It is not every day that a band has airplay on one of the nation's most influential AAA radio stations before they have even played a live show [San Francisco’s KFOG]. Equally rare is being asked to open for a Grammy Award-winning band at a legendary venue before even releasing a full-length debut [Train at The Fillmore]. Having a former member of a multi-platinum band [Counting Crows] jump on board after hearing some demos is pretty much unheard of.
The band? Try the acclaimed five-piece outfit from San Francisco called The Bittersweets, whose stunning full-length debut, The Life You Always Wanted, arrived in stores in summer '06. The album was mixed by David Henry (REM, Josh Rouse, Guster, Vienna Teng).
The Bittersweets are anchored by Hannah Prater on vocals and guitar and Chris Meyers on vocals, guitar, and piano. The album features an all-star lineup of musicians, including Steve Bowman (Counting Crows, Third Eye Blind) on drums; Daniel Schacht (Jolie Holland) on bass; and Jerry Becker on piano and guitar. All eleven songs were written by Meyers and the album was produced by Meyers, Schacht, & Becker.
Meyers, the band’s songwriter, stumbled upon country music, of all places, in his sociological studies at college in rural Ohio. "Some people go to college and discover Marx or Chaucer. I found Jimmie Rogers," he says. Meyers spent his senior year writing his thesis on the Carter family, booking a national tour out of his dorm room, and opening up for several national artists. After graduating and moving to San Francisco, he eventually met Prater and the two hit it off immediately. Prater was a seasoned musician herself, having already toured Europe as a jazz vocalist. Within weeks of starting jam sessions in a barn behind her house, neighbors were pulling lawn chairs into their backyards and rehearsals became impromptu concerts.
Dubbing themselves The Bittersweets, Meyers commented, “I'd hope that our music points towards some truth or reality about life, and I think that for many people, life is a mix of sadness and hope.”
The Life You Always Wanted charted among the Top 200 sellers in the Bay Area during its first week of release, while first single, "Long Day," cracked KFOG's Top 30 and has earned airplay throughout the country. The song also appears on the KFOG Local Scene: Volume 3 compilation, spotlighting the station's favorite local artists. The album has earned rave reviews from publications both in the Bay Area and nationwide. The band has opened for Train, Rosanne Cash, & Cowboy Junkies, while the band's music has been used in prime-time series "Men In Trees" and "Saving Grace."