Love is a lot of things. Love is harmony. Love is power. Love is fire. Love is compromise and support. Love is creative. With all that said, love is Americana duo Courtney Lynn (vocals, guitar) and Quinn Russell (vocals, percussion). The couple’s music and stage dynamic embody all of the above. Their work is personal and tender, which is what the duo wanted to tap into when they decided to incorporate footage from their 2019 wedding into the video for their song “Fire,” off their 2020 EP “Remiss.”
“We wrote the song together as a love ballad to one another,” Courtney explains. “When we started to integrate the wedding footage, it brought tears to our eyes!”
“We are happy to hear that so many people have a different favorite song [from ‘Remiss’],” Quinn inserts. “It makes us feel like our music is relating to different people in individual ways and that is always our hope.”
Though Courtney Lynn and Quinn live in the Charlotte, Quinn is originally from Wilmington. Accompanied by Luke Barnette on bass and Steven Cornacchia on drums, Courtney Lynn and Quinn will play at Bourgie Nights on February 28, along with The Pinkerton Raid and the Caroliners Duo. This is Quinn’s first performance in ILM. “It’s a bit nostalgic to play in your hometown for the first time,” she notes.
encore spoke with Courtney Lynn and Quinn about marriage and music.
encore (e): So, how’s married life?
Courtney Lynn Russell: CLR): Better than expected … and I already thought it was going to be amazing.
Quinn Russell (QR): Before I get too cheesy here (because that’s what I tend to do), I will simply say: So far, it’s amazing and I feel like it keeps getting better.
e: Tell us about each of your personalities and philosophies when it comes to music. How are they different, the same, complementary … ?
CLR: I actually would have never pursued music professionally if it weren’t for Quinn! I tend to be more reserved while Quinn is a performer through and through.
QR: I have to say, Courtney is the ‘personality’ that writes a song for her personal thoughts, almost as if it is her journal; while I am, as she said, someone who loves to perform. The stage feels like a safe place for me, where I can be my truest self.
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e: Which came first: the music or the relationship? Or did they kind of come together simultaneously?
CLR: We became friends first. Actually, the first night we met we sang together and right away we felt the musical connection!
QR: Our relationship and musical journey, in a way, blossomed together, but we began officially dating and building a relationship past a friendship before we decided to chase our passion for music together.
e: Quinn, when did you move away and did you two meet in Charlotte or another city?
QR: I actually moved away from Wilmington when I went to college at NC State in Raleigh. After I graduated I moved to New York City, [then] Los Angeles (this is were Courtney and I originally met), [and then] Phoenix is where Courtney and I began dating. Then we both made our way to Charlotte. We had planned to move to Nashville together, and Charlotte was going to simply be a stopping point, but then we really started to enjoy our life here and decided to stay!
e: How much does your relationship impact your music and journey as a duo?
CLR: Our relationship and musical journey are undoubtedly intertwined. At this point there is really no way to keep professional and personal separate. However, I think that is part of the draw.
QR: I would have to agree with Courtney on this. Also, the musical connection is one of the first things that drew us together even as friends, and we both challenge each other in different ways to chase the passion we have for music. I think loving someone and being able to do what you love together is incredible. Our music and writing is impacted by our love, but what’s even cooler is our love is impacted by the music we are able to create together.
e: Let’s talk more about “Remiss”—what’s the story behind the album title?
CLR: “Remiss” comes from one of the tracks on the album, “Better.” The word means “to lack care or attention.” Many of the songs on the album are about just that, so the name suited the EP.
e: Do you both share in the songwriting process or do you each come with a song in mind to flesh out?
CLR: I often begin with a progression I like on the guitar. Then I’ll sing a melody of nonsense words and go back over it later to write the lyrics. Quinn often helps in the lyric writing as well and has a tendency to add some amazing harmonies and ad-libs
e: Tell us about a couple more songs—one each of you had a heavier hand in writing.
QR: I personally enjoy “Five Minutes,” mostly because it was written about me and how I was hard to get in the beginning. Also, it’s just a fun song to perform.
CLR: “Better” is a song I wrote about a past relationship. After looking back on the way things ended, I realized that there was so much I could have done better. In this particular case, the choice was right but the method was wrong. I think the process of self-reflection and improvement is so important. We should all work to become kinder versions of ourselves every day.
e: Any plans for a full-length album?
QR: I think that is something we have as a future goal, but sometimes we wonder about the way the music industry is changing if it is beneficial at this point in our musical experience.
e: Could you expand upon how a full-length album may not be beneficial? Tell us more about the perspective here.
CLR: The music industry has always been fast-paced, but with the evolution of technology and streaming, it seems to be moving faster than ever. Consumers are used to having unlimited access to new content, so artists are responding to that by releasing more singles and EPs than LPs.