Every artist wants their newest album to be the one that feels the most like them; that hits all the right chords and rings true to who they are.
For sibling rockers Jocelyn & Chris, “Favorite Ghosts” actually does that.
“It’s the most confident we’ve ever been in writing music,” said Chris Arndt.
The record, which will officially be released on June 17, is years in the making. The Fort Plain natives started writing some of the songs back in 2018-2019 and had some recorded before COVID-19 hit. They went back into the studio to rework and record the rest during the pandemic.
They’re slated to perform two sets at Caffe Lena on Saturday, one by-request show and following that a “Favorite Ghosts” premiere performance.
“Favorite Ghosts” runs the gamut when it comes to genre and sees the siblings exploring new sonic territory.
At times, it features the gritty, hard-rock sound that local (and not so local) listeners have come to expect from the Arndts, and that’s a good thing. Songs like “Break Me Down” especially showcase Chris’ distinctive guitar playing and Jocelyn’s powerful, Janis Joplinesque vocals.
Then, with tracks like “Black & Blue,” there comes a sultry sound, rooted in jazz, that feels new for the band. On “Mercy Me,” they bring a soulful sound and with “Popcorn” they head toward singer-songwriter and “Sugar & Spice” brings out the funk.
We know what we do with music and we have a style. Now that we’ve found what the style is, and we know what the facets of it are, we’re a lot freer to like explore different genres,” Chris said. “[It lets] us bring… a lot of the kinds of music that have influenced us and that we love into the fold because we [don’t] have to worry about one song not sounding like it fit.”
They worked with longtime collaborator David Bourgeois of White Lake Music & Post, along with Joel Moss, a Grammy Award-winning producer, and Byron Issacs of The Lumineers, to record the album.
“We’ve been working with David for 10 years, which is actually crazy to say,” Jocelyn said. “He’s in our music family, so we always work with him on our records. He’s been our producer forever. But then for this record, we brought Joel Moss onto the team and it was really great working with him.”
“I would say David has had a stronger hand than anybody [in] shaping our sound in the studio for our past eight records, this one included, and Joel really fit in, in that he was really focused in on my vocal performance,” Jocelyn said. “He helped direct me in the booth in a way that was really cool.”
The album’s release has been pushed back a few times, mainly because of COVID-19.
“It’s really important to us that whenever we release music, we can go out and play it for people and we can go and visit radio stations and talk to real people who are going to listen to it. We’ve always approached releasing music from a relationship-focused perspective. It was really obviously difficult to do that during a global lockdown,” Jocelyn said.
While Jocelyn & Chris have performed some of the singles, like “Sugar & Spice” and “Skeleton Key,” at a few shows, Saturday’s show will mark the first time they’ll have performed it track by track.
“I’m very excited to be able to play the full album and also to play the whole thing this summer all over the country” Jocelyn said.
From June through September they’ll keep up a steady touring schedule, heading across the country and back again.
“It’s our busiest touring schedule we’ve ever had, irrespective of COVID or anything. Our new agent is killing it and I think everyone’s so excited for live music to start happening naturally again,” Chris said.
Saturday’s by-request show kicks off at 5 p.m. and the “Favorite Ghosts” premiere show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15-30. For more information visit caffelena.org.