Max Ink Radio’s host Rökker could hardly contain his excitement this past Saturday as he introduced the evening’s guests set to perform in the Devil’s Lair segment. To wit:
Madison is a place where bands form like young stars in a nebula. Our music scene is a galaxy of rich talent and amazing performers. And every now and then, we get to see a supernova, a moment when immensely talented artists are fused together in a gravitational vortex to create a singular point. Tonight, Jimmy, the three stars are aligning, Gin, Chocolate & Bottle Rockets are performing live in the Devil’s Lair!— “Astrophysicist” and radio deejay Rökker
Such an introduction may have felt hyperbolic for any other set of performers with a lesser mastery of their craft and talent. But Beth Kille (the gin), Shawndell Marks (the chocolate) and Jen Farley (the bottle rocket) deserved every ounce of praise Mr. Rökker bestowed upon them — and then some. They, indeed, brought it.
The three came together nine years ago as great musicians often do: after one of them accidentally banged another one’s head on-stage during a performance. They went on to release a self-titled six-song EP soon after, and have somehow managed to balance their thriving musical careers with just–as–fulfilling personal and professional lives. They released the full-length album Lean in 2018 and continue to play shows statewide, all while launching a multitude of projects, musical collaborations and otherwise. How do they do it?
Their Devil’s Lair set paid tribute to the music of another supernova triptych, Linda Rondstat, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, with beautifully harmonized renditions of “It’s So Easy to Fall in Love,” “Jolene,” “Born to Run” and “Desperado.” Dustin Boyle, of The Spaceship.tv, was on the board with the masterful mixdown.
As to how they keep up their creative flow while meeting the challenges of their busy schedules, they seem to have transposed the lessons they’ve learned while singing harmoniously with each other for so long into a general ethos for living.
“You need purpose, and you need partnership and you need presence in order to create harmony,” said Jen.
“It’s not just how we work together as a band, but something you can take out into the world,” added Beth, finishing her partner’s sentence to elucidate the concept.