Steve Martin and Edie Brickell released their second album, So Familiar, last week, and as their first collection, Love Has Come For You, displayed in 2013, the mixture of Martin’s excellent banjo plucking and Brickell’s excellent writing and singing is, well, excellent.
While on tour for that collection, they began writing Bright Star, a musical based on characters from their first album — its Broadway debut is set for March 2016 — and much of what makes up So Familiar is pulled directly from the play. The rest is heavily inspired by the sound and feel. EW caught up with the two heavyweights to discuss writing, playing, and what makes their partnership so inspired.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Sonically, this album feels much fuller that Love Has Come For You. Can you tell me about the new sound?
Steve Martin: When Edie and I did our first album, we were very concerned — we loved our own demos so much and they was just she and I. We were trying to preserve that quality, which I think [producer] Peter Asher did. [For] the second album, we all agreed that we could now go a wider direction than the first album. And then Peter is really responsible for that that direction was.
Since you two have teamed up, you seem to have been working with no break. What about this partnership works for well?
Martin: I think it’s something that’s in both of us, and that’s emotion and professionalism. You need the song to develop professionally and in the best way, but also retaining the emotive quality that, especially musical songs, need. So I think we’re all business and we’re all art, at the same time.
Edie Brickell: I know that anything that comes my way is already going to be great. When you trust your collaborator — because you know that he’s smart, you know that he’s imaginative — you can trust that what’s going to come is going to be really good. That gives you a great sense of security and it challenges you to rise to a new level and to meet him. He’s given me the opportunity to write with a lot of color and imagery and go beyond anything that I’ve done before. I think it was also great timing, where I was understanding what I love about songs and then I got the opportunity to write what I love. It’s been a lot time to discover, but you want to write something that you would love, as opposed to just something off the cuff that fits your generation.
What are you most excited for people to hear off the collection?
Brickell: I think the simpler songs, like “So Familiar”—I’m crazy for that. Or like, “I Have You”, Steve is singing on that and I like that. I like the simple, beautiful messages, if I do say so myself [laughs].
Martin: It’s hard to play favorites when they’re all your babies, but I do have a particular feeling for “So Familiar”—it’s the simplest message. I love the bridge, I love the lead up to it, I love the lyrics, and I love what Peter did to it—the tic-tic percussions and the female voices in the back echoing Edie’s lyric. And I too like “I Have You”, every time I hear it, I’m kind of charmed by it. At first I didn’t want to sing on it, I don’t see myself as a singer but now I actually kind of love it. And I also love “Heartbreaker,” which is probably the most complicated song on there. But I also know how it works in the context of the musical, and I find it very, very emotional.
So Familiar is available for purchase on iTunes.