Meet the Band: Jayson Benn (guitar, banjo, backing vocals), Sarah Benn (vocals, upright bass, banjo), and Brad Thorla (drums, toy piano)
History: The Akron husband-and-wife team started recording songs for and inspired by their newborn daughter in 2007, and it snowballed into a full-blown project. Their debut, We All Started in the Same Place, was produced by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach.
What They Do: Back-alley folk tunes, back-porch gospel, and Mother Goose murder ballads delivered by what Auerbach calls "a junkyard orchestra"
Who They Sound Like:
PJ Harvey, Iron & Wine, Nick Cave
The Lisps, Thrift Store Cowboys, the Chapin Sisters
Big Break: Performing at the 30th birthday party of their friend Auerbach. He was inspired to produce their debut at his Akron studio.
Why They Say They Matter: "We've been adding more songs to our repertoire," says Sarah Benn, "shifting our focus to reworking old gospel and folk songs and writing more adult-themed material, while still retaining the playful and dark sound of the songs on We All Started ..."
Why We Say They Matter: The pretension-free Benns show a Lewis Carroll-like knack for balancing the sweet with the sinister, and their partnerships with Auerbach and his lyricist father Chuck could put them on the fast track to wider success.
Where You Can Hear Them:
Where You Can See Them: Annabell's (in Akron) on January 21 and the Happy Dog on February 3. — Andrew Clayman