A Dixie summer means a toe-tapping mess of sun-kissed lovers, crisp iced tea and endless days spent soaking up the open air. Folk band Five Letter Word tightly wraps their audience in that wholesome, old-time feeling.
The trio is fresh off the vine, having officially created Five Letter Word last year. Each member grew up in different parts of the country, hopping from band to band, but all were drawn to Portland and brought together by their love of harmonies and pushing the boundaries on traditional Dixie folk.
“Since the first time we sang together, it was like, ‘Wow, the three of us have been singing together for years,’” says Audra Nemir, the stand-up bass player.
Nemir’s fingers flutter over her gentle giant’s strings as bandmates Leigh Jones (vocals, guitar, percussion) and Clara Baker (vocals, fiddle, guitar) ebb and flow between elements of Americana, folk and bluegrass.
“There are skills you learn in a harmony role. I’m good at blending, being unobtrusive,” Nemir explains. Her voice is a gentle breeze across a wheat field, subtly holding together the rhythm and foundation of a song.
Baker’s vocals are sturdy as an oak, rooting the trio’s sound in soulful melodies, while Jones’ birdlike soprano flutters above in contrast.
Together, their voices create a dynamic scene of old-timey Southern life.
The trio is off to record their first full-length album on July 23 at, fittingly, an old converted church in Enterprise. “[Playing together] is this joyful process of discovery of one another and what we are together,” Nemir says.
Five Letter Word plays 7 pm Friday, July 27, at Calapooia Brewing in Albany.