Interview: Nashville Duo Crimson Calamity on Their Dreamy Sound, New Single “WildCard,” & Big Successes

Crimson Calamity © Samantha Hearn
Crimson Calamity © Samantha Hearn
Gifted Nashville-based twosome Crimson Calamity illustrate with their new single “WildCard” that they will never lose their longing for love.
Stream: “WildCard” – Crimson Calamity




It’s always ok to take a break from the search though: To grow as an individual and love yourself. Self-love is the foundation of any successful romantic love, after all.

Most of us have had our fair share of misfortunes in love. With that much heartbreak, it is easy to want to just throw in the towel and give up. Crimson Calamity reminds us to keep the faith with their new single “WildCard.” Their shimmery rock/Americana track, released in early September, tells a compelling narration of someone who is constantly let down by love but keeps trekking on. The dazzling tambourine, glistening guitars and bass, and delicate drums come together to create a magical offering. The warm vocals add to the tune’s calming quality, drawing listeners in.

WildCard - Crimson Calamity
WildCard – Crimson Calamity
Cause I know in my soul
That somewhere the house is full
And the Joker’s only there to make you laugh
The King shows all his cards
And he’s only holdin’ hearts
I’m a high roller in love, guilty as charged
It’s a wild card

The dynamic duo is comprised of musicians Lauren Harding and Mallory Trunnell. They have been performing together since 2014. The two are inspired by musical greats like The Civil Wars, yet concoct an otherworldly sound all their own. Their stunning harmonies and intricate storytelling, make each release so powerful. The single is jam-packed with skilled musicians. Drummer Chris Powell (Brandi Carlile, A Star is Born), bassist Brian Allen (Reba McEntire, A Star is Born), and Guitarist Sadler Vaden (Jason Isbell, The 400 Unit) all helped shape the masterful piece.

There is an enchanting, filmic quality to “WildCard.” The reference to card games is the perfect imagery. Love can be a gamble and they have beautifully expressed that risk. The effortless, airy feel creates a sense of comfort contrasted by lyrics of discomfort and uncertainty. Speaking to a common fear of not finding your ideal person, it is easy to connect to this striking single. Atwood Magazine spoke with the pair talking about name inspiration, the song’s meaning and more.

When writing the song we kept talking about how it can take more strength to remain hopeful or optimistic. Sometimes you also have to look in the mirror and recognize the patterns or ‘tells’ you have or fall into.

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Stream: “WildCard” – Crimson Calamity



A CONVERSATION WITH CRIMSON CALAMITY

WildCard - Crimson Calamity

Atwood Magazine: Crimson Calamity is a very unique title for your duo. How did you come up with that name?

Crimson Calamity: Before becoming a band, we were part of a monthly songwriting challenge. One month the prompt was ‘Write about a historical event or person.” Not the easiest subject to write a cool song about but we ended up writing two songs inspired by the Wild West legend, Calamity Jane. Those songs’ sonic landscape sparked the idea for a bad ass lady duo, and so we decided to use CJ as our namesake.

Love can definitely take you on a crazy ride. Your single “WildCard” is all about losing love again and again, but holding onto the hope that you will eventually find that right person. What do you hope listeners can take away from the track?

Crimson Calamity: You were spot on with the idea of hope. Hope can be really hard. Sometimes it’s easier to become bitter or jaded when you get your heartbroken. When writing the song we kept talking about how it can take more strength to remain hopeful or optimistic. Sometimes you also have to look in the mirror and recognize the patterns or ‘tells’ you have or fall into. The song emerged as a perspective we hadn’t heard in a while and we felt compelled to share it – because it’s very real for a lot of people, especially in the age of app dating.

What advice would you give to others who have lost faith in love?

Crimson Calamity: We are no love experts, but… we live by the words, “If not this, something better.” Love comes in many forms, if you can find it in a friendship, a family member, a pet, you can eventually find yourself to possibly be open again romantically if you so choose. It’s always ok to take a break from the search though: To grow as an individual and love yourself. Self-love is the foundation of any successful romantic love, after all.

Crimson Calamity © Samantha Hearn
Crimson Calamity © Samantha Hearn



 

The song exudes a dream-like nostalgia. How was the release concocted sonically?

Crimson Calamity: “WildCard” was recorded at our producer, Gena Johnson’s studio here in Nashville. She exudes a peace and a knowing that makes the recording process a dream itself. She brought in some incredible musicians (Chris Powell on drums, Sadler Vaden on guitars and Brian Allen on bass) We collectively agreed to be straightforward in our approach but keep the dreaminess of the 1970s in our minds’ eye as we did so. Fleetwood Mac, The Doobie Brothers, The Eagles. We wanted the song to have the same energy as those classic artists. With the combo of those 3 players – we found the magic. It was essentially a live take from the band and then Gena worked her magic with us in the vocal booth and in post to give it that topcoat that evokes a wistful late summer vibe.

The offering showcases your signature rock/Americana sound. What makes you gravitate towards that musical style?

Crimson Calamity: We are in love with storytelling and organic instrumentation. We like to experiment and Americana allows you to float in and out of different genres. We feel like old school country and classic rock really lend to the current Americana sound in a really wonderful way.

Your music possesses such skillful storytelling. How have you been able to craft such clever lyrics?

Crimson Calamity: That’s very kind, thank you so much. Some of the artists we admire most are super intentional with their lyrics and storytelling. One that sticks out in our minds is “Live Oak” by Jason Isbell. Being in Nashville surrounded by artists that are at the top of their game has really pushed us to raise the bar for ourselves and strive to continue growing as writers.

Crimson Calamity © Samantha Hearn
Crimson Calamity © Samantha Hearn



 

Speaking of storytelling, who are some artists or bands that you feel really have a knack for detailed lyricism?

Crimson Calamity: Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile as well as her bandmates Tim and Phil Hanseroth. All three of them are amazing songwriters on their own. Jamestown Revival, Lori McKenna, Brittney Spencer, Ruston Kelly, Gary Clark Jr, Phoebe Bridgers… we could go on forever.

If you could collaborate with any other musical talent, who would that be?

Crimson Calamity: All of the above, but also Jack White, Joy Williams, and The Highwomen.

What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career?

Crimson Calamity: We are honestly just super grateful to be where we are at working with an incredible team. We’re blessed to have our own studio space at the historic RCA building, we’ve started a podcast and after the pandemic we’re so happy to be able to tour again (fingers crossed). We are looking forward to the next chapter with big goals and dreams, so stay tuned.

Lastly, any artists or bands you are currently digging that you can recommend to our readers?

Crimson Calamity: The Shindellas, each of their songs on their new album are packed with masterful three part harmony and are all basically an affirmation. Also, The Daily Fare are another amazing female duo here in Nashville whose sound is so eclectic yet undeniably chill-inducing. We are very excited to see where their careers take them. We had both acts on our music podcast ‘The Liner Notes with Crimson Calamity’ and those are two of our favorite episodes so far. They’re both magic.

Being in Nashville surrounded by artists that are at the top of their game has really pushed us to raise the bar for ourselves and strive to continue growing as writers.

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Stream: “WildCard” – Crimson Calamity



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WildCard - Crimson Calamity

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