By Gina Malone
A “great musical blind date” brought together the musicians calling themselves Lovers Leap, whose eponymous, debut EP comes out on April 19. The group is made up of two husband-and-wife duos: Billy Cardine and Mary Lucey, and Shelby Means and Joel Timmons.
The members combine years of talent and experience playing with regional bands. “Billy and I used to play in a group called The Biscuit Burners and we had an incredible run with our bandmates, growing up on the road together for six years,” says Lucey. “Billy has been playing slide guitar for years in the powerhouse group Acoustic Syndicate as well as promoting his own music in various configurations, producing albums and teaching dobro all over the world. Shelby Means played bass for years with the wonderful Della Mae before setting out to play with her now-husband Joel Timmons from Sol Driven Train. They’ve been rocking their duo Sally and George for a few years now.”
Lucey got a nursing degree after her and Cardine’s first son was born and has been working part-time in the ICU at Mission Hospital. “Now that our two boys are growing up, we have been able to start traveling together again and it is really a joyous thing,” she says. “I’m playing the clawhammer style banjo these days and loving it.” She and Cardine moved to Asheville 17 years ago, she says, “because of the rumor that you couldn’t throw a stone without hitting a fiddle player. Our music is certainly influenced by Appalachia, and having been playing around Asheville for so long now, and the Shenandoah Valley and Charlottesville before that, it is part of us as well.” Timmons and Means bring their affinity for the legendary songwriters and players in Nashville to the music, Lucey adds.
The single “Walnut Tree” from the EP was recently released on Spotify. Lucey wrote the song while sitting on her deck gazing at a large walnut tree on the mountainside. “It’s about the subtle power of nature that can help us along when we are in need of clarity or rejuvenation,” she says. “In Japan, they call it ‘shinrinyoku’ (forest bathing) and in Scotland folks can now be prescribed walks in the woods by their doctors.”
The musicians recorded Lovers Leap one or two days at a time over the course of a year, working around their hectic touring schedules and everyday lives, often retreating to Cardine and Lucey’s home studio in Pisgah National Forest outside of Asheville. “I think that if you like original acoustic music, Appalachian, tight, sibling-style harmony and slide guitar that is like none other on the planet, you just might enjoy our music,” Lucey says.
Pre-order Lovers Leap and find out about upcoming shows at the band’s website, LoversLeapBand.com. After its release, the EP will be available on Apple, Amazon and other digital music platforms.