It’s your typical country music fairy tale. Girl meets boy. Girl and boy sing together at church. Girl and boy form a duo and become one of the hottest and most exciting new acts in country music. Okay, it may not be typical, but it’s the true story of Show Dog-Universal Music‘s hot new duo, Native Run.
Comprised of Virginia natives Rachel Beauregard and Bryan Dawley, the pair met shortly after college when they attended the same mega-church and were paired together to lead worship services. “That sort of sparked the creative juices in us to try and do it as a band outside of the church,” says Bryan. The duo then began writing songs and touring up and down the East Coast, attributing much of their earliest success to their location in Virginia and within close proximity to the likes of New York, Philadelphia and Nashville.
When I chatted with the duo, Bryan had just finished playing in Eric Church‘s golf tournament, while Rachel was on the other side of the country, wine tasting in Sonoma. Throughout the interview, it became clear that she was the jokester of the pair as they laughed over the differences in a boy’s answer (clear and concise) in comparison to his female counterpart’s answers (rambly but hilariously awesome). However, they worked together seamlessly in the interview, just as they do in their music, which she describes as energetic country music with “a very serious groove to all of our songs. It’s high energy with grooviness.”
While they have varied musical influenced (classic rock for him, Southern Gospel and “chick rock” for her), it’s that diversity that strengthens their sound. “Our influences are all over the map,” says Rachel. “But when you put that together, it does some very cool things. Bryan has a great ear for instrumental musical hooks and melodies.”
Speaking of musical hooks and melodies lead perfectly into a discussion about the duo’s high energy first single, “Good On You,” which just hit radio. Although another song almost snagged the coveted role of lead single, it was this track that snuck in and emerged at the last second. And they couldn’t be happier. “It’s been getting a really awesome response and that’s been such a cool process for us,” says Bryan of their seven week radio tour experience. “We were so sure on one single and then went with ‘Good on You’ and people have just been so responsive to that song.”
In addition to releasing their first single, Native Run has also released an EP of the same name, which Rachel jokes is them “trying to build suspense like no other.” In reality, however, she admits that the timing was perfect as they were selected to open some West Coast dates for Lady Antebellum and wanted to make sure to have music accessible to their new fans. Additionally, however, the EP is the perfect teaser for their forthcoming album, which will probably be released in early 2015.
When it comes to the album, Native Run had a hand in writing all of the songs, something Rachel said was a very deliberate decision on their parts. “From the very beginning, we’ve always written together and that contributes to our unique sound…For this album, we wanted to make sure that it has such a strong thumbprint of who Native Run is so we made sure to write all the songs together.”
As for the sound of the finished record itself, Bryan says that the record “runs the gamut,” but focuses heavily on great melodies and storytelling. They playfully joke about the “15 second stories” in current country music, and how they have an opportunity to truly tell stories with their music. “We have such a great opportunity to talk about people’s lives and encapsulate what they’re feeling,” says Bryan. “We’ve tried really really hard with this first record to find those moments and really talk about them, whether they’re things that have happened to us personally or our friends or any of those things, but just trying to keep it so so real to things that really happen in our lives”
As for the sound of the songs itself, Rachel says that she attributes all of the instrumental hooks to Bryan, who she describes as an “instrumental hook mastermind.” She says that it’s those hooks combined with melodic vocal hooks that make the album stand out. “We definitely want this to be a fun album. I want people to take a road trip and roll the windows down and blast the Native Run record,” says Rachel. “Also, with that being said, there are maybe two or three songs that are a little more intimate, more emotional…still groovy, but more pull on the heartstrings kind of situation ’cause everyone loves a good sad song. You have to have at least one sad song.”
Just as Rachel described Bryan as a musical mastermind, he’s quick to praise her vocal talent. “One thing you’re sure not to miss on the album is Rachel’s voice. She sings her entire ass off on every song, every verse, chorus…everything on this record, you’ll hear her shine through. I’m excited for the world to hear that, she’s brilliant.” Not one to miss a beat, Rachel quickly chimes in with a laugh, “They call me ass-less Rachel.”
In addition to their own musical talents, Native Run enlisted one of the best in the business, Luke Laird, to produce their debut album. “We found him just doodling on the streets of Broadway,” Rachel jokes. “I’m kidding. We are BEYOND thrilled to work with him. His wife was the first person we met in Nashville when we came for the first time. It was such an incredible divine orchestration for us and she ended up playing our music for him…eventually we ended up signing a publishing deal with she and Luke’s publishing company. When we were thinking about what producer to use, it just made perfect sense…he was in the middle of producing Kacey Musgraves‘ album and we were kind of listening to that while he was producing it and we were so excited he wanted to produce our album as well.”
The duo just played the Opry for the first time and had the unique opportunity to play two of their own songs, rather than including a cover. They describe that experience as “amazing” and a “milestone” in their career, but lament that it went by way too fast.
When it comes to cover songs, Rachel admits that one of their favorites to do is “Waterfalls” by TLC because the crowd goes crazy for it. They’ll be hitting the road this fall with David Nail and are already working on some fun cover ideas.
As for the tour itself, Native Run can’t wait to hit the road for 27 dates with Nail, who they’ve played a few shows with in the past. “We’ve had a little chunk of hang time with him and we have the same management…It’s just been such a great time touring with David. They brought him a couple of ideas for tour support and we were on that list and he was gracious enough to choose us and have us on again.”
As for other artists they’d love to work with, they say Keith Urban would be a “super dream,” as would Hunter Hayes. “I don’t know if we can say this yet…but I will just say this: We will have an interaction with Hunter Hayes in the very near future,” says Rachel. “And he’s always been somebody that we really wanted to play with slash write with. This is going to just be a show, but he’s someone I’d love to watch him work. He’s so young…it’s kind of like being in the presence of a little prodigy.”
As for what they hope fans will learn about them, their answers are equal parts hilarious, unique and endearing. “We love ranch dressing and dips and sauces in general…” laughs Rachel. “We just feel so excited to be doing what we’re doing. Every now and then you have to stop in your career and be there and be present. And just say, ‘If the world ended tomorrow, I would have done absolutely exponentially more than I ever imagined could happen.’ I think we just tried to take this career with that kind of mindset, knowing we’re surrounded by the best of the best. We’re so fortunate. We started this having no idea what we were doing, and it’s been really great, really fun…and I love Katy Perry.”
For his part, Bryan is excited that their single is finally going to radio and that they’ll have the opportunity to tour the country on such a huge platform as David Nail’s tour. “One of our favorite things in the world is getting to play live shows and it means the world to us when people come out to see our shows. We’re so lucky to get to do this at all, so to get to do it on that platform and in front of country fans is our favorite thing in the world. Country music fans are the best around, we’ve learned that recently. We know it now and we’re so hooked.”
And just as Bryan and Rachel of Native Run are hooked on country fans, country fans are sure to be hooked on them.
Watch Native Run’s Lyric Video for “Good On You” here!
And because it’s awesome, watch Rachel and Bryan cover TLC’s hit “Waterfalls”:
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