The Framers  |  Photo Credit Reinventing the Squeal

The Framers | Photo Credit Reinventing the Squeal

The Framers could possibly trace their beginnings to several years ago when Matt Scruggs and Michael Howland decided to try their hands at playing music as an acoustic alt-country duo, a genre they both had recently become more enamored of after years of being influenced by 90s alternative rock. Both had been playing music for roughly half their lives (Michael focused on just guitar while Matt became a multi-instrumentalist early on, picking up the drums along with the guitar and eventually bass, and writing his own songs almost from the beginning) but only met and started playing together in 2005. They traded off duties on acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, and a kick drum and hi-hat, behind which one of them would sit while playing guitar or bass. However, this project did not last very long and the band does not really consider this the beginning.

Fast forward to October of 2012. The two decided to try the duo again, though with a different set up. Matt would focus on the acoustic guitar and lead vocal duties, while Michael would play the electric guitar, as well as the mandolin and plectrum banjo, instruments he had recently picked up. For percussion, Matt stood behind a kick drum and Michael stood behind a hi-hat with a tambourine thrown on for good measure. They wrote a few songs, retooled a few of Matt's older songs, and liked the sound and feel well enough to pick a proper band name: The Framers.

How fortunate it was then that they met Maria Thomas a few months into this new venture. She told them that she played bass but confessed that it had been some time since she had done so. Still, she was itching to pick up those four strings and start playing music again. Matt and Michael invited her to come to a practice at Matt's house. It is well that she did, because The Framers would not be the band they are without her.  They soon found out she brought still more, in the form of back-up vocals and the ethereal, reverb drenched lap steel guitar on "Through It All".

Now a trio, the band felt complete. Not only was the sound now fully fleshed out but the personal chemistry between the three made the extended time together that is required to write, practice, and perfect songs a thing to look forward to. All three share a joy for playing music and contribute their unique voice to the songs that range in style from alternative country to indie rock, showing influences from artists such as Wilco, the Avett Brothers, Sparklehorse, the Beatles, and Jack White.

The Framers have finished recording their debut album, Sunlight Fever, and they are looking forward to sharing their music with the world. Look for The Framers at the Out of the Box Festival on June 14th! 

Rabbit by The Framer - Peninsula Fine Arts Center, Newport News

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