It only took 12 years of touring to create the Eisenhauers
Music | by Tamara Harder
Drift Sidewalk Café
Sheree Plett and Jeremy Eisenhauer, collectively known as The Eisenhauers, have a personal and professional history that is quintessentially Canadian.
The story starts with an awkward meeting in a Tim Hortons’ parking lot, and continues through 12 years on the road playing small towns bars and local music halls, then a move from Vancouver to Kaslo, BC for a slower pace of life for them and their three kids, culminating in their debut album as a duo recorded with producer Steve Dawson at Henhouse Studio.
Although Sheree and Jeremy have completed four cross-Canada tours together, and at least 13 Western Canadian tours, this is the first time they are touring as a duo.
Before now, each time they toured, they’d play the west-to-east leg as Sheree Plett and the return leg as Eisenhauer — each taking turns backing the other on stage.
Their new album, The Road We Once Knew, is a true collaboration where Sheree and Jeremy wrote and recorded the songs together. They drew inspiration from their new surroundings in the former lumber town of Kaslo in the West Kootenay region, and the isolation they felt not knowing anyone upon arrival.
By focusing on their voices, and developing a full and cohesive sound without relying on other band members or backing vocalists, they grew as songwriters.
Sheree and Jeremy both bring something unique to their country roots musical partnership. Sheree has melodies in her heart and head, and that’s where her writing starts. Jeremy is a guitar player and writes on the guitar or banjo, despite not being able to read music.
She’s vocally centered. He starts with the music. Together, they create a sweet, earthy, mature roots sound.
When recording The Road We Once Knew, The Eisenhauers sought to capture their unaffected live sound.
“We want to be involved in documenting music, not doctoring music,” says Jeremy.
Producer Steve Dawson, who’s known for his live recordings from the studio floor, was a natural fit. With Dawson at the controls, they didn’t feel pressure to record multiple tracks and edit them together.
Despite playing in smaller venues, and even house concerts, Jeremy says he sometimes still feels a disconnect with audiences. That’s something the family moved away from big-city Vancouver to avoid.
After they perform, he adds, audiences are often reluctant to interact with them, which creates a divide.
He sometimes hears them murmur “That’s the guy that was on stage”, but they don’t approach.
Jeremy and Sheree, though, want to talk to people and meet everyone that comes to a show. They want everyone, themselves included, to have a pure, fully immersive, and engaging experience. The best part of touring, according to Jeremy, is meeting the wonderfully diverse people that are part of our communities.
It’s fitting for The Eisenhauers — regular people with regular jobs who love to perform authentic music. ❧