True Reckoning

Meet PT’s up-and-coming musical duo

Posted 5/26/22

Whether it’s planning out an upcoming Alaska tour, finalizing their forthcoming debut EP, or playing gigs around Port Townsend’s music scene, dynamic duo AB McSpadden and Nathan …

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True Reckoning

Meet PT’s up-and-coming musical duo

Posted

Whether it’s planning out an upcoming Alaska tour, finalizing their forthcoming debut EP, or playing gigs around Port Townsend’s music scene, dynamic duo AB McSpadden and Nathan “Tex” Armstrong have had a busy year so far.

Their two-member band, True Reckoning, was formed after Armstrong and McSpadden crossed paths while performing at open mic events, jams, and other gigs across Port Townsend’s music venues.

“We both moved here back in 2020 and we met through the open mic scene here, playing at Uptown [Pub] primarily,” Armstrong said.

“Tex put together this weekly jam; we call it the Jam-B-Que because he barbecues and we all jam, and that was super helpful in meeting people here and establishing a sense of community,” McSpadden said.

The two artists hit it off from the start, sharing a virtuosic vision for songwriting that continued to build over time. Formulating a foundation of lush, clean, and open sound meshed with deep-rooted lyricism, McSpadden and Armstrong found a sound with potential to keep building upon.

“AB and I really hit it off playing music but I didn’t think a band was gonna come out of it, but it just kind of happened,” Armstrong said. “We had a shared vision of putting our full-time energy into this and giving it a go.”

After a pivotal conversation about starting up a band and doing a musical tour around Alaska, McSpadden quit her job as a mental health counselor to wholly pursue True Reckoning with Armstrong.

ATMOSPHERIC INFLUENCE

A key contributor to the band’s ever-evolving musical vision is the enchanting atmosphere of Western Washington and the arts-based community of Port Townsend.

Armstrong spent his 2020 summer hiking and exploring the Olympic Peninsula before moving to Port Townsend in the fall.

“It really gave me an appreciation for this place, for the Peninsula, and for Port Townsend itself,” Armstrong said of his hiking voyage. “I’m grateful for what’s going on here because, really, I feel that a lot of what we’re doing as a band is based on the energy of this town. It’s been a great place to kick this thing off.”

McSpadden complimented the art scene in the area and its infectious influence on songwriting and musical experimentation.

“You’re in the company of so many people making art or being inspired or running with inspiration, so you can’t help but run along with that,” she said. “For anyone living here, the beauty is such a central part of your life, existing in this, so you’re infused by it and so is your art.”

With musical influences ranging from classic outlaw country icons like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard to lyrical heavy-hitters Gillian Welch and Phoebe Bridgers, Armstrong’s sonic influence brings a mesh of classic and new-age singer-songwriters.

Describing their music as a “dream folk” vibe with singer-songwriter roots, McSpadden additionally brings modern sounds to the mix.

“Our sound is pretty folksy, Appalachian sometimes. But I listen to a lot of Kanye West. Tyler, the Creator. Grimes … a lot of big, big sound,” she said.

“I think we have very different influences, but also similar in some ways,” Armstrong added.

MELODIC PROCESS

The different, yet similar approach has worked well for the two as they recorded “Better Than Ghosts,” the band’s debut project, a five-song EP.

“It hasn’t been so much sitting down to write a song about something as it has been throwing out ideas and seeing what sticks,” Armstrong said of their experimental approach to songwriting. “It’s five songs that we wrote that we’re really happy about.”

“We wrote [‘Better than Ghosts’] from January to April, meeting every day, sometimes sending stuff back and forth over text then meeting and hammering stuff out,” McSpadden said. “I don’t know what alchemy is happening between the different stuff we’re listening to and the similar stuff we’re making, but it’s working.”

The EP is expected to release sometime in June, with the project currently being mixed through Rainshadow Recording, a studio at Fort Worden State Park.

“For me personally, it’s been very therapeutic or cathartic writing. I had a long period of writer’s block prior to AB and I starting to write together, so it has been exciting for me to be back to writing, period,” Armstrong said. “We have a song, ‘How’s the War,’ that’s going to be on our new album. And that one, I remember talking about the idea for that song months and months ago. It took a while of sitting there as an idea and coming back to it in a creative time … it turned into a song that really wasn’t exactly what the original idea was, but it think it turned out the way it was supposed to,” he added.

OUT TO ALASKA

To cap off the upcoming release and share it with new ears, the band will be touring across Alaska with summer shows spanning from Delta Junction for the Rapids Music Festival to Ninilchik for Salmonfest 2022.

“We’ve got a great tour there. We’re gonna be playing Salmonfest, which is one of the biggest festivals there in the state, and we’re playing the Alaska State Fair. We’ve got about 16 dates on the books, so it’s turned into a pretty legit tour for our very first go of it,” Armstrong said.

As much as the duo enjoys testing their creative capacities with songwriting and developing tunes in the studio, nothing beats performing live in front of an enthusiastic audience.

“My favorite part of performing is when you get into that magical trance state where it’s like you’re in the song, and the factors that align when other people are in it with you,” McSpadden said.

To learn more about True Reckoning, “Better Than Ghosts,” and their upcoming Alaska tour, visit truereckoning.band.

The band can also be followed on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube.

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