Multi-instrumentalists Katie Larson and Savannah Buist are creating quite a name for themselves among music lovers of all genres. Described as, “A duo giving an edge to folk with unique instrumentation," Z93 FM DJ, Matt Mansfield writes: “Combine musicality, originality and melodic beauty with a welcome and unexpected bite to clever lyrics and you've got Accidentals music. Songwriters, look no farther to find a new pairing to be jealous of, especially with such a bright future ahead of them.”
They met in 2011 at their public high school. Katie (15) was a freshman cello player, “playing up” in the Philharmonic Orchestra and Savannah (16) was Concert Master, violinist. They volunteered for a class assignment that threw them together for their first rehearsal and The Accidentals were born.
Growing up in musical families with professional pianists for fathers and vocalist for mothers, their influences bounced between classical, jazz, bluegrass, country, alt-rock, and the obscure. Their collective playlist you won’t find on mainstream radio. They are “explorers and admirers” of indie music greats like Andrew Bird, St. Vincent, Sufjan Stephens, Arcade Fire, Ben Folds, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Sarah Jaffe (and the Beatles). Their original tunes reflect their exposure to a wide variety of instruments while staying true to their orchestral roots. In addition to the tight harmonies, guitar, bass, glockenspiel, mandolin, banjo, piano, organ, accordion, and kazoo...you can’t miss the edgy violin and cello that defines this duo.
In 2012, these two ladies auditioned for and snagged a coveted spot in the first ever singer-songwriter major at the renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts High School - around the time they released their first self-produced album, Tangled Red and Blue. In early reviews of Tangled Red and Blue, Kristi Kates of The Northern Express was the first to say what everyone was thinking, “It’s difficult to believe that music this accomplished is being crafted by two talents who are still in high school - but that’s The Accidentals’ story.”
In two short years (2011-2013), they would write and record two albums, play as guest artists on several others, score three films, and land song placements in several commercials, documentaries, independent films, and music compilations while playing over five hundred live shows and maintaining a 3.9 + GPA.
In 2013 The Accidentals opened for some of their favorite artists, Andrew Bird, Sixto Rodriguez (Sugar Man), Brandi Carlile, Rusted Root, The Wailers, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and hopped an RV to tour their home state of Michigan for a consecutive seven weeks while finishing and releasing their second album, Bittersweet.
The GR Press called their stage show “stunning, an unforgettable experience watching these two girls play a sea of instruments (twelve to be exact), moving effortlessly from one to the other, while entertaining the masses with their wit, haunting harmonies, and catchy melodies, they are truly unforgettable.”
Fifteen track album Bittersweet was recorded with award winning producers in Nashville and Indiana in March 2013. According to UK Magazine, Leicester Bangs: “The lyrical flow is intriguing and absorbing – and so complex as to draw comparison to Joanna Newsom in full poetic flight.” DW Magazine, UK adds; “heady folk and sweet melodies embellish an accomplished set of songs - Larson and Buist have found their trademark sound but they’re not going to let it get in the way of a little diversity.”
Late in 2013, they composed an original score for an independent film called "One Simple Question" that released in November 2014 at Blue Ocean Film Festival, and their songs "The Silence,” "City of Cardboard,” and "Miso Soup" were selected for use in a second indie film, called "Please Wait To Be Seated" that was released in Mar. 2014. "The Silence" was licensed to Shanty Creek Resorts for commercial in 2015.
Reviews of their song “The Silence” landed them a featured artist spot on ReverbNation’s home page and put their new album in rotation on CBS Radio. It also garnered the attention of songwriting legend, Marshall Crenshaw, and Grammy award winning engineer and producer Stewart Lerman. The band signed a four album contract with ILO (Lerman and Crenshaw's Production Company).
In 2014, The Accidentals added multi-instrumentalist, Michael Dause, on drums and percussion and toured the west, mid-west, and east coast extensively including shows with Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie, Keller Williams, Carbon Leaf, JohnnySwim, Darlingside etc.
In 2015, the band won Traverse Magazine’s “Red Hot Best” of Northern Michigan Music for their third year in a row, as well as The Emerging Artists Series at Summerfest. They were named one of the top seven breakout artists at SXSW 2015 by Billboard Magazine. Their album, Bittersweet, won "Album of the Year" and the band landed, "Best New Artist" 2015 WYCE Jammie awards. Their song, The Silence, won St. Cecilia, Art Prize People's Choice.
After working with ILO (Marshall and Stewart’s production company) for almost two years (2014-2016), the band decided, at the completion of their contractual obligation, to take a more independent route and make it a goal to release music at the pace at which they continue to grow. They released their self produced, Parking Lot EP for free in 2016 and found a new home with Sony Masterworks at the close of the year. They are excited to release their first album with major distribution in the summer of 2017. The first single “KW” (wsg Keller Williams) off the album, was born on March 10th2017 as the band made their way to their third SXSW in Austin TX for a series of showcases.