Supergroup side-projects usually aren’t built to last. That’s how Dusty Sunshine was typically described when the local folk outfit coalesced in the summer of 2010, bringing together members of The Petals, A Crowd of Small Adventures, The Clydesdale and Rubiks Hotel.
- Dusty Sunshine
Yet on October 29, more than a year after its first live appearance, the six-piece band will play its biggest show to date, opening for fast-rising East Coast folk-rock act Deer Tick and celebrating the release of debut album Dusty Sunshine. Clearly, this “supergroup side-project” has staying power.
“When Megan [Wingerter] and I first started writing songs together, and then asked Heidi [Guinn] and Summer [Soll] to join up with us, we really didn’t know what it would be, but we hoped it would turn into something that would last,” says Chani Leavitt, one of Dusty’s four female vocalists. “I think timing has been a big reason it has.”
That timing has helped Dusty Sunshine become the primary musical focus for most of its members. Leavitt’s Rubiks Hotel is a thing of the past. Guinn and Soll’s Petals perform only occasionally these days. And drummer Courtney Carroll’s Kid Meets Cougar hasn’t played a live show in more than a year. That means Dusty mostly just has to contend with Wingerter’s A Crowd of Small Adventures and Carroll and bassist Jason Aragon’s Clydesdale when it comes to avoiding conflicts. “It still takes a lot of planning,” Leavitt says. “All our phones are synced to a Google calendar.”
Not that the six musicians needed to carve out much time for recording. Under the production supervision of Brett Bolton and Mike Weller, Dusty laid down its nine songs in two days—one day each for instrumentation and vocals—at Carroll and Bolton’s home studio ... with occasional trips to the bathroom. “They have a really big bathroom, and we liked the acoustics in there, so that’s where we recorded lead vocals,” Leavitt explains.
Though songs were contributed by all four singers, Dusty Sunshine plays like a cohesive whole—an unfussy, wistful glimpse back at an age when honeyed harmonies and honest lyrics ruled the radio dial. “This is one of the best projects I’ve been part of,” Aragon says. “The way it came together was very organic, and I think we’ve still got a lot we can do with it.”