Americana, AltCountry, Folk, Rock
Black Crowes, The Civil Wars, Emmylou Harris
Escaping Pavement’s Emily Burns and Aaron Markovitz met one night at a blues open mic and since then they’ve been inseparable. They were teen guitarists obsessed with roots music and classic rock n’ roll. Their band’s debut, UpRooted, represents a coming home to Americana from a 10-year long freewheeling musical quest.
“I saw Emily walk in with a Gretsch guitar, get up onstage with the band and play ‘Whipping post’ and ‘What is and What Should Never Be.’ I was impressed and went over and talked to her. I guess it all started at that moment,” Aaron recalls. “When I first saw him play and sing, I immediately felt a connection because he seemed like an old soul,” Emily says.
Escaping Pavement also features Niall Sullivan, bass and background vocals, and Evan Profant, drums and background vocals. The Detroit, Michigan-based quartet masterfully blends and blurs the lines of country, folk, americana, and rock, garnering favorable comparisons to artists as diverse as The Band, The Black Crowes, Chris Robinson, tastemaker/producer T Bone Burnett, The Civil Wars, Dawes, The Wood Brothers, and Emmylou Harris. Their unique joint frontperson arrangement, with Emily and Aaron sharing equally in singing, songwriting, and guitar playing, allows for astounding musical interplay.
The band is the culmination of a decade of two gifted musicians’ exploration, schooling, and on-the-job training. Emily and Aaron have toured around the world performing with various musicians, such as The Platters and Derek Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band. They have headlined and performed on cruise tours and at festivals alike, among them, the Detroit Blues Festival, Royal Carribean’s Enchantment of the Seas, Van’s Warped Tour, and Oceania Cruises. They also formally honed their craft at Los Angeles Music Academy College Of Music. On their journey they soaked up rock, pop, jazz, reggae, blues, and funk, and tried various band permutations within these stylistic guises. “I guess that’s what happens when you’re fresh out of music school,” Aaron says.
Upon graduating LAMA, they moved back to Detroit. “At that point we got the crazy idea to go play music on a cruise ship in order to gather some money to record our debut album. So, we disappeared to sea for seven months, playing every song you could think of on a cruise ship,” Aaron explains. “At the time of our return we started writing the songs for UpRooted.”
Stylistically focused and musically well seasoned, Escaping Pavement went into Tempermill Studios in Ferndale, MI. “It was an amazing experience to see and hear all of those years of hard work coming together into one cohesive statement, “ reflects Aaron. Emily produced the album with the assistance of engineer Tony Hamera.
UpRooted is refined and rustic, a celebration of American music thrown by musicians with the chops and character-making life experiences to do it right. “If you listen to the lyrics of every song on the record, you can bring it all back to being uprooted in some way,” Aaron says. “It comes down to change, someone’s life changing in a way that’s out of their hands, like loss, or someone wanting change themselves. Being uprooted in life happens to everyone,” Emily says.
On the pastoral “Winter Homecoming” Aaron sings with sweetly soulful longing about the painful complexity of moving on. “That song was written as a dialogue between somebody who’s gone away, and somebody who’s stayed behind,” he explains. “I went through a time when I had very mixed feelings about being away, and at the same time very mixed feelings about being home. I think it’s a song that deals with the struggle of ‘the grass is always greener’ somewhere else.” Its bucolic beauty perfectly captures the telepathic interplay of Aaron and Emily. As a duet, it showcases how gracefully Aaron and Emily’s honeyed voices interlace. The stunning “Drive Me To Sadness” is sweetly urgent. “That song is about letting go of the small things that upset you and focusing on what’s important in the grand scheme,” Emily explains.
“I feel like UpRooted is the biggest highlight so far,” Aaron says thinking back. “Everything we’ve been working on for the past five or six years has somehow been leading up to this. All of these random happenings have been our path to where we are. The schooling, the bar gigs, the cruise ships, every cover song we’ve ever learned. “ Emily adds: “It’s been a labor of love, we poured our heart and soul into this music.”
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