From stunt yodeling and high lonesome harmonies to cosmic cowboy songs backed by a ghost orchestra of hair, nylon shorts, shoes, ice chunk, gravel, frog samples and other bizarre, makeshift instruments, Fruit is an album that "feels simultaneously from this moment and from another world" (Consequence of Sound). The debut LP from The A's - the new duo from old friends and Mountain Man bandmates Amelia Meath (Sylvan Esso) and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig (Daughter of Swords) - is out now on Psychic Hotline, and will soon see its live debut on stage at Newport Folk Festival this Friday, July 22nd.
Like their reimagining of Harry Nilsson and Shelley Duvall's "He Needs Me," Fruit features new interpretations of traditional folk music, lullabies and multiple standards about ponies, plus the original, Meath-written "When I Die," which The New York Times praises as "morbid but practical, and ultimately affectionate" as she outlines specific instructions for the celebration of her life's last goodbye. On the tracklist selection, Sauser-Monnig explains, "If it doesn't make you cackle or cry, it doesn't belong."
Listen to Fruit, and learn more about its weird, whimsical creation process in a conversation with NPR Weekend Edition
While Amelia Meath and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig have been yodeling together for upwards of 15 years, it wasn't until summer of 2021 that they thought seriously about making Fruit. For two weeks they decamped to Sylvan Esso's Chapel Hill studio, Betty's, where they recorded under the candle-lit night. Produced by Meath, Sauser-Monnig and Nick Sanborn (Sylvan Esso, Made of Oak), Fruit also features vocals from Jenn Wasner (Flock of Dimes, Wye Oak) on "When I Die," plus backing vocals from Fruit engineer and mixer Alli Rogers, string arrangements from Gabriel Kahane on "He Needs Me," saxophone from Sam Gendel on "Copper Kettle" and guitar from Alan Good Parker on "Swing and Turn Jubilee."
Ahead of more tour dates to be announced soon, The A's will deliver their first official performance at Newport Folk Festival alongside an expanded live band of Nick Sanborn, Jenn Wasner and drummer Joe Westerlund. Fans can catch them Friday afternoon, July 22nd on the Quad Stage, and stay tuned for more surprises throughout the weekend.