I was walking down Lower Broadway in Nashville in the sweltering summer heat. Honky tonk music venues adorning gaudy retro signs lined the streets; slow-moving crowds spilled over the sidewalk, faces flushed with heat and a couple of 2pm beers, perhaps. It was my second day in Nashville – the South, as a whole – and I was feeling slightly disoriented by how smiley everyone was, how wide the sidewalks were, the predominance of families and children.
That was when I heard an otherworldly, high-pitched sound amidst the crowd. It was melodic yet utterly bizarre, like an alien humming an ethereal tune. I walked further down the block to find a couple of buskers performing on the sidewalk – one on vocals and banjo, the other on a saw violin. Their friend Rude complimented me on my labaret. I thanked him and asked to take a photo of the performers. After taking a series of horribly lit shots, I proceeded to walk down to the end of the block… only to turn back and ask them if they were willing to do a proper shoot with me after they were done busking. They kindly agreed.
And boy am I lucky they did. I had the opportunity to spend a couple hours talking with Annalise Lovelace and Mars Odette of The Cloud of Unknowing, a nomadic freakfolk duo that performs across the US and lives out of a van. Annalise and Mars met in New Orleans and have been traveling together since. They picked up Rude – a trumpet player, as it turns out – along the way and were en route to St. Louis. Their friendly and humble dispositions belied their worldliness. Thanks so much for letting me make pictures with you guys. Safe travels to LA!
Do yourself a solid and follow them below: