“Combining contemporary influences with traditional folk is something we’ve always done, but we really played into that mix on this record.”
We get loads of incoming music at the Dig, all sorts of it promising. Sweet Petunia’s powerful crisp acoustic style stands out even among comparable folk-ish acts, so much so that we’re sure you will be hearing them on more and more bills in the coming year.
With two EPs in play and a full-length in the works, we asked Maddy and Mairead about their latest singles, including “People Watching” which caught our attention, as well as their past and upcoming projects plus show dates …
The name Sweet Petunia is fantastic, and surprisingly has less competition on Google than I would have expected. Is there a long story behind it or it is just a good name?
Sweet Petunia is what my (Mairead) great grandfather would call his granddaughters. My mother suggested it as a band name to me when I was probably 14 and I liked it so much that I kept it until I met Maddy.
Your latest project is a bit harder, a move toward a heavier sound, in your words. Will the name still fit in a few albums from now?
That’s one of the best parts of our band, that we can seem so unassuming and people can think they know what we’re going to sound like based on our name/what we look like to them, and then we start performing and it’s nothing like what they expected. I think the sentimentality behind the name reflects in our music, and we’ll never lose that regardless of how heavy our future projects may end up becoming.
We hear a few things going on here—rock, folk, some hints of bluegrass, dare we say Celtic influences? Was any particular inspiration stuck in your heads while recording this?
Before we started this project, we put together a list of some of the stuff we had been listening to individually that we wanted to pull from during the production process. Examples being “Boys” by Lizzo, “Dear Someone” by Gillian Welch, “Aaron” by Palehound, and also a lot of Dolly Parton. Combining contemporary influences with traditional folk is something we’ve always done, but we really played into that mix on this record.
Classifications suck, but is there a particular type of bill that you like to be on? Or a kind of venue that holds your music particularly well?
We love to play with all sorts of bills. We’ve played with country bands, punk bands, jazz bands, experimental bands, and more. Our favorites are bills that are surprising, that bring together different groups of people that wouldn’t necessarily just hang out naturally. There aren’t many folk artists in the DIY scene here in Boston, so we’ve gotten pretty good at adapting to all kinds of lineups, but the best are when the whole room goes silent to listen to us.
We have asked this of everyone, naturally, but how has your music grind changed in the past year?
In the past, we rushed through the production process and put out music that we weren’t truly satisfied with for the sake of putting out content. The past two years have been a great reminder that everyone will not in fact forget about us if we take our time. We’ve also been putting more emphasis on playing in new cities, and hope to have a full East Coast tour booked for the early spring soon.
Are you back to doing shows? Where can people check you two out in the next couple of months?
We are incredibly grateful to be playing shows again. We’ve got our EP release show on November 5th at a house venue in Allston which you can find more info about on our Instagram @sweetpetuniaband. As well we’re so excited to be going on tour in California from November 14-30 with our good friends in Winkler. We’ll be announcing more Boston shows (along with a couple other East Coast cities) in December shortly!