Spreading some sunny 70s folk
LAST year, a husband-and-wife duo drove their car through all 50 states of America while on tour, getting fans to sign it along the way. The 2002 Volvo did 305,000 miles and was covered bumper to bumper, inside and out, with signatures. This year, Nathaniel Paul Hoff and Jillian Speece, who make up band The Bergamot, put the Unity Car, as it’s known, up for auction. It raised $30,000 for the music therapy department of Beacon Children’s Hospital in their hometown of South Bend, Indiana. Jillian said: “We wanna make people feel like they belong. We wanna bring them together. And we’re like, unity … we wanna be unifiers in a world of division and distraction.
“We wanna go out there and do something.”
The couple see themselves in the mould of American folk singer and activist Pete Seeger.
They are hoping to shine their upbeat positivity on Britain next year and will release their debut UK single, PDR, next Friday.
Now based in New York, Nathaniel and Jillian met in high school and formed a band while attending Indiana University.
They’ve released four albums in America on their own record label and even control their tours.
In a world of selfie-obsessed celebs like Kim Kardashian, The Bergamots are a breath of fresh air, as is their sunny 70s folk, which brims with positivity.
They are the antithesis of much of what’s in the charts nowadays and a soothing balm for music fans bored with the same-sounding electronic R&B music that’s clogging up airwaves.
Jillian said: “We’re in a really interesting place right now, culturally and in the world, where in general it’s getting to be very selfish.
“You know, you have the pyjama celebrities on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and, ‘Oh, look at me, selfie selfie selfie, and snap, oh it’s all about me me me me me me me me’, and I think one of the big things was, we were like, ‘OK, we’re fed up with this.’”
BREATH OF FRESH AIR The Bergamots