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Studio Session: Stick and Bindle release debut album, 'Lore and Laments'

Anne Bangert (left) and Steve Covington of Stick and Bindle.
Juliet Fromholt
Anne Bangert (left) and Steve Covington of Stick and Bindle.

Cincinnati folk/Americana duo Stick and Bindle released their debut album, Lore and Laments, on April 20, 2024. Following the release, bandmates Steve Covington and Anne Bangert visited WYSO’s studios to perform songs from the new album and discuss their creative partnership with Music Director Juliet Fromholt on Kaleidoscope.

Stick and Bindle emerged as a "splinter cell" from Covington's larger project, Steve Covington and The Humble Strays. Bangert joined that band in 2021, and a year later, she and Covington formed Stick and Bindle. "At the time we had six people in the band, and it turns out it's a lot easier to book two people than six people,” Bangert explained. “We got to play all kinds of places and it just kind of took off."

Performing as a duo presented new creative possibilities for both musicians. Covington found a long-sought vocal partner in Bangert. He told Juliet, "I wanted to bring in a female voice to harmonize with... and it worked out that Anne is like the female register of my voice." Bangert expanded her instrumental abilities: "I started as a vocalist for the band, and learned pretty quickly I wanted to pick up guitar—mainly just for writing, but then it kind of turned into us trying to play together."

Today the duo performs side by side on guitar, though both said their songwriting process is largely lyric-driven. Bangert shared, "I tend to be very lyric-focused, and then the music comes second, which I think is not typical." She said this focus results from her background in other forms of writing: "It's been really interesting, because I came at it from a completely different side. I always wrote other things– poetry–but I never turned it into music."

Covington said his experience playing in a jam band in the ‘90s shaped his approach to songwriting. "The jam band thing was 45 minutes of playing and 10 seconds of actual lyrics, so there wasn't a lot of songwriting involved,” he recalled. “About halfway through that stint with that band I started realizing I enjoy putting the two together, the words and the music."

The musicians’ instrumental styles also complement each other, with Bangert focusing on flatpicking and Covington on fingerpicking. Performing together has pushed both musicians to hone their skills; unlike larger ensembles, playing as a duo leaves little space to hide behind other musicians. "The duet has been nice for me musically because I've mostly been a rhythm player, especially in jam band stuff–I just beat that wah pedal to death and played some funky stuff and could kind of hide in the corner," Covington said.

After releasing their first single, “Main Road” in 2023, Bangert and Covington set to work recording a full-length album. Lore and Laments was carefully curated from a larger collection of recordings, with ten tracks and a run time of just under 40 minutes. Bangert explained that the challenge of winnowing the album to fit on a single vinyl record ultimately proved to be artistically rewarding. She told Juliet, "It became a good problem to have, because we had to sit down and really think through which songs do we want—not scraping to get enough, but which ones really complement each other, and which ones do we feel like represent what we're trying to do?"

The album's artwork was created by Alabama songwriter and artist Abe Patridge, based on a photograph by local photographer Kenny Dunn.

Lore and Laments is available on vinyl via Bandcamp or for streaming on all major platforms. The duo have several upcoming performances, including shows at Metamora Opry Barn in Metamora, IN on July 13, Verona Vineyards Farmer's Market in Verona, KY on July 21, and the Butler County Fair in Hamilton, OH on July 24. More information about the duo and their upcoming shows can be found at stickandbindlemusic.com.

Text by Peter Day based on a studio session recorded by Juliet Fromholt on June 26, 2024.

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Juliet Fromholt is proud to be music director at 91.3FM WYSO. Juliet began volunteering at WYSO while working at WWSU, the student station at her alma mater, Wright State University. After joining WYSO's staff in 2009, Juliet developed WYSO’s digital and social media strategy until moving into the music director role in 2021. An avid music fan and former record store employee, Juliet continues to host her two music shows, Alpha Rhythms and Kaleidoscope, which features studio performances from local musicians every week. She also co-hosts Attack of the Final Girls, a horror film review podcast.
Peter Day writes and produces stories for WYSO’s music department. His works include a feature about Dayton's premiere Silent Disco and a profile of British rapper Little Simz. He also assists with station operations and serves as fill-in host for Behind the Groove. Peter began interning at WYSO in 2019 and, in his spare time while earning his anthropology degree, he served as program director for Yale University’s student radio station, WYBC.