by Andrew Norman
The abandoned two-level, open-faced barn and hayloft that sits near The Golden Hearts' rented property outside of Greensboro, N.C., stands as a sentinel over a couple acres of former ranch land that over the last 50 or so years has been invaded and reshaped by bushes, shrubs and vines that stretch to the tops of the giant trees that form the back wall of its natural amphitheater. Naked on one side to the elements but protected from the sky by a sturdy roof and overhang, the barn resembles a chest during open-heart surgery. Exposed, vulnerable, but in the able hands of whoever pounded nails into its wooden frame structure so many years ago.
As a couple and as a band, The Golden Hearts' Katey Sleeveless and Adam Hawkins (It's True) stand as bravely vulnerable as this old barn — with their metaphorical hearts open to the humid air. Strong enough and ready to tackle whatever comes.
The way they find themselves exemplifies this courage. Hawkins released It's True's second full-length (one of my favorite albums of the year) with two packed concerts in Omaha and Lincoln in 2011 that featured a very pregnant Sleeveless on keys. Then they said goodbye (for now) to the Midwest and struck out from Grimes, Iowa, in an old RV, playing shows along the way for income. (They each performed solo, taking turns watching then-infant son Lio in the motor home when the other was on stage.) They were headed for the Carolinas, and they made it to Greensboro before the clutch went out.
On Day 11 of the 2012 Love Drunk Tour, they welcomed six of us Omahans into their new home, where we smoked a chicken, traded stories of travel, pulled ticks off their dog, Chamero, and in about 40 hours, became a sort of family. As the sun began to set below the treeline, on burnt-orange piedmont soil just inside the barn's open chest, we captured this full heart beating a new song.
Six Love Drunk videographers went on tour shooting live, one-take videos with bands across the eastern part of the U.S., spreading the word about Nebraska music along the way from May 4-20. This was day 11 of the 17-day tour. Learn more about the project and the tour here. Watch all the videos here.
audio recorded/mixed by Django G-S
video directed/edited by Django G-S
* performed Monday, May 14, 2012
Andrew Norman is Hear Nebraska's editor-in-chief. Right before we started recording, a hawk flew over the barn, across the field and through the trees. Contact him at email@example.com.