California-based husband-and-wife duo Andrew Stern and Laura Arias of 3 Pairs of Boots will release Long Rider in January 2021. The record demonstrates the pair’s unmistakable chemistry and honing of their Americana-driven sound, as evidenced by the single, “Everywhere I Go”. The track bridges the distance between traditional and contemporary country: An unmistakable lyric hook and jangling guitars mix with drums meant to drive the listener to the dance floor. On the lyrical front, the song taps into the troubadour’s desire for wandering and learning.
“Searching for something special, new adventures, and being OK with not having something permanent, do any of us really have that? Memories of family and friends can help you feel at home no matter where you are.” Arias adds, “The poet Rumi allegedly said, ‘If light is in your heart you will find your way home.’ That’s peak self-actualization. I love that truth that we’re never truly alone. Everywhere we go is home.”
Stern and Arias had planned on a June 2020 release for the record and begun laying the groundwork for its promotion. There was talk of both publicity and radio campaigns, video shoots and, of course, live shows. “All that went out the window,” Stern says, after the arrival of the COVID 19 pandemic. Months of planning then became months of waiting and re-planning.
Photo: Eric Wolfinger / Courtesy of Hello Wendy
“I’m personally very good with deadlines,” Stern, an accountant by training, says. “If you’re not good with them, accounting is probably not the profession to be in.” He continues, “I love this record. We put a lot of time and effort into it. But where we started and where we ended up were two different places. When we finished mastering the record, there was a song, ‘Summer of Love’, where we loved the lyrics and the vibe, but the production and structure didn’t fit everything else. We re-worked it so that it fit better. We were growing, evolving, and learning through the process.”
In all, the pair composed 12 songs for the recording, leaving two behind. “Laura is like the in-house A&R. For every three songs I write, she’ll let one pass through to the next step, which is to make a quick demo and see if it’s good enough to take into final production.”
Stern is quick to praise drummer Christian Paschall (Maren Morris), who lent his talents to the sessions. “He lives in Nashville and sends us tracks. He played three or four passes on everything, sent them to me, and then I comped the performances together. He’s going to play on the next record as well.”
Long Rider stands as a testament to the pair’s chemistry, which is remarkable because they met under somewhat unlikely circumstances. Stern had been working on a project with a lyricist, but both he and his partner knew they had to find a singer. “I can hit the pitch,” Stern says, “but I’m not much of a singer.”
He placed a local add and hoped for the best. He’d visit with each person who responded, in their homes and determine whether they’d work. Arias was among those who responded. Stern went to hear her sing and was surprised by the number of playpens in her space. “I went to her house, looked around, and said, ‘How many kids do you have?’ She said, ‘I don’t have any. I run a daycare.'”
The pair agreed to work together, and then Stern heard nothing. “A month went by, and I called her and said, ‘Are you still interested? She said, ‘Yeah, but I lost your number.’ If I hadn’t called her back, my life would have been completely different. Within a year of that, we were married.”
Now the pair have two albums under the belt and a third on the horizon. Stern says, “We’re already thinking about the next record, which could be out in early 2022. We keep improving, getting better.”