Ordinary Elephant has toured the world and are set to bring their live, folk sound to Bryan.
On Saturday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m., the Americana duo will play at The Village Cafe in downtown Bryan in support of their latest studio album, “Honest.”
The Village Cafe has particular importance to the husband and wife duo. Pete and Crystal met when they were both performing at the same Village Cafe at a singer-songwriter night in 2009.
“It was an all-original open mic, so you had to play your own music,” Pete said. “[Crystal and I] were friends at first, for the first few months, and after a year we started dating. In 2011, I got a banjo, and that’s when we started playing together.”
While they did play together before Pete bought himself a banjo, it was the six-string instrument that solidified the two as a musical duo, said Crystal.
“We played together a little bit before [the banjo],” Crystal said. “We were both playing guitar, it was fine, but it [just] didn’t click.”
After the banjo united both of their artistic visions, the duo began to play more live shows in Bryan and later in Houston. In 2014, Pete and Crystal decided to go on tour. This wasn’t a spur of the moment decision however; Crystal said she and Pete researched the decision for months and finally decided it was time to pursue their dreams.
“People are going to think we’re crazy, but why not?” Crystal said. “We could always go back. At first, I quit my job, and he was working full time remotely, so that allowed me more time to write. We started doing open mics all over the country and built a little community of people, and that made us realize, maybe this is what we’re supposed to be.”
Pete said their romantic relationship influenced their music, but it is clear that it has also provided the glue to their artistry.
“Our relationship influenced our ability to be persistent, [to] have realistic expectations, which eventually became a career,” Pete said. “If we were just friends, other circumstances would’ve drawn us elsewhere.”
While Crystal and Pete performed at local open mic nights in Houston, interested attendees would ask if they had any recordings of their music. Thus, their first project “Dusty Words and Cardboard Boxes” was born, Crystal said.
In 2017, Ordinary Elephant released their debut studio album “Before I Go,” a project that contained a big folk band sound. With “Honest,” the duo wanted to strip down the instrumentation and further explore their honest songwriting voice, Crystal said.
“‘Honest’ is more stripped-down sounding than ‘Before I Go,’ and that was a conscious decision,” Crystal said. “The second album had the folk band vibe, but we perform as a duo, so we felt like we wanted to have something that felt more representative of what we do in a live show, and that was our goal with that album. When you walk away from it [‘Honest’] still sounds like a duo record.”
After 10 years of touring the world and receiving accolades like The International Folk Music Artist of 2018, Ordinary Elephant is coming back to where it all started. Crystal said sharing their talent with the people of Bryan is another exciting opportunity.
“Being able to come back now and to see how much that growth has continued and where it brought us is really cool.” Crystal said. “There are people coming that we knew from our other lives, that have stayed with us despite leaving those jobs, they’re excited for this other part of our lives.”
Pete said for the show on Saturday, he wants to bring a big venue feeling to a college city cafe.
“We’ll be [performing in a way] that’ll be different for The Village,” Pete said. “[We’re]excited to bring that format to The Village. I don’t know if there’s another place in town that does that, where people sit and listen and focus on the art being presented. We found some amazing rooms that only do that on our travel, it’s our favorite way to experience and present music.”
Saturday night’s event will be hosted by Bryan-based musician Joey McGee, who will also be playing original music of his own. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for students.
Tickets can be purchased at www.ordinaryelephant.net/the-village. For more information about Ordinary Elephant’s performance at The Village Cafe, call (979) 703-8514.