The Cover Letter
The Cover Letter bare it all in their music. With every performance, it’s clear they give the audience everything they’ve got, and have a great time doing it.
“It’s a vulnerable but amazing thing, writing and playing music,” says Jacob Shipman, who splits vocal performances for the Austin-based indie folk-rock group with counterpart Chelsea Barbo. “We write about ourselves and the struggles of being who we are, so, in a way, we really are pouring ourselves out all over the stage – being our true selves in front of a lot of people.”
Their debut, self-titled EP, released early February 2015, spans the trenches of living with heartbreak and self-doubt all while exploring the boundaries of their genre. The Cover Letter has not only had local success, played regularly on local radio stations such as 93.3 KGSR, 101X, KDRP Sun Radio and 98.9 KUTX, and local television shows, but also on the national level, being named as one of Music Connections "Hot 100 Unsigned bands".
A lineup of multi-instrumentalists, including Jacob on vocals, guitar harmonica and drums, Chelsea on vocals, guitar and piano, Johnni Roaché on harmonica, bass, guitar and piano, Jarrod Nall on guitar, bass and piano, and Trevor Van Stanfield on drums and lead guitar, offers a unique feel to every song, as the group is known for switching instruments regularly throughout their performances.
“It helps us keep everything fresh. We are always playing in different arrangements, keeping the audience, and ourselves, on their toes,” says Jarrod, who co-founded the group with Jacob in mid-2013. “It’s always the same band, but it never sounds the same.”
The Cover Letter recorded their EP at Ohm Studios in Austin, Texas. Produced by the talented Justin Bocanegra of Track Record Audio, the EP establishes that even though they've been down and out, they’re still fun-loving and full of heart.
While writing their debut tracks, most of the members were unemployed. “We really were struggling. We had lost jobs and loved ones, and were trying to make sense of it all in a town where it’s not always easy to make ends meet,” says Jacob. “That’s where our name came from.”
“Jacob had a lot to say, and we helped him put it all together,” Chelsea says. “The writing process was really intense, and sometimes, extremely emotional, but we were able to create these songs that made us feel good, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Vocally, Jacob and Chelsea share a mixture of elegant harmony and raw emotion all while winding in and out of each other’s melodies. “We can both sing and we’ve both always loved groups with dual-front vocals, so it only made sense,” say Jacob and Chelsea. “What really brings it home is the rhythm. We’re always wanting to do something different, push the envelope a bit, but stick to our roots at the same time. Jarrod, Johnni and Trevor make it all come together.”
The group says they have been working tirelessly on a full-length album, which they promise is going to showcase their ever-developing sound.
“We are never still,” says Jacob. “Every day we grow, we write, we change and we live. We’re excited for the next chapter.”