Singer-songwriter Adrian Bourgeois returns to Sacramento with a new project
Bourgeois and bandmate Paige Lewis’ band See How They Run makes a tour stop in town
Just five months ago, Adrian Bourgeois said bon voyage to Sacramento and jumped with both feet into the unknown.
Or, as some people call it: Los Angeles.
Now the singer-songwriter is back—for one night, anyway—to show off his new band, See How They Run. While the band is technically only a few months old, the project has been many years in the making.
Bourgeois and bandmate Paige Lewis, who will perform Thursday, November 14, at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub, have known each other almost half their lives. Over the years, the pair has collaborated on songs and performances—even though they’ve rarely lived in the same town long enough to give it much time.
Then, this past June, the twosome ditched their respective towns—Sacramento for Bourgeois, and Houston for Lewis—and met up in Los Angeles to give a joint venture the old college try.
“It’s always been kind of frustrating, because I feel like whenever over the years we’ve collaborated and performed together, it’s been the best combination,” Bourgeois said. “We always thought throughout the years, ’Wouldn’t it be great if we could actually do this full time?’ [But] we never had the opportunity until this year.”
Part of what makes See How They Run work so well lies in just how different the two musicians’ influences are.
Bourgeois grew up on a steady diet of the Beatles, Bob Dylan and a garden variety of ’60s-era rock ’n’ roll.
Lewis’ influences, in contrast, include more modern-pop singers such as Sheryl Crow and Alanis Morissette, with a subtle undercurrent of country. Together, the duo creates moody, lush pop arrangements that take elements from both worlds. Their voices pair to create gorgeous and sometimes haunting harmonies.
“When we work together, it tends to be more experimental and esoteric than [the kinds of songs] either of us comes up with individually,” Bourgeois said. “We take each other to a different place.”
The two met as kids in Nashville, Tenn. The Bourgeois family moved there in 1994 and stayed until 2002, when they moved back to Sacramento. Bourgeois’ father, Brent, himself a former musician with a few 1980s-era Top 40 hits under his belt (including “I Don’t Mind at All” with his former band Bourgeois Tagg) moved the family to Nashville for his new job as a record producer and head of A&R at the Christian label Word Records.
Lewis was one of the artists he discovered and ultimately signed. She was 15 at the time, and Bourgeois was 12.
As he got older, Bourgeois followed in his dad’s footsteps, honing his craft as a singer-songwriter. In 2008, he released a Beatles-influenced self-titled debut album; currently, he’s readying to release a double album, Pop/Art, in February 2014.
Lewis, who has released several records, including the 2011 album One Good Day, didn’t see her career take off with Word Records. So the singer headed to Los Angeles where she made a go as an indie artist before moving to Houston.
Whenever the two landed in the same city along their travels over the years, they worked on songs and performed during each other’s sets.
“Even with just that small amount of time, those shows always felt like the best that I was ever a part of because I felt that our voices blended so well together,” Bourgeois said.
Now, although each is still working on solo material, they’ve been able to give more focus to their joint project. Here, both sing and play guitar and the sound is fuller, enhanced with looping pedals and backing tracks.
“Both of us have spent 10 years playing bars and coffee shops as solo artists. Now we can create a full-band sound with just two people,” Bourgeois said. “I think we’re both thinking, ’Wow, I wish we thought of this years ago.’”