Muddy Magnolias have already played gigs that duos with ten times their experience would kill for.
The duo – set to open for rock trio The Record Company Saturday night in Durham – formed in 2014 and their debut album “Broken People” just hit store shelves earlier this month, yet the pair have already played Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
When caught on the phone while on the road, the compatriots – alternatively described as country-blues, rock or soul, depending on who you ask – are only a few days removed from a performance at an event whose name brings to mind a thousand questions that these young women probably aren’t in a position to answer: Kid Rock’s Second Annual Fish Fry in Nashville.
“We had already gone on the Kid Rock Cruise with most of the people there. Five days, out at sea,” Kallie North says with a laugh. “It was actually more fun than you would think. . . . We’re always thankful for good opportunities to play in front of big crowds, and it pays the bills.”
Personal connections built from coincidental encounters lay at the roots of the Magnolias.
The duo met in Nashville. North traveled east from Mississippi to explore songwriting avenues, while Jessy Wilson already had experience on stage.
“Jessie was living in New York, and had been touring and singing backup for John Legend for years,” North says. “She had recently quit that job, because she was wanting to explore herself creatively as a songwriter. I was in Mississippi, just writing songs on my porch and working as a photographer. . . . I had recently given a photograph to a man who worked on Music Row, who then framed it and put it on his desk. Jessie walks in three weeks later, saw the photo, and asked who had taken it. It reminded her of her grandmother in Plains, Ga., and it just spoke to her. The guy called me up and said, ‘Hey, I just met this girl, and I think you two should meet and try to write some songs together.’ And that we did.”
The two formed a friendship and blossomed as artists, and found comfort in Nashville’s community of songwriters.
“Just how open you could be in a creative atmosphere, and how you could just write about anything,” says North. “You could write about any story that had happened to either you, or just someone in your life, and Nashville is just an amazing place to write an amazing song.”
What hasn’t been amazing for the duo has been their experience with record labels. Their original contracted label for “Broken People” – I.R.S. Nashville – shuttered while the duo was in the process of conceptualizing the album. Now signed to Third Generation, the pair have a steady promotional arm pushing them, and the determination to never let another contract situation deter them from their dreams.
“We really reflected on all of the decisions we had made up to that point . . . about what could have been done differently,” says North. “The truth is, you end up right where you are the moment you are supposed to be there, so you can’t really question those kind of things, you just learn and move forward. We got back up, said that we would be the best independent band out there working today, and that’s what we’ve done.”
Who: The Record Company, with Muddy Magnolias
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: Motorco Music Hall, 723 Rigsbee Ave., Durham