Brightblack Morning Light was started by Nathan "Nabob" Shineywater (guitars, vocals) and Rachael "Rabob" or "Rabinyah" Hughes (Fender Rhodes, vocals), two childhood friends from Alabama who played one of their earliest shows (under the name Rainywood) for 15 people at a benefit for the Alabama Green Party in 2001. Fortunately for the duo, their fan base included the influential Will Oldham (aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy), who invited the duo to accompany him on his tour.
Eventually, Shineywater and Hughes (both of whom claim to have Native American blood in them "somewhere") decided to reject city life completely and settled in rural northern California, living in tents during the warmer months and a small cabin in the winter.
"Nathan D. "Nabob" Shineywater was raised rurally in Alabama by two older men who became known in the community for enhancement of the spiritual side of life. The eldest chose to be a rural preacher, who sang gospels. The other man chose to distribute a refined white powdered South American plant to anyone interested, in hopes to enhance the "party spirit" side of life.
"Between these two men, Nabob spent his weekdays singing along to Steely Dan. The weekends however were spent with the aging community of peanut farmers in church, singing highly spiritual gospel. "Their voices were very diverse. All of them old, except mine. Some were missing teeth, adding percussion to the 'SSS' in S words. All the men and women sang with both sadness and joy, depending on their day, and they sang as prayer. Singing in that way is the only way to sing! It wasn't Sacred Harp singing, it was straight ahead gospel that lent itself to the most common of people."
"His best friend and music partner Rachael "Raybob" Hughes was also raised rurally, in Montevallo, Alabama. The downtown area has a wonderful wooded park of cedar trees, some of them carved as huge faces. Within the town's park Rachael's father built an ornate waterfall. The piano in their home was frequented by Southern Gospel as well. This is the crux of her playing style, which is solely released on vintage Rhodes pianos.
"Rural Northern California is where the two pitch tents in the warm months, and live communally in a small old cabin in the colder months.
"Brightblack Morninglight in recent live settings have included newest member Elias Reitz' complementory woven thunder of bells, tabla and other chiff-chaff-clap-boom percussions. Other members include Noah Wilson who has long been patterning his own drumkit beats with the shadows of invisible dew drops he found while photographing fields in Humboldt County, California.
"After 18 months of writing songs and playing & touring with bands like Bonnie Prince Billy, White Magic, Women & Children, Papa M, Joanna Newsome, Vetiver, Entrance, Gojogo, Daniel Higgs' Magic Alphabet, Lungfish, and recently making their UK debut at the Slint-curated All Tomorrow's Parties, Brightblack will commence recording their Matador debut later this Spring."
As written by N. Shineywater and R. Hughes on the Matador website:
"These collections of songs were written by two homeless friends from Alabama while living in tents in rural Northern California. The majority of this recording was completed without a permanent shelter. Our mixed blood holds some American Indian somewhere, but we have no reservation to live. Yet we make a deliberate attempt to be indigenous to the Earth nearby, away from city babylons. Matador Records asked us to record our songs, and this LP is what came of it.
If we travel with friends to your town sharing songs, we are grateful for that. We hope you will be too."