Rising Band The FBR Make Studio Magic

Franklin-based duo The FBR is celebrating the January release of debut album Ghost, a project tinged with country, rock, and blues influences. Comprised of Malarie McConaha and Tim Hunter, the band recently wrapped a residency at Lieper’s Fork watering hole Fox & Locke and had the opportunity to try out new material during three-hour sets at the venue where they first met.

“We’ve been working together for eight or nine years,” says lead singer McConaha. “Early on, we didn’t know what our musical journey was going to look like.” The FBR started as an acoustic duo and grew to include a full band. Their debut single, "Rain On,” was released during the pandemic and gained traction online. 

More recently, the new song, “Before I Drown,” garnered even more streams. “The recording process has been blood, sweat, tears—everything you can imagine—trying to figure out what works best for us in the studio,” says McConaha.

The duo agrees that through the process they learned to trust their guts and were glad to have room to experiment. They also appreciated the input and talents of their backing band. “In the studio, they were creative and fun. That’s what gives it a different sound,” says Hunter, who brings a background in classic literature to his songwriting. “It was old-school live tracking. That’s where the music takes another life.”

McConaha and Hunter met after she performed at an open mic night at then-Puckett’s and quickly bonded over a shared appreciation for musician Leonard Cohen. Eventually, their relationship led them to form The FBR, named in honor of Cohen’s song “Famous Blue Raincoat.” “His influence kept interweaving through the fabric of our lives,” says Hunter, sharing the little-known fact that Cohen spent two years living in Lieper’s Fork in the 1970s.

The FBR’s other influences can be found in their music, including renowned singer-songwriters and storytellers John Prine, Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, Fleetwood Mac, Guy Clark, Janis Joplin, and Emmylou Harris. But McConaha and Hunter enjoy making music all their own. “It's a very collaborative process,” she says. “It’s magic that way.”

“The recording process has been blood, sweat, tears—everything you can imagine—trying to figure out what works best for us in the studio." -- Malarie McConaha

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