Just the Beginning
Maris Truex, a cook in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, originally from Decatur, Georgia, sings while she and Brian Raftry, from Westfield Center, Ohio, take the first steps in learning the songs for their upcoming recording session on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. The recording location is in a solar powered swamp house in Echaw Swamp run and owned by Eddie White, a dentist in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina and founder of Awendaw Green, a musical movement rising in Awendaw, South Carolina.
Truex works in one of the houses at Awendaw Green in Awendaw, South Carolina, on Thursday, May 8, 2014, to prepare the food that the group will be consuming over the next five days while staying in the swamp house, while signs indicate the type of folks living in the house. The type of people that work at Awendaw Green and were involved in the project are so special to Maris, she believes, "People like us are so few and far between... and we find each other."
The Swamp House
A part of the collection of odds and ends found at the solar powered swamp house in Echaw Swamp in the Francis Marion National Forest of South Carolina, a painting of the house depicted on a stone slab is near the front door along with a lamp and a pair of binoculars." This is some grown man's treehouse that we're staying in," laughed Brian Raftry after surveying the house.
Reunited and it Sounds so Good
(Clockwise) Maris Truex, Zachary "Z" Groom, originally from Fairfax, Virgina, Brian Raftry, and Cole Grant, originally from Decatur, Georgia, engage in one of their first group practices after the arrival of Groom and Grant on Friday, May 9, 2014, to Echaw Swamp in the Francis Marion National Forest in South Carolina. Truex and Grant originally met while the two were in high school, and Raftry met them two summers ago while working as raft guides on the French Broad River in North Carolina. Groom was discovered by Truex through the Swamp Sessions Songwriters Retreat this past winter.
(From left to right) Cole Grant, Brian Raftry, and Maris Truex each take a break from their long day of practice to have a bowl of the previous night's leftovers the day before recording is set to begin on Sunday, May 11, 2014 in the Francis Marion National Forest, South Carolina.
The group was constantly worried of running out of alcohol before the swamp sessions were through, though it ended up not being a problem after multiple trips to the grocery store. Beer was consumed like water until recording began, and "whiskey slaps" were a prevalent source of energy while practicing.
Maris Truex and her dog, River, are quite the pair. After an accident, River now only has three legs, though the remaining back leg is barely functioning due to arthritis. After going for a long walk down the swamp's only road while waiting for Sean Kelly, the recording engineer, on Monday, May 12, 2014, River was returned to the house only to attempt to follow again and become very tired. By the time Maris found River he had traveled a reasonable distance from the house in Echaw Swamp, South Carolina, and had to be fireman carried back because he had worn out his two front legs.
Recording an Album
(Clockwise) James "Rusty" Henderson, the last addition to the group and originally from Darlington, South Carolina, who met Truex and Groom at the songwriter's retreat, Maris Truex, Cole Grant, and Brian Raftry do some final practicing before beginning to record on Monday, May 12, 2014, in Echaw Swamp, South Carolina. While working out the final kinks Cole explained, "everyone's following you, Maris." To which she replied, "fuck."
A Fake Break
Zachary "Z" Groom takes a break from practicing inside the house in Echaw Swamp, South Carolina, to enjoy one of the many activities the house has to offer on Friday, May 9, 2014, while still practicing. The group often was found playing music while on their breaks.
A didgeridoo, a few guitar cases, two guitars, and a bottle of whiskey line the edge of the "jam space" that the group designed to help optimize their musical flow. All had practical application throughout the musical process.
Brian Raftry, right, makes a face while trying to get the notes down during the first recording session on Monday, May 12, 2014, while Cole Grant, left, listens intently as Rusty Henderson asks for further clarification on a song. The second day of recording in Echaw Swamp, South Carolina, went much better than the first, even inspiring Maris to at one point exclaim, "Y'all! That sounded so good! Let's do another!"
Maris Truex plays viola in addition to her singing, both of which will be heard on the album that "Half Day Deluxe," also known as "Corn Bred Fed," recorded in Echaw Swamp, South Carolina on Monday, May 12, 2014.
(From left to right) Cole Grant, Maris Truex, and Brian Raftry chat, practice, and make final tune-ups before the "Barn Jam" show at Awendaw Green on Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Awendaw, South Carolina.
James "Rusty" Henderson, Brian Raftry, and Cole Grant study the set list as Maris points out the order and changes to be made for the stage performance during the "Barn Jam" at Awendaw Green in Awendaw, South Carolina.
The End of The Beginning
(From left to right) Cole Grant, Maris Truex, James "Rusty" Henderson, Brian Raftry, and Zachary "Z" Groom, stand on stage between songs, as Truex makes the introduction for the next song during the "Barn Jam" on Wednesday, May 14, 2014, at Awendaw Green in Awendaw, South Carolina. Although it was the end of the time in the swamp and everyone being together, it was not the end of the entire project for any member of the group.