Live Music: Frances Luke Accord
When Nicholas Gunty and Brian Powers put their songs and their voices together, there is a delicate and powerful magic that commands the room to attention. The duo is known as Frances Luke Accord, and they are what NPR’s Mountain Stage calls “the definition of lean-in music.” Their soulful, effortless branch of indie-folk is orchestrated with spare and sophisticated acoustic threads woven into a lush backdrop for their intimate melodies. Rich, up-close tenor harmonies lend their timeless songwriting an urgency that honors the Simon & Garfunkel comparisons but pushes beyond into the world of Bon Iver, Jose Gonzalez, and progressive folk music.
Both raised in South Bend, IN, Gunty and Powers met and began performing together during their time at the University of Notre Dame. Their first release, Kandote, was a bold intercultural collaboration with the Barefoot Truth Children’s Choir in Uganda, a not-for-profit effort which provides ongoing support to the choir to this day. Relocating to Chicago in 2013, the duo honed their songwriting craft while releasing two more self-produced EPs, laying the groundwork for their breakthrough debut full-length, Fluke, in 2016. This immersive, philosophically rich album set them off on their first national tour, which included support dates with Darlingside, Anais Mitchell, and The Ballroom Thieves.
The duo’s latest release, Maria, is a tantalizingly brief single track that picks up where Fluke’s more delicate moments left off. The song showcases intimate lyrics, finger-picked guitars, a few lap-steel-esque wisps, and the duo’s signature vocals meandering gracefully between unison and harmony. As ever, this is music that trades in simplicity. But no matter how close you lean and listen, there always seems to be the promise of another layer awaiting discovery.
Tickets to the show are $15 and available at the door.