Since emerging on the Americana/folk scene in 2005, The Starlings have been releasing records and touring the nation in a short, yellow bus called Saunders. En route to a dusty venue in the southwest, a cozy listening-room in the Midwest, or a well-burnished club in Boston, they are spurred on by the guitar strum, the kick drum, and the music in the spinning wheels all around us.
“Bright Light” the album was well into production before “Bright Light” the song appeared and jumped to the top of the list. Mills wrote the song in an apartment in the Ballard borough of Seattle, quietly strumming so as not to disturb the tenants above, who were known to bang on the floor. “Bright Light” was written in spite of it, and in homage to the perseverance of musical friends. Once introduced to the band, it became the name of the album and the title track. It also became a highlight of the recording process, as they rounded up local musicians to record the final chorus of the song, as well as film a video, in their local haunt, Conor Byrne Pub.
Known for their three-part harmonies and melodic hooks, The Starlings’ country-folk sound is influenced by the variety of their backgrounds. Original members Joy Mills, Tom Parker and Aimee Tubbs were reared with the juicy mixture of old country, rock ‘n’ roll, musicals, the ’80s, and a long list of songwriters. The Starlings’ previous albums and tours have garnered extensive reviews, chart-listings, spots on year-end lists and favor both here and abroad. Their debut album, Songbook (2006), put them on KEXP’s “Top Ten Northwest Bands” for eight weeks. The Starlings have performed with Todd Snider, The Avett Brothers, Fred Eaglesmith, The Wood Brothers and Eilen Jewell. They are touring nationally in the fall of 2010 in support of “Bright Light,” including a show at Reef on Sept. 9 following their Record Exchange in-store.
“Call it lilt with an edge.” – Leicester Bangs (UK)