Photo courtesy of Kate Daigneault

Pearl and the Beard: one talented trio

The indie folk band will take the stage at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Mojo’s.

By Caroline Bauman | Sept. 13, 2012

Tags: Music


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What do you get when you string together three voices, a cello, a guitar, a glockenspiel, a melodica and drums?

One indie folk sound that’s unlike any other.

Meeting by chance at a New York City open mic night, Jocelyn Mackenzie, Emily Hope Price and Jeremy Styles united their eclectic musical talents to form Pearl and the Beard, and they’ve been developing their own sound ever since.

“I started to play with Jeremy in January of 2008,” Mackenzie says. “Two weeks later we had a joint bank account. That’s how good it felt right off the bat.”

Bright melodies and transcending lyrics in its sophomore album, Killing The Darlings, rocketed the band to indie spotlights everywhere last year, and its reputation for jaw-dropping live performances has earned nods from the likes of The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal.

Pearl and the Beard will take their electrifying performance to Mojo’s this Wednesday, and after traveling to Columbia last year to perform at the True/False Film Fest, Mackenzie says the trio could not be more excited about being back.

“It was so exciting for us to see people — college kids, townies and travelers — excited to be a part of a community,” Mackenzie says of last year’s festival. “The love people have for art in this town isn’t fleeting. It’s safe to say we have a crush on CoMo.”

Whether performing on New York subway platforms or at sold-out theaters, Pearl and the Beard has become known for connecting deeply and intimately with their fans.

“After we finish a show, we often get a lot of very emotional responses (from the crowd),” Price says. “I always walk away thinking, ‘Why?’ On stage, we’re trying to communicate complicated emotions through music, and maybe that’s truly coming across.”

Tracks such as the uplifting “Reverend” or the sobering “The Lament of Coronado Brown” swell with emotion from the three musicians, but leave interpretations to the ears of the beholder.

“To us, a song will make perfect sense, and we’ll listen to it later and be like, ‘Oh, that can come off as really cryptic,’” Mackenzie says. “We write each song as, ‘This is what the song wants to say and here it is.’ We don’t post our lyrics, because we want our listeners to interpret the songs the way they hear them.”

Lyrically and musically, Price says Killing The Darlings brought out a vast array of strengths from the trio.

“We’ve got communicating on a personal level down,” Price says, “But on our second album, we learned how to communicate more on an artistic level with all of our different musical languages.”

All three musicians are strong vocalists, and the fact that each voice gets its moment in the sun leaves the band with a truly rare dynamic.

“We all started as solo artists,” Mackenzie says. “But instead of wanting the center of attention, we want to give each other that moment. Egos never get in the way.”

Another unique dynamic of the band is its two girls to one boy ratio. Price says Styles just fits right in, however.

“It’s good that Jeremy likes to talk about his feelings,” Price says. “But he’s also a manly man. He’s like a lumberjack with feelings.”

Why should students and Columbia natives alike come out next week to see this lumberjack with feelings and his two leading ladies? Price and Mackenzie say this will be an incredible adventure of a tour that’s one not to miss.

“The show is for all ages and is only $10,” Mackenzie says. “You can’t beat that. You could bring a baby or your little brother, and you can definitely bring yourself. You won’t be disappointed with us.”

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