The Americana duo talk about their upcoming album Echoes and Silence and give C&I readers a listen.
Jenny Pagliaro and Angela Petrilli are Roses & Cigarettes, a duo whose band name was inspired by the Ray LaMontagne song of the same name. They combine roots, rock, country, and pop to generate an eclectic Americana blend.
Their new album, Echoes and Silence, was released in the midst of Pagliaro’s battle with breast cancer and takes her fight to the forefront with album highlights “Fast As I Can” and “Whispers in the Wind.”
Recently we chatted with Petrilli about the new Roses & Cigarettes record.
Cowboys & Indians: What do you want listeners to take away from Echoes and Silence?
Angela Petrilli: Jenny and I want our listeners to feel like they’ve been on a journey (we’ve been told it’s a great road trip album, ha ha!). We really had something to say with these songs, and this album is truly a time stamp of us and where we were.
C&I: How did you go about developing your unique sound? Who were some of your influences?
Petrilli: When we first started this band, Jenny and I bonded over our mutual love for Ray Lamontagne. We even named our band after one of his songs! We both have parts of our musical tastes that are very similar that include Patty Griffin, Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, John Mayer, and the Allman Brothers. On the flip side, we have musical tastes that are very different from one another. We often joke about where we gravitate in terms of ’90s music! I favor the grunge and alternative bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains, and Jenny loves ’90s hip-hop. The musical commonalities and differences we have, have not only allowed us to introduce one another to new music, but have also led us to develop our own unique sound. We like all types of music and gather inspiration from all of it. Our new album, Echoes and Silence, definitely highlights that.
C&I: What inspired the album?
Petrilli: Two months after the release of our debut album, Jenny was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. It was a hand we never thought we’d be dealt, but we pushed forward. That was the only option. Jenny and I believe so strongly in the strength and healing that comes from music. When we went into preproduction for the album, obviously her ongoing battle with cancer was going to be a jumping off point for the songs we were writing together. Our song “Fast As I Can” illustrates all the emotions that run through your head when you don’t know how much time on earth you have left. Jenny so beautifully illustrates those emotions and feelings in the lyrics and her singing. It’s one of my favorite songs we’ve written. It’s a fight song.
But we didn’t want this album to be about cancer. We wanted this album to be a celebration of our growth as a band, as musicians, as friends, and as songwriters. We truly pushed ourselves to our creative limits, and we couldn’t be prouder of all the songs on this album.
C&I: How did you approach the songwriting?
Petrilli: We write collaboratively. Sometimes I will come up with a guitar part; other times Jenny will come up with a melody. One of us always comes to the other with an initial idea, and from there we put our brains together and see what comes out. We write the music we want to hear.
C&I: Are there any particular songs that you are most proud of?
Petrilli: I love all the songs! They’re like our children. For me, I am most proud of the title track, “Echoes and Silence.” I absolutely love the vocal melody Jenny sings. It’s haunting and beautiful. Her knack for imagery really shines on that song. When I brought the guitar part to the table, I knew it was very different from songs Jenny and I had written for our first album ... but I knew there was something there.
C&I: What was the production process like for the album? Any fun stories along the way?
Petrilli: Production time is always incredibly creative and fun. Our producer, Michael Lyons, is a hell of a human. He pushes us to be the best musicians and songwriters we can be. I always like watching him work and watching the way he listens to things during the recording process. His attention to detail and ear for a good hook are always inspiring. His work ethic makes Jenny and me work harder. We had the privilege to track drums, bass, and most of the guitars at Mulholland Recording up in Malibu, California. Our friends John and Ted Siegel run the studio and we had the most magical weekend tracking there. The energy in those canyons can absolutely be heard on this record.
C&I: What has been the biggest motivating factor to keep making music through some difficult times?
Petrilli: Our love of what we do: playing, writing, and performing music together.
C&I: What can we expect in terms of touring?
Petrilli: Once Jenny’s health gets better, we plan to hit the road!
Listen to Echoes and Silence, below.