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Kimberley-based married music duo launch kickstarter to fund tenth album together

The Eisenhauers share songs from the most difficult point in their 25 years together
The Eisenhauers, Sheree and Jeremy, have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help get them into the studio to record their tenth album together. Louis Bockner photo.

Moving to a new town, starting a new business, building a house and having a fourth child could put a lot of strain on any family. Factor in navigating a global pandemic and the strain can sometimes reach a breaking point.

This is where Kimberley-based musicians The Eisenhauers found themselves a couple of years ago. Now, Jeremy Eisenhauer and Sheree Plett-Eisenhauer, who’ve been together nearly 25 years, have been through it all and come out on the other side intact. They’ve recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund what will be their tenth album.

Entitled “Harmony Through Hard Times,” this next record will be an exercise in vulnerability, sharing songs written about the hardest moments in their relationship, and the story of how these songs have brought them back into love together.

The two met while in college on the Coast. Jeremy had heard of Plett’s music before actually meeting her, so he said with a laugh that one night he approached her in the dark in a Tim Horton’s parking lot to properly introduce himself; the beginnings of a true Canadian romance.

“We fell in love on the road basically,” he said. “I came to her shows, she came to mine — we were both doing our own songwriting thing and then we did a tour with a bunch of friends across western Canada and hit it off together.”

After they got married, Jeremy quit his job in construction and they went on a two-month tour out of their Subaru Legacy, travelling and playing music. They’ve been doing it ever since.

They played in a band in Vancouver for around a decade, but when they were priced out of the rental market there, they moved with Sheree’s mom to Kaslo. She sadly passed away shortly after they arrived there.

“Grief and sorrow tend to be a good sort of garden bed for writing music,” Jeremy said. “We weren’t really sure what we were going to do, because we weren’t with our band anymore, but Sheree was writing all these really great songs and so we thought let’s try and play as a duo and see how that goes.”

At first, he added, they didn’t enjoy that. Once they figured out a different way to do the sound — that is using a single condenser mic between them in traditional Bluegrass fashion — they realized they could create a vast dynamic range with just the two of them.

They then toured in that style and decided they wanted to put together a new record with all those songs they played, written about their move to Kaslo and the loss of Sheree’s mother. They reached out to their friend Steve Dawson, who they knew from Vancouver, that had relocated to Nashville. They went down, made a record called “The Road We Once Knew” and Dawson signed them to his label Black Hen Music.

This lead them to playing to bigger audiences in more ideal venues; with crowds who were there to hear their sound. Suddenly they were playing in folk clubs, rather than touring dive bars.

Two years ago, they moved again, this time to Kimberley and built a new house. Shortly before, Josiah, their fourth child, came along in the summer of 2019, just before the pandemic began. They said that up until their fourth kid, they were able to keep up with their music and Sheree was still homeschooling their children.

However, after Josiah came along and the pandemic began, playing music stopped making as much sense as it had before.

“So we stopped [playing music] and we moved from Kaslo to Kimberley, we built this place and we were both pretty burnt out at the end of the move and building this house and everything,” Jeremy reflected. “So we were in unfamiliar territory for us, we were both really burnt out and our marriage wasn’t jiving all that great.”

While in couples therapy, Jeremy said their therapist asked them: “So you guys played music together your whole relationship, and now you’re not, and you assume that’s all good?”

“Music has always been, from that day in the parking lot, a way that we’ve had a very deep connection, playing music together,” Sheree said.

The two had separated, but were still living under the same roof and knew the intention alwys was to work things out, for themselves, their children and their music. Sheree said that after everything blew up in the fall, they made the decision to stop homeschooling their kids. Putting them in school gave her some time to be by herself, which is when the songs started to come.

“Having these songs be such a part of processing everything and figuring out what’s going on and the songs weren’t actually meant to be shared,” she said. “Then months along our journey we were realizing that these songs were actually a bridge back to one another again.”

Jeremy recalls reading the liner notes in a record of artists Buddy and Julie Miller, which read something along the lines of “Sometimes it’s the ones that hurt the most that are the ones that are the most worth sharing.”

“I remember reading that and processing it because I was hearing these songs that Sheree was writing and I thought they were really good, but they’re all about how I broke her heart and how we’re having this struggle and I don’t really feel like sharing that,” he said. “That’s hard to share, it hurts.”

He said the realization that sharing these songs, despite how vulnerable that process would be, could not only bring them back to each other, but could, in time, potentially inspire others who have dealt with similar strife in their own lives.

“You hear about marriages splitting up all over the place, you hear about bands splitting up a lot, especially through the pandemic,” he said. “And not that we wanted to tout ourselves as being like some example, because we’re not, but at least we’re going to stick together. And even though these songs are about some pretty rough stuff, we’re going to stay together and that’s going to be the narrative rather than, yeah we split-up and that was it.”

They now have around 15 songs that they will record at the end of April at The Warehouse Studio, the famous recording studio in Vancouver’s Railtown, owned by Canadian rock legend Bryan Adams. They will work with a talented cast of musicians on the record, in one of the best spaces to make music one could imagine.

To do this, however, requires a great deal of money, which is why they’ve launched the Kickstarter campaign. They’d done it once before, for their 2017 album, but Jeremy describes the process as “humiliating on a certain level.”

“It’s like we’ve been making music for 20 years, shouldn’t we be to the point where we can just go and make a record?” he said. “Shouldn’t we have a fanbase or a record label that pays for it all? And it’s just not really the nature of our music, or I think a lot of other artists.”

On the other hand, the process invites their huge network of fans, supporters, family and friends into their team and they become a part of the process themselves in a very intimate way.

There are numerous different rewards supporters get for donating, ranging all the way from a digital download of the new album for $10 all the way to a private house concert for $1,000.

The campaign is well on its way to their $18,000 goal, having just surpassed the $10,000 mark earlier this week.

To promote this campaign, the duo have collaborated with Natalie Skokan and Oliver McQuaid to put on a concert at Centre 64 on April 17. McQuaid will open the show with a set of all original music before The Eisenhauers take the stage.

Tickets are $25, with doors at 6:30 and the show starting at 7. You can support the Kickstarter campaign here:

About the Author: Paul Rodgers

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