Like a snake shedding skin, each passing year is another layer of your character revealed. For myself, those subterranean depths emerge from endless travel. It’s crisscrossing America, from coast to coast, town to town, in order to soak in the essence of all that surrounds me. I want to see it all, experience every possible angle of whatever it is that presents itself to me.
For The DuPont Brothers, it’s just that. The Vermont-based Americana/folk duo has spent the better part of the last three years ricocheting up and down the Eastern Seaboard, absorbing their everyday interactions and channeling them — distilling them into the songbird tone, cosmic lyrics and intricate guitar chords that has become their signature sound.
And within that time, they’ve garnered quite the following around Western North Carolina. Anyone amid their presence becomes immediately entranced by their stage act. You’re witnessing something unique, something you can’t quite put your finger on, but you know you need to immerse yourself in it until the answer is revealed, for whatever questions your soul might be pondering in the grand scheme of things.
Smoky Mountain News: What does the current landscape of The DuPont Brothers look like? What do you see?
Zack DuPont: Lately, we’ve really hit our stride as a touring act and how we function out on the road. There is no question that it is has been the healthiest thing we could possibly do to grow our band. After a huge push the last couple of years, we’re starting to see a humbling enchantment in the eyes of the audience and excitement about the music we’re creating and how we’re presenting it.
SMN: You have established yourselves as road warriors over the last couple of years — consistent touring, constantly creating new material. What has this shown you about the work ethic and potential of The DuPont Brothers?
Sam DuPont: We’re living it now. It’s more real than ever before and it’s invigorating that we’ve been able to grow so much with just the support of a publicist. All the miles, towns and shows are positively impacting our progress, which is all any act can hope for. Awareness and focus towards building a solid administrative plan has been a real help, too. We try to take the business side as seriously as we do the music to keep ourselves on track and the train in motion.
SMN: What are you coming across out there on the open road of America? In that, how is what you’re witnessing and immersing yourself in affecting your outlook as performers, as artists and songwriters?
ZD: Touring is beautiful, fun, challenging, full of exploration, and lonely all at the same time. It’s like hanging out in a free sample bar of America. You get a short little taste of each city, town and state. Meet the people, eat the food, play the tunes, then go on your way. When you’re moving from first impression to the next, it tends to bring out the best in you. We’ve always found that aspect of the road to be fascinating. We get to sort of reinvent ourselves on a daily basis and through that process new aspects and corners of our personalities are revealed. The music is all twisted up with our travels in the most fantastic way — one of the best things a songwriter can do is get more life experience to share and the road is filled with fodder for contemplation.
SMN: What do you see as the place of the singer-songwriter in this modern world? Is the idea of an honest lyrical content and persona onstage or off as important now as ever?
SD: There’s a song for everyone out there, and lots of pop is brilliant in its own right, but honest and true songs have always withstood the test of time. That approach resonates in our writing style. We tend to draw from the most real experiences life has given to us. Appealing to the humanness within our listeners is important to us. We want them to think and to feel. In that tradition, the songwriter has always provoked personalized emotional connection through authentic lyrics. It could be a song encapsulating a specific time period or a very potent memory, or specific group of tunes that helped carry someone through a period of pain or growth. Songs have a way of attaching themselves to our lives. That’s what makes them timeless — the good ones don’t have expiration dates.
Editor’s Note: The DuPont Brothers will be performing on Friday, Oct. 16, at Nantahala Brewing Company in Bryson City; Saturday, Oct. 17, at The Strand at 38 Main in Waynesville; and Thursday, Oct. 22, at The Altamont Theatre in Asheville. For more information on the band or tickets, click on www.dupontbrothersmusic.com or www.nantahalabrewing.com or www.38main.com or www.thealtamont.com.