Nationally known trio returns to Enterprise
ENTERPRISE — Joseph has made a national name for itself with appearances in support of their second album, “I’m Alone, No You’re Not.” They return for their fourth Wallowa County appearance when the take the stage at Enterprise’s OK Theatre April 26.
The trio of sisters, Natalie Closner Schepman and Allison and Meegan Closner have taken the music world by storm over the last 12 months. Last May, they released their single “White Flag.” It reached No. 1 on the Adult Alternative Songs chart in October. “I’m Alone, No You’re Not” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and remained at the top of the chart for two weeks. Joseph made its television debut performing “White Flag” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, followed by appearances on Ellen, Conan and CBS This Morning.
The launch from an Oregon-based band to national fame has the sisters working at a rigorous pace. During a rare three-week break, Meegan Closner talked with Go! about the band, fame and life on the road.
“White Flag” has a dance beat but is an anthem for freedom of expression and courage as the chorus shouts, “I could surrender but I’d just be pretending, no I’d rather be dead than live a lie — burn the white flag.”
It opens with “Your yelling’s getting loud, Keep it down now, keep it down now” to which Closner-Schepman responds to the authoritarian voice with “I’ll be an army, no you’re not gonna stop me gettin’ through. I’ll sing a marching song and stomp through the halls louder than you.”
Meegan Closner said the song is an example of the band’s reaction to current events without being overly preachy.
“We wrote (‘White Flag’) in a time of fear and anxiety — we decided there is no use becoming crippled by it so we had a choice: stop and hide in our houses and protect ourselves and stay safe or continue to live our lives and go out on the road,” Closner said.
She likened their sentiment to a quote from C.S. Lewis’ essay “On Living in an Atomic Age” written in 1948.
Lewis wrote, “The first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb, when it comes, find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs.”
“More Alive than Dead” follows “White Flag” on the album and brings a more mellow mood. Its luscious harmonies and dreamy piano accompaniment would go well with a glass of pinot noir as would the last two songs on the album, “Honest” and “Sweet Dreams.” The Closner sisters’ voices blend and soar magnificently on “Sweet Dreams” as they close out their 10-song collection with a lullaby.
Despite the fame, Closner said life on the road feels like hard work.
“It’s been nuts,” Closner said. “It’s still a grind. It doesn’t feel like we’ve made it.”
Their schedule is booked into the fall with festivals, small clubs and even a three-stadium tour opening for Faith Hill and Tim McGraw in Tacoma, Washington, Portland and Boise, Idaho.
With so much concentration on performing in support of “I’m Alone, No You’re Not,” Closner said they don’t have any current plans to record, but they carve out time to write on their days off.
“We are trying to get ahead of the curve so we don’t have to write under panic,” Closner said.
Right now they are playing around with what Closner called “a bunch of half songs.” When they are fleshed out, she said, they will try them out live and see how the audiences respond. Those audiences are what keep Joseph going night after night.
“The live experience is very good, “Closner said. “The more you play the songs the more they become what they are. We have the best audiences. It’s been really fantastic.”
Closner said they recently added a full band, musicians they hired in New York, where Closner-Schepman now lives. She said the audiences have responded favorably.
“Everyone loves them. I think we are better loud, and the band enhances the entire thing,” Closner said.
Catch Joseph at the OK Theatre in Enterprise April 26. Doors open at 6 p.m. Bailen opens at 7 p.m. Joseph appears at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 at www.eventbrite.com, M. Crow and Company in Lostine, Dollar Stretcher in Enterprise and Joseph Hardware in Joseph.