Festivals are places for people to see acts they know and love, and places to discover new artists.
With one song out now and a debut album due soon, Bassh is decidedly on the discovery side of the equation. And this summer, the duo has been getting in front of audiences at events that include Saturday’s MoonTower Music Festival in Lexington’s Masterson Station Park.
“We love playing festivals, because it’s usually a lot more fun than club shows,” says Irishman Jimmy Brown, who partnered with North Carolinian C.J. Hardee to form Bassh. “You run around and meet a lot of people, it’s summertime and a lot of fun.
“I love going out and playing, so I don’t really play differently for any crowd. I don’t make music for anyone else but myself, and I don’t try to please people with what I do, and if people like it ... that’s whenever it becomes a real high-energy event, whenever you can engage people and they’re really into it.”
People have been getting into the group’s first song, “Body,” a lush record with touches of Police-like guitar that has a gritty base in Hardee’s backing vocals.
The record has been around since last fall, but Bassh’s roots go back much further, with the Columbia Records band Matrimony, fronted by Brown and his wife, Ashlee Hardee Brown (who, you might have guessed, is Hardee’s sister), Hardee and their brother Jordan Hardee on drums. The group’s last album was 2014’s “Montibello Drive,” and Brown describes the group’s status as hiatus.
“Our focus is on Bassh at the moment, and we haven’t thought about Matrimony the last year and a half,” Brown says.
He says the brother-in-law duo emerged when he and C.J. started writing songs, and they clicked.
We didn’t really have an agenda; we just made the record. We just had a real blast doing it, and there were no rules; just be crazy and creative doing it, not worrying about what sound it is.
Jimmy Brown of Bassh
“We knew we had a project together,” Brown says.
They got a guiding hand in Bill Reynolds of Band of Horses, who in some early accounts of the group was billed as a member of Bassh, although the group is now promoted as a duo.
“We didn’t really have an agenda; we just made the record,” Brown says. “We just had a real blast doing it, and there were no rules; just be crazy and creative doing it, not worrying about what sound it is. This was a great opportunity to explore and break new ground, I guess, for ourselves.”
The success of “Body” persuaded Brown and Hardee to continue writing and recording, with an album planned this fall.
“There’s one song in particular called ‘Night Moves’ that we’re getting ready to put out,” Brown says. “It’s a song that’s a major big-brother to ‘Body’ but has even more of our influences. It’s a song we’re really psyched about and excited for people to hear.”
The MoonTower audience gets to listen in Saturday.