The family behind Call Me Spinster and debut album “Potholes”

After years in the making, local sister-trio Call Me Spinster will release their debut album “Potholes” — get an inside look at the group and the process behind the music.

The three Call Me Spinster women with their children in a living room

From family to the studio, learn about this local group ahead of their debut album’s release.

Photo by DH Jacobs via Missing Piece Group

If you ask the sister-trio Call Me Spinster what their definition of a pothole is, it might look a little different from yours — sisterhood, motherhood, and the sense of time, all imagined within a hole in the Earth. This isn’t just a debut album, it’s their story.

What once was three points on a map (Costa Rica, Portland, OR, and Chattanooga) became the reconnection of sisters Rachel Graber Fortin, Rosalie Graber, and Amelia Graber Jacobs to officially form the band in 2017.

Jacobs said that after growing up in a household with musically inclined parents and a variety of instrumental lessons, the trio began performing at family functions whenever they were all together.

“We called it sister band retreats, we did that for two summers, and we always had this running joke that if we ever stopped teaching to go on maternity leave, we would all converge and start a band,” said Jacobs.

She added when she got pregnant the others moved to join her in Chattanooga. Now, the sisters, mothers + band mates have turned to music full-time and working through adulthood together.

NOOGAtoday | Call Me Spinster

“We are lucky enough to be sisters and be a community for each other.” — Rosalie Graber

Photo by William Johnson via Missing Piece Group

Finding comfort within the music community in Chattanooga, the group has felt like being a part of a market that isn’t oversaturated (in comparison to cities like Nashville or Los Angeles) allowed them to fall right into the seams and build a fan base.

Call Me Spinster’s upcoming “Potholes” release is the product of years in the making, featuring some of the band’s first songs + was actually recorded back in 2022. With the album’s lead single “Feet Are Dirty” out now, let’s dive into what you can expect once the full discography drops on Friday, April 12.

Produced by themselves and Drew Vandenberg (of Montreal, Faye Webster, Toro y Moi) while working with label Strolling Bones Records in nearby Athens, GA, the sounds might not be what you’re used to when you think of Call Me Spinster. The trio experimented with a hodgepodge of instruments like synthetic drums, trumpets, banjos, and more to create a “nostalgic, vintage sound.”

“These songs that are on this album have changed so much throughout the years compared to when we first performed them,” Graber said.

As you listen, you’ll hear pieces of each sister on the tracks as their writing methods are truly collaborative. From one member creating the chorus to another finding the melody or tweaking a sound, there is no doubt each song holds the same interwoven DNA that they share.

When diving into specific songs on the album, Jacobs recalls how “Constantly Dying” (track five) is a mix of a beat and verses that Fortin had created and set aside years ago. The band returned to it after being inspired by her son when he was four and asking big existential questions.

NOOGAtoday | Call Me Spinster

This album isn’t just the work of the sisters, there are traces of their loved ones within the visuals and sounds.

Photo by DH Jacobs via Missing Piece Group

Moving to the album’s title song, there’s a sense of being stuck in standing water while also seeking the comfort and pleasures of a time before moving on, almost like a breakup song. Throughout the record, the band said they honed in on using the breakup trope as an analogy, themes of motherhood, and making a home along the way.

Much like their self-titled EP from 2020, the songs on this album follow a more sonically curated mixed bag of different vibes. Straying away from the covers that got them started, the group has started to find the more playful side to their songwriting.

Fortin said that like a lot of artists they are around, they don’t identify with a genre or subgenre + don’t think that is the world anymore with the music industry trying to catch up to learn to talk about it.

“It might seem all over the place to us, but to the outside ear, I think it sounds like three sisters making music, which is unifying within itself,” she said.

Want to see Call Me Spinster live? They’re playing The Woodshop on Friday, Feb. 16. In the meantime, you can pre-order “Potholes.”

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