Fruit Bats & Vetiver – In Real Life (Live at Spacebomb Studios)
Eric D. Johnson and Andy Cabic have a lot in common. From the first time they met at a gig in Arcata, CA nearly 10 years ago at the suggestion of a mutual friend who just knew they’d hit it off, they recognized each other as kindred spirits with a common affinity for songwriting that embraces a range of feeling, strong on melodies paired with thoughtful lyrics and catchy hooks. Over the years, they’ve played in each other’s bands (Fruit Bats and Vetiver), on one another’s albums (often on the same labels, Sub Pop and Easy Sound), scored films together (Smashed, After Tiller), and toured the world with one another as well as performed and collaborated alongside their friends (Cabic with Devendra Banhart and Johnson with The Shins and Califone).
In the past two years, following rounds of full-band touring supporting the release of Vetiver’s Complete Strangers and Fruit Bats’ Absolute Loser, the two have banded together for several duo shows in the United States and Europe. On stage together with two acoustic guitars, they go back-and-forth, weaving together Fruit Bats and Vetiver songs in ways that feel seamless yet reveal all the stylistic nuances that set them apart. Throw in a few songs by their favorite musicians, folks like the Incredible String Band, David Blue, and Bobby Charles, and you have a night that brings fans together in celebration of the ever-present power of song.
In Real Life documents this musical partnership as part of the ongoing Live At Spacebomb series. At the invitation of their friends at Spacebomb and the request of audience members night after night, Eric and Andy decided to record a few fan favorites just as they’ve been performing them together, live in Spacebomb’s studio in Richmond, VA on a morning off from a recent tour East Coast tour. The unadorned simplicity of these performances captures a bit of their travels and friendship, their appreciation and respect for each other’s songs, and the ease and joy of sharing the stage night after night, year after year.
Johnson brings two to the table, his 2003 fan favorite “When U Love Somebody” and 2016 stunner “Humbug Mountain Song” (which have jointly racked up an impressive 30 million streams). Cabic supplies his “Maureen” – from 2006’s To Find Me Gone – and “Rolling Sea” – from his first album on Sub Pop in 2009. Two beloved cover songs complete the set: Bobby Charles’ classic “I Must Be In A Good Place Now” and the lesser known “Nice Baby and the Angel,” written and performed by David Blue for his Graham Nash-produced album of the same name in 1973. Says Cabic about selecting those two, “Both songs are ones dear to us. Bobby Charles and David Blue are craftsmen of songs, under-appreciated by mainstream audiences but esteemed by their peers.”
With both Fruit Bats and Vetiver ready to begin the next chapter in each of their stories, In Real Life is a time capsule, captured at a moment of synchronicity for the two musicians. They’ve come from separate places and their paths will part once again, but just for a moment, these two friends find themselves in the same place at the same time, and the pleasure is all ours.