While Mad Crush are set to release their self-titled debut LP, Joanna Sattin and John Elderkin have been collaborating for years. That goes to explain the artists’ inimitable, undeniable qualities as a duo, playing off of one another with an instantly infectious melding of charisma, heart, and sass. Though Mad Crush is a serious endeavor for the North Carolina front-people and their band—drummer Chuck Garrison and violinist Laura Thomas—it’s their knack for often imbuing humor in their work alongside the heartache that elevates them onto a plane relative to other great duos in roots music, like Johnny Cash and June Carter. They take influence from these very names, and it shows in their delightful, banter-full work.
“Stay in Bed” captivates with its heartful charms straightaway, with a lilting arrangement that accentuates the back-and-forth between Sattin and Elderkin. The acoustic number comes further alive with its subtle, swirling incorporation of Thomas’ fiddle, flourishing in vibrant colors across the song’s bridge.
On the song, Elderkin tells PopMatters, “I’d been listening to Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton duets after a heavy dose of June Carter and Johnny Cash. The sassy back-and-forth songs. But this one popped out as its own thing, thankfully. I like that it uses mundane chores as a way into daydreaming about love. Take a good listen to Laura Thomas’ violin solo here. It’s fabulous, and it helped define the Mad Crush sound. She creates a space that’s a little bit country but also formal in a slightly classical way, too. We all followed her lead from here.”