There is a motto in the music industry that goes, “You have a lifetime to write your first album.” Yet in a world where technology makes it possible to record and upload a complete album with a push of a button, what constitutes a lifetime can be relative.
Scrub Pine, a four-piece led by Thomas Dalholt based in Winston-Salem that has been performing publicly for less than a year, has chosen to take their time to ensure they deliver quality work to their audience.
“Thomas is very methodical about things,” Jesse Grace, guitarist for Scrub Pine said. “We played a good six months or so before we had our first show.”
Those who frequent the Garage and Test Pattern, or attended that Phuzz Phest earlier this year, may have run across the distinct country-rock band and noticed that the leader and guitarist, Thomas Dalholt, also plays electric guitar in Estrangers, a popular indie-rock band led by Philip Pledger.
Pledger can usually be found in the crowd in support of his friend and bandmate.
“It’s important for artists to be supportive of each other,” Pledger said. “The challenge is cracking the code of building music fans so the people at shows aren’t just musicians.”
Pledger laughed as he shared his discovery of a plethora of memes that discussed how the majority of the crowd at Monday-night shows are members of other bands.
Although the Winston-Salem music scene is known for its nurturing spirit, it’s still refreshing to see two intertwined bands offer support to one another without apparent envy.
Dalholt attributes some of his inspiration for Scrub Pine to his experience playing with Estrangers.
“Learning to play the electric guitar for Estrangers helped me to develop a new way of thinking about music in some regards,” Dalholt said. “I was able to translate that and be able to use it to write new music for myself. A lot of the stuff I have been doing has been in some ways inspired by that band.” Pledger has enjoyed watching Dalholt evolve as a musician in Estrangers.
“Transitioning to electric was a new thing for him,” Pledger said. “It’s been cool to see him get his feet wet and then get more comfortable with it over the year. Now he’s messing around with more effect pedals and stuff. It’s sort of like watching him explore all the things an electric guitar can do.”
In contrast to his role as a sideman in Estrangers, Scrub Pine provides a platform for Dalholt’s songwriting, his first love.
“I love to play music,” he said, “but I am a songwriter.”
Dalholt said he also appreciates the opportunity to just focus on playing his instrument in Estrangers.
“I am not a part of the writing process for that band,” Dalholt said. “So I basically show up and Philip tells me what to play and I play it. I’m grateful for it because I only have so much creative energy.”
What creative energy Dalholt does possess comes through vibrantly on stage with his refreshing folk-inspired lyrics accompanied by ’60s-style country rock chord progressions. The accompaniment of band members Jesse Grace on guitar, David Dalholt, brother of Thomas Dalholt, on bass and Chad Newsom on drums makes the sound of the band tight and complete.
“I started writing music and Jesse, who is our guitar player, I showed him the songs I had been working on,” Thomas Dalholt said. “We sat down and started working on them together and it was after that that we brought David, our bass player, then Chad the drummer. So we’ve been probably working on some of this material for the better part of eight months.”
Scrub Pine is in the middle of mixing its first album which is almost ready to be released.
The series of recording sessions, were a testament to the uniqueness of the band. Instead of confining themselves in a traditional studio booth, they recorded in a setting similar to one of the homes they often find themselves practicing in on a late Monday night from the comfort of what appears on their Facebook feed to resemble a friends living room. While it may not have been the most traditional of situations, the group agrees that that sound will provide their listeners with an authentic similar to what one would hear if they came to see the band play live.
“Yeah, even the engineer tried to talk us out of it,” Grace said.
Written and performed by Scrub Pine.
Co-produced by Scrub Pine and Drew Braden.
Recorded and mixed by Drew Braden at Duck City.
Mastered by Matt Tuttle at IAS Studios.
Made in Winston-Salem, NC.