Sisterhood (noun): the solidarity of women
based on shared conditions, experiences, or concerns
Women have been brought together through common conditions, experiences and concerns throughout history, and the ladies of The Krickets are no exception. A love of music and desire to help others lead Katrina Kolb (bass), Amanda Kolb (vocals, fiddle), Emily Stuckey Sellers (guitar, mandolin, percussion), and Lauren Spring (guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle) to each other, creating a sisterhood of songwriters, mothers, and friends. This female bond drove the inspiration behind The Kricket’s most recent album Redbird released on October 26.
We had a chance to talk with the Americana ladies about the creation of The Krickets, the new album, and what is to come in 2019.
CN: At what age did you discover music? When did you realize your passion and that this was something you wanted to pursue?
Amanda: When I was 9 years old I started learning to play the mandolin; my mom thought this would be a great first instrument for me to learn. I learned some chords and how to pick a song or two, but I wasn’t very interested in playing. When I was 12, I started learning the guitar and picked that up very quickly. I realized my passion for music when I was 14, when Katrina and I started playing bluegrass music with people our own age. We had several friends in the Pensacola area that were excellent musicians and encouraged us to play with them. Katrina and I also formed a trio with a local friend, a band we named “The Pretty Possums.” We had so much fun with those friends, and looking back, I definitely think I would not have fallen in love with this type of music had it not been for these experiences.
CN: Which musicians have influenced you both personally and as an artist?
Amanda: There have been so many incredibly talented musicians that I’ve seen, or heard, over the years that have influenced me. Whether they influenced me to go home and practice a little more, or to try my hand at songwriting, or even to try and learn a new instrument, there have been countless ways that I’ve been influenced by other musicians.
CN: Being songwriters, can you take us through your song writing process? Do you draw mostly from personal experiences, or from those around you?
Emily: We all collaborated on Redbird. Half of the songs we wrote together and would draw from either a hook one of us already had, or simply from an object in the room. We really wanted to make the writing for this album a group effort and see what we were capable of creating together. We can definitely say that there will be many more albums created this way.
CN: How did you come to create your sound: a blend of bluegrass, Americana, Folk and country?
Emily: Each of us write and three of us sing lead in our band. Drawing from four different musical backgrounds and interests has definitely played a huge role in our sound.
CN: The Krickets were formed at a Breast Cancer benefit, which is a cause near and dear to you. Having never performed together prior to the event, when did it click that you should continue playing together?
Lauren: There’s that moment when the harmony locks in, you fall in the pocket, and it’s just an absolute high. It was a great outlet creatively and we were having too much fun to end it after one show.
CN: Could you tell us about your involvement with The Cricket Fund?
Lauren: Yes, The Cricket Fund was set up by Gulf Coast Sacred Heart Hospital in memorial of a 22yr old named Cristina ‘Cricket’ Russell to provide mammograms to the uninsured in our county. Sacred Heart came up with Mammos and Martinis and asked us to play the gig. We donated our time and tips and wanted to do something more. So, with Cricket’s mother’s permission, we named ourselves The Krickets and began playing gigs. Now we are able to donate $1 of every album sale to the fund. People have been incredibly supportive of the fund. A new branch has been created to provide cmore comprehensive cancer aid called The Cricket Fund Beyond Diagnosis and they have raised enough money to fund mammograms for the next 11 years in our county.
CN: Is there then a connection to the group name The Krickets?
Lauren: Well, while we love and respect Buddy Holly’s Crickets, we wanted to still honor Cristina and keep the name. So to avoid confusion we switched over to Krickets with a ‘K’.
CN: Your Americana album Redbird was released at the end of October. What was it like to work with Grammy-nominated producer Sam Ashworth, who has worked with some of Americana’s best included The Lone Bellow and Joy Williams?
Emily: It was really a joy and an education working with Sam. He put his whole heart into producing this album and added extreme depth instrumentally that matched our lyrics and chords. It truly was a beautiful collaboration. He has an impeccable ear and we’re forever grateful to have worked with him.
CN: It took only five days to record the album, which had to be not only fast but a very fluid process. Could you talk about how the album came together?
Emily: We basically laid down chords and lyrics to each song and then Sam would back that up with a tasty drumbeat or guitar lick. Then we’d lay down whatever bass, fiddle, and guitjo he was hearing. Final vocals usually were added lastly. Those were so much fun because Sam had us add little trills and fills that were challenging and different from what we initially heard.
CN: Emily – the title track was inspired by dreams that you had after the death of your grandmother, and the dreams stopped after you wrote the song. What did you would see in your dreams and how did you transcribed it into lyrics?
Emily: In the dreams I was usually asleep in my bed and it was always at daybreak. She would gently lean over me and whisper something very softly in my ear. I never found out what exactly it was she was saying because during each dream I awoke before I could make out her words. I’m pretty certain whatever she was telling me in the dream was peaceful and loving because I was really happy after I had one.
CN: And while you were shooting the “Redbird” music video there were a few mysterious instances? What happened??
Lauren: Well it started with Emily seeing redbirds everywhere after her grandmother passed away. According to folklore, seeing redbirds or cardinals symbolize being visited by a loved one who’s passed away. The video for “Redbird” was filmed partially in the Historic Port Theater in downtown Port St. Joe, FL and partially in a gorgeous old Florida mansion called the Steamboat House built in 1840. Long fabled to be haunted, this was the obvious choice for a supernaturally vibed music video. This was crazy, but a week before the video was shot, I was on vacation and decided to pick a beach read called The House on the Forgotten Coast. The southern gothic thriller was a great story, I read it in a day and didn’t think another thing about it. The very next weekend, we arrived at the house the director scouted and chose without us ever having seen it. IT. Was. the. Same. House. From. the. Book. (like the actually house the book was based on right down to the paintings on the wall. Spooky!)
Another crazy thing, all of us saw redbirds like crazy after we decided to make that song the album’s title track. The reason the director Ben chose the house was because while wondering which to choose out of the ones he’s visited that day, a redbird came and landed right on the yard in front of his feet and looked at him.
CN: How important was it to have a female-centric theme to this album as you are not only women in an industry that has been under more scrutiny regarding his reputation towards female artist but you are mothers as well?
Lauren: Crazy important. For example, Our Redbird album’s artwork deliberately features a female cardinal. She’s almost always hidden in the background and while she’s not as flashy as her partner, her song is no less beautiful or worth being heard. We’re mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, girlfriends and day-job havers. Those roles don’t seem as romantic on paper as ‘musician’ but they are REAL. Life has given us plenty of fodder for songwriting and I think there’s a lot of beauty in having the guts to tell the truth in a song. The truth about the beauty in the strength of a woman whatever her path might be. We want these songs to acknowledge her story, celebrate it and empower her.
CN: Do you have a dream collaboration in mind?
Lauren: If Brandi Carlile ever even tossed us a glance, I’d pass out from joy. Her work is stunning.
CN: If you could describe yourselves in one word, what would it be and why?
Lauren: Grateful. I can’t believe we get to live in this harmony musical joy land sometimes. Still pinch myself coming off the stage.
CN: What was the first concert you ever attended?
Amanda: When I was 9 years old, my family and I attended a Ricky Skaggs concert in Biloxi, MS. This was the first real concert I had ever been to, and even though it was not a huge production, it still left a huge impact on me. I remember falling in love with fiddle music (at the time, Bobby Hicks and Andy Leftwich were both playing fiddle for Ricky) and thinking how awesome it would be to play the fiddle.
CN: With 2018 quickly coming to a close – what do you have planned heading into the new year?
Amanda: The Krickets have several shows coming up in 2019, and hopefully several more in the works, so I’m looking forward to playing some beautiful music with those beautiful ladies. I also anticipate graduating with my degree in Elementary and Special Education in December of 2019. I am very excited about that, as teaching has also been another passion of mine.