On their debut album, Only the Stars, Chicago’s The Long Farewells look to bring little-known stories of the 1910s to light.
In their trademark style of unearthing the beauty in tragedy, singer Gabrielle Schafer and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Rester have created a haunting portrait of America at a time of creative destruction that echoes our own.
Schafer and Rester first began playing together as members of Chicago alt-country band The Lost Cartographers, who shared bills with the likes of Samantha Crain, Lily & Madeleine, and Jill Andrews of the everybodyfields, and headlined the local music stage at Taste of Chicago in 2010. Their 2009 album Walk On drew raves that it “would make the Handsome Family proud” and featured a song “good enough to be recorded by Faith, Reba or even Dolly” (Maverick), as well as praise for Schafer’s voice as “shin[ing] through at all points... somewhere between the vocal essence of Natalie Merchant combined with a slight country-twang, reminiscent of Jenny Lewis” (War on Pop). Where that band’s sound drew on instrumental influences as diverse as psychedelia, jazz, and classical, Only the Stars strips the duo’s songs down to Schafer’s unforgettable voice, guitar, and the occasional spare percussion, banjo, or evocative fiddle line courtesy of virtuosic guest star, Sarah Blick of Sugar Still.