – What have you been up to this week ?

WES: Laurel received an endorsement from a company named Barre 3 where she works out every week. That was a big deal for her because it helps her mind, body and spirit. I think she’s just trying to play catch up, because everyone knows that the eye candy of the band is on side of the stage (laughter).

Could you tell us a little bit about yourselves and your music background?

WES: We both grew up in Maryville and Laurel has been singing ever since she was a little girl. My mother bought me a guitar when I was 13 and I became obsessed with it. We admire all kinds of music, but our influences and our hard work has led us to discovering the Modern Traditional Country sound that we play today.

How did The Young Fables form?

WES: A guitarist that was playing in Laurel’s band didn’t show up for a rehearsal and as fate would have it, a friend said he knew a buddy who could handle the job last minute….and then Laurel got me. Now I’m the only one left. (Laughter)

How did you come up with the name?

WES: We have written songs with Laurel’s grandparents. Her Papaw is an avid story teller and so we would spin those old stories, or FABLES, into songs with a YOUNG modern twist. Also, our Modern Traditional Country sound is based on delivering a modern twist on classic country.

Laurel tell us about your American Idol experience….

LAUREL: It was a great experience. I was nervous, but to get the opportunity to perform in front of the nation and not to mention the judges who are household names was an experience I learned a lot from. I believe they kind of fast forwarded my education about the music business and how it works on a grand level.

Wes, you have a bit of a Jazz background. Do you use that as much as you can in your music?

WES: Jazz music is tricky because for every musician that can appreciate it there are five people who it is over their heads. As The Young Fables, we want to be relatable to as many people as possible. That being said, there is no doubt that having a knowledge of music theory has been beneficial to have in our back pocket.

Two is one of my favourite albums of all time and I truly mean that – tell us about that album and what it means to you.

WES: We never really intended for two to become an album. We were just writing songs and then recording them. One day we realized that we were fond of enough of those songs that we could package them all together and make an album from them.

LAUREL: We used that album to lay the foundation for everything that we are doing today. It won us enough listeners to build us the audience and interest that became the following that funded “OLD SONGS” through a Kickstarter. I love that it is entitled “Two” because for me it represents us coming together and approaching the world as a duo.

You filmed your video for Completely in Nashville with some footage being in Downtown Nashville. As I am sure the locals are used to the area being filmed, how hard or easy it to get the approval and to make sure you have a clear walkway. Do people gather around to watch what is going on and how many takes ish did it take to complete Completely?

LAUREL: We didn’t have much of a budget at the time so we shot that video guerrilla style. So we didn’t really get approval, we just treated it like walking down the street and filming something for snapchat. Except we had a really nice camera and a big ole light that drew the attention of the people on the street. They thought I was somebody special! (Laughter). We paced my steps so that the whole song would take one entire block. I think we both did it like 4 or 5 times.

WES: The lyrics talk about an individual with super focused love. We thought it would be a great analogy to deliver the lyrics directly into the lens and ignore all the flashy lights, honky tonk energy and swarms of people swirling on Broadway. Plus what could be more country than NASHVILLE!?

You recently wrote with UK duo Two Ways Home. How did that pairing come to be?

We connected with them through Limetree and when the Two Ways Home visited Nashville we got together and wrote a song! Such a fun night!

What was the writing process behind their song As I Leave?

I’m pretty sure this was the first time we ever met them. The writing process was very easy, laid back & fun. It’s cool writing with another duo.

Let’s talk about the new album Old Songs. The album was quite a while in the making and quite an exciting process for fans like myself to watch. Tell us about the direction of Old Songs sonically and lyrically.

LAUREL: We wanted to make sure that we remained true to the sound that we have come to be known for. A big part of that sound is the simplicity of my voice over Wes’s guitar. Of course, we wanted to produce something polished but we didn’t want it to come out over the top with all the bells and whistles that you hear in pop country radio today. We wanted something that felt authentic to us.

WES: We communicate stories first and foremost. The music has to support the message or else it’s just getting in the way.

What was the creative process behind it? Who did you work with, what did you do differently and what did you set out to achieve?

LAUREL: We had an amazing team working with us. We were very lucky to have the opportunity to work with Mitch Dane at Sputnik Studios. He’s a legend to us. But, there were so many people involved from the co-writes to all of the musicians brought in by Mitch that were really inspiring.

WES: We didn’t use any instruments on the record that didn’t exist in the late 70’s. In fact, when we wanted an eerie whistle sound to help communicate the darkness of the track “OLD SONGS”, Mitch busted out a bow and played a legit saw. I was blown away by how everything fell into place almost effortlessly.

Tell us a bit about the single Half as Good. What is the story behind the song and what made you decide to release it as the lead single?

LAUREL: We imagine this record will bring us a lot of new listeners that don’t really know our story. So we thought “Half As Good” would be a great single to lead off with because it sort of explains the story of how we met.

WES: Yeah, and actually, we almost led with different song from the record but then decided that “Half As Good” was a better fit for the Spring.

Do you have a favourite song or song that means a lot to you on the album, if so, which one and why?

LAUREL: That’s really hard to answer. We try to be as authentic as possible, so they all mean so much in so many different ways. It’s like if someone asked you ‘what’s your favorite movie?’ You would probably ask Comedy, Action, or Drama? The same is kind of true with this record. They all have their own place my heart.

What song gets the best reaction live?

LAUREL: Daddy’s Girl. We have had people come up to us after shows and they’re crying and telling us their stories because they could relate with ours so perfectly. It just seems we tapped into something universal.

What song took the longest to write and why?

LAUREL: I’m not really sure. They all come out pretty fast.

WES: Yeah, we seem to be drawn to the songs that come quickly. That seems to act like a filter for the more authentic songs. If it comes quick, then it’s likely because you’ve been rolling those thoughts over in your head for a while and then BAM they just spill out as lyrics.

You had a pledge campaign for Old Songs which was incredibly successful. These crowd funding campaigns seem to be the way to go and in my opinion an absolutely brilliant idea for fans and artists to not just have a stronger connection by the fan being part of the process getting the album made but by getting their hands on some pretty cool merchandise. How was setting up the campaign for you? Did you have any doubts and were you overwhelmed by the fantastic response?

Laurel: Every doubt. All the doubts. (Laughter) Wes and I play a whole lot. Often, we play to a room of 10 people, so I don’t think we realized until the Kickstarter took off just how many lives we have been able to touch.

WES: We reached our goal in like eight days or something. I couldn’t believe it. I think the only person who actually was positive we would reach our goal was our manager Patryk Larney. He never had a single doubt.

What has been your most “did that just happen?” Moment in your career so far?

LAUREL: Falling in love with Wes.

WES: OK, I’m gonna go with that too.

What is on your bucket list?

LAUREL: I really want to use our platform to help people in need and to give back. I know that sounds like a PC answer, but there is such great reward in knowing that you made a change in a person’s life. If they are moved to tell you that they won’t ever forget you, chances are you’ll never forget them either.

WES: I’d like a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Who are both your influences/favourite artists? Laurel, I hear a lot of Kacey Musgraves and Mindy Smith in both your vocals and musical stylings which I love.

LAUREL: Both of those ladies are great influences to me. I grew up on the classics

WES: Earlier this year someone else compared Laurel’s voice to Mindy Smith online in a forum or something and a Google alert showed up in the inbox of Mindy’s manager. Next thing you know we are sitting in a room writing with Mindy Smith. Now she’s our friend! Life is funny like that.

Any plans to visit the UK?

LAUREL: Sure, you buying the tickets? (Laughter)

WES: We would LOVE to travel to the UK and meet all the loyal supporters who have been following us overseas. There has been a lot of attention on releasing this record, now that it’s out, we want to visit any and all spaces where it seems to be resonating.

What is next for The Young Fables?

LAUREL: We’ve got a whole lot of exciting things planned, including playing shows all over the country and a music video for “Half As Good”.

WES: We are also releasing a short form documentary entitled “The Fable of A Song” later this year. It grew out of an idea that our manager had to film the entire process of a single song’s life. It begins before the song even existed. You get to watch the whole song come together from the day we started writing it all the way through the recording process to the mastering and printing on vinyl. Hey, maybe the sequel will follow it to Madison Square Garden, The Grammy’s and CMAs! (Laughter)

LAUREL: Yeah sure, and maybe people will keep documenting the song long after we are gone and future generations are recording our classic song. Hey, it could be a world-wide project. I mean, how big can we make this story?!! (Laughter)

Thank you so much and hope to see you in the UK soon.

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