Photo by Mirifoto / Photo Editing by Rick Clark
What happens when you pair a gravel-voiced groove master with a sensitive Americana-infused soul? When you mix the detailed observations of a world traveler with storytelling that brings emotional landscapes to life? You get the songwriting team of Brightwell & Moran.
In 2014, Kelly Brightwell and Woody Moran wondered if writing together could be a way to meld their unique writing sensibilities into something with a broader appeal. Many of their creations come from fragments of melody or lyrics that the songwriters have been carrying around for a while, but they’ve also started a session with nothing and pulled a song out of thin air. They soon realized that they had an amazing synergy and could trust the songwriting process to help them create compelling and accessible material.
According to Brightwell, “Our goal is to write songs that can become part of the soundtrack of someone’s life.” Moran told the tale of bringing their song Whisper In The Night to Grammy Award-winning, Nashville songwriter Darrell Brown at last year’s ASCAP conference. “He said to me, ‘This isn’t Pop music or Country music... but this is a great song that needs to be recorded!’”
Released in April 2016, their debut EP, Radio Stranger, features five songs which combine elements of many genres, including Folk-Rock, Pop, Country and Adult Contemporary. It was recorded and produced by Rob Stroup at 8 Ball Studios in Portland, OR. The band features some of Portland's best players; Jean-Pierre Garau (keyboards), Michael Henchman (bass), Jeff Koch (electric guitar), and Jeffrey Anthony (drums). The collection of hook-y and rhythmic tunes are held together by lush instrumental textures and the combined voices of Brightwell & Moran.