By JESSICA A. BOTELHO
For The Borrower’s Debt, an acoustic indie/folk trio based in Los Angeles, California, March brought along the release of their debut EP, “A Treehouse Narrative,” and June found them immersed in a nine-show tour of the East Coast, giving fans their nostalgic sound and guitar-driven music.
These days, the band is gigging throughout L.A., working on another album and fondly remembering the unique and unexpected way they formed last year.
After being friends and working together for about six months, Tommy Gardner, the band’s baritone voice, and Jordan Hearn, the band’s alto voice, realized they had similar taste in music and began playing together. In time, they decided they needed a soprano and posted an ad on Craigslist hoping to find the missing link.
“We really love three-part harmony and we wanted that to be a part of the group,” said Hearn, who is originally from Arkansas.
To their delight, Callie Ray replied and they set up an audition at Hearn’s apartment in Burbank. However, to their horror, they were locked out.
“It was hilarious because I was meeting these people for the first time and they were just standing on the sidewalk with their guitars like, ‘We can’t get in the apartment so I guess we’re just going to play out here,’” said Ray, a New Jersey native who also plays guitar, ukulele, and flute. “It was surprisingly comfortable for how awkward that could have been. It was a memorable audition.”
Gardner agreed and said most of the try-out was held in the back of Ray’s hatchback Ford Escort. Nevertheless, they liked what they heard and hired her.
“We were on the side of the road playing songs and felt our voices sounded really well together,” said Gardner, former guitarist for the now-dissolved Rhode Island band, Someday Providence. “That’s become the vibe of the band – we play anywhere. There’s no place too big or too small.”
While Ray wasn’t involved with the writing process of “A Treehouse Narrative,” her vocals appear on the album and she has been contributing to the band’s current writings.
Also, Gardner produced the six-track album and co-wrote it with Hearn at Hearn’s
apartment, which resembles a tree house, hence the album’s title. Then, they recorded it at Gardner’s place.
“I would bring in a musical idea and only have one or two lines and Jordan and I would create more,” Gardner said. “He’d give me his input about where he thought the song should go. It was a collaborative effort.”
As noted, all three members play guitar, with Gardner also playing piano, and Hearn bringing his banjo and harmonica skills to the mix. The band cites Good Old War, The Civil Wars, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, and Alison Krauss & Union Station as some of their biggest influences.
To purchase “A Treehouse Narrative,” check out other merchandise or learn more about The Borrower’s Debt, visit theborrowersdebt.com.