“LadyCouch is more than a band. LadyCouch is a Family.”
LadyCouch was born out of Keshia Bailey and Allen Thompson’s love for one another and their love for honest, soulful music. Although their friendship stretches back years, it wasn’t until the winter of 2017 they decided to share a stage. After a show at Nashville’s Exit/In where they were on the same bill, they realized their already strong individual voices had power and depth they never thought possible when combined.
The pair seem to come from two different worlds, musically, with Keshia hailing from the straight-ahead throwback Soul group Magnolia Sons, and Allen from the psychedelic folk of the Allen Thompson Band. But their similar Appalachian upbringings and their genuine appreciation for Soul, Rock, Funk, Country and Folk allow them to build bridges across genres to create a sound all its own. Allen tells it like this:
“Keshia’s been one of my very best friends and confidants for a long time. I’ve always been in awe of the power and emotion in her voice. When we first got together, I think we were both kind of in a place where we were feeling stagnant in terms of our creative output. I knew I wanted to bring a little more soul into what I was doing, but I didn’t know how to do it within the confines of ATB. I was falling in love with the big revue-type bands of the 70’s like Little Feat, Parliament, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Bob Marley & The Wailers, and Delaney and Bonnie. I kinda forced Keshia down that rabbit hole too & we decided that if we were gonna have a band, it was gonna be a big one like those.”
So they enlisted the help of Diego Vasquez and the Nashville Horns and vocalists Dana Kalan and Olivia Burnett then got to work building the band. The core group consists of keyboard player and all around musical genius Jimmy Matt Rowland, Allen Thompson Band stalwarts Grayson Downs, Clint Maine & Ray Dunham, Atlanta guitarist Mike Ford Jr from Radio Birds and Migrant Worker, and Gordon Persha from Nashville jammers Los Colognes. On any given evening in Nashville its not uncommon to see folks from Old Crow Medicine Show, Maggie Rose, Jon Latham, Little Bandit, Drivin N Cryin, and many other Nashville mainstay musicians jamming with the big band with the nonsense name.
“The name is kind of an inside joke between a few folks who lived in or frequented my old house in East Nashville”, Allen explains.
“Its a long story, but basically we knew that if Keshia and I were gonna start a band together, LadyCouch was gonna be its name.”
Fortunately for them, the name is the only thing about this band that doesn’t make sense. When LadyCouch is on stage, they do everything with a purpose and drive that’s rare to see in a group that large. While their sound might be reminiscent of the huge hippie orchestras of decades past, the group is by no means a nostalgia act. Their approach to writing, melodies, harmonies and improvisation is as original and refreshing as you can get. As far as they are concerned, LadyCouch is the Future and the Future Looks Fine.