Sibling rockers Jocelyn and Chris Arndt had big plans for 2020.
“We had plans to release the new record,” Jocelyn said. “We’d just been on NBC’s Today Show and we had a whole tour planned and we were going to go all the way out to the west coast and back like our usual summer plans, and have new music to share with everybody and it was going to be great.”
All their plans went out the window at the onset of the pandemic. While the two hunkered down at home with their parents, grandmother and all their pets in Fort Plain, they live-streamed performances, nicknamed “Couch Concerts,” regularly.
“I don’t know what we would have done if [the pandemic] happened even five or ten years ago just because all of a sudden everything stopped and the only way that we could play music for people, which is basically what we do, was live stream,” Chris said. “It developed into a pretty wholesome online community of people who we could just count on seeing every couple of days.”
It also gave them more time to work on “Favorite Ghosts,” which is slated to be released in early 2022.
“Chris and I have traditionally been used to cranking out an album every year, which I love because whatever we’re currently releasing or playing out live is like what we just wrote in a way,” Jocelyn said. This time around, they had months and months to further develop the songs.
“We were so excited to release this music last year and I think it ended up being a little bit of a silver lining [that] we got to work on it for a long time,” Chris said. “It’s become the truest representation of us as musicians. I know that’s a very cliche thing to say but I also legitimately believe that’s true this time around. We’re really proud of it.”
The 11-track album will stay true to the Jocelyn & Chris take on rock, though it will expand on that sound.
“There’s some harder edge stuff than traditionally we’ve released but then there’s the funkier side . . . there’s some more reflective songs. There’s a killer ballad that it’s almost a capella, which I don’t think we’ve ever done before,” Jocelyn said.
They released the first single, “Sugar and Spice,” in June this year. The psychedelic earworm showcases Jocelyn’s powerful vocals and Chris’ guitar chops, and its earned radio plays across the country. The music video has also been featured on MTV.
“. . . Somewhere between like 30 or 40 [radio stations] have been planning it enough that we’ll go to a place like Illinois and people will be singing along, which is . . . insane. It made our year,” Chris said.
They dove headfirst back into touring last summer, starting with 10 shows in 10 days across the midwest. Playing live, in-person shows again was nerve-racking at first.
“I was very excited obviously but also I think more nervous than I’ve been in a long time,” Jocelyn said. “But we really had to shake off the cobwebs quickly, which I think ended up being a good thing.”
At this point in the tour, they’ve covered something close to 20,000 miles in their Sprinter touring van.
“It’s pretty cozy but we’d all been in lockdown for 18 months so . . . we’re all used to being in tight quarters anyway. Even with the normal struggles of touring life, I think being able to go out there again after so long we were all like ‘we’re not going to be grumpy about anything. We can’t because we’re actually doing this again finally,’” Jocelyn said.
They kept up a blistering pace all summer long and it ended up being one of the busiest seasons of their careers, which is perhaps surprising given the persistent concerns of COVID-19.
“But everyone was so ready for live music to start happening again. Nobody’s ever going to take it for granted again. I think it was something that everyone thought was always going to be there and then when it wasn’t, everyone realized how much they missed it,” Jocelyn said.
On Tuesday, they’ll return to Albany for a Cash for Coats benefit concert at the Palace Theatre.
“We’re really happy to be involved in the cause,” Jocelyn said. “It’s going to be a Couch Concert on location with the band so it’ll be a semi-acoustic show . . . I love playing like that because we get to mess around a bit more and play new things; try out new ways of playing old songs.”
And yes, they’ll be bringing their couch to the show.
Cash for Coats concert featuring Jocelyn & Chris and Laveda
WHEN: 6 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: Palace Theatre, Albany
TICKETS: $25 or more donation
MORE INFO: palacealbany.org.
NOTE: The concert will also be recorded and aired as an upcoming episode of the Palace Sessions video series, in collaboration with Mirth Films. Food will be provided by The Hollow Bar and Kitchen.