“It’s the honesty and genuine feel…this demonstration of pure heart on display that make this a great band and a force to be reckoned with. ”
— SBS Music Review
“...When I heard her voice it was watershed...like the first time I heard Dayna Manning or Alison Krauss.”
— RanCave Music Blog
There’s an honesty and vulnerability that comes from writing music drawn from raw emotion. It’s in that emotion that Portland folk-pop duo, Bees in a Bottle, find their beacon.
Multi-instrumentalists, Christine and Chad McAllister navigate dark themes together in an expressive ebb and flow of pain and promise. Their music serves as a catharsis for the kinds of swirling emotions that arise from difficult situations. They strive to create something meaningful to heal them.
The band’s name jumped out at them after searching for a word that best evoked the feeling of their sound. Christine McAllister says, “I ultimately read ‘...like bees in a bottle’ as part of the definition for another random word, and it felt right. As time has gone by, I've realized there are more reasons why it still feels right. The sense that I have all of this creative stuff buzzing around in me, but I keep it locked up.”
Their latest record, Treasures Ugly and Few, began as a secret collection of songs Christine wrote to help her deal with the sudden deaths of two close friends. When Chad heard demos of the songs, he pushed for the band to record them. The music became a way to process their grief alone and together as survivors, spouses, and bandmates. The songs express the rawness of loss and bring the pain to life while offering hope and tenderness at the same time. Christine’s voice smolders like a burning ember, gently melting anguish, while tender instrumentals veil lyrics burdened with heartache.
In contrast to previous records, Christine and Chad experimented with a candid approach to capturing each song’s authenticity. Chad explains. “We focused on maintaining the original emotions and vibe of each song. Most of the vocal takes were first, second or even scratch takes. Some of the demo tracks were even used on the final mixes of a few songs because they felt the best. We’re very grateful that Stephan Bayley at Way Out West Studio was open to this process. He contributed a lot to the record.”
The duo met in late 2008 in the Philadelphia area, where they played together for the first time. By early 2009 they formed Bees In A Bottle, releasing one bedroom recording in 2010. They followed with a full studio album in 2012 and a 2014 EP. The band moved to Portland, Oregon in 2015. The two regularly contribute to other Portland artists’ work through live and studio performance, theater, and film. Treasures Ugly and Few, is set to release in Spring, 2020, with a west coast tour set to follow.