Chicago Duo Tawny Newsome & Bethany Thomas Release Debut Single

12 shares, 113 points

Tawny & Bethany started singing together 15 years ago in Chicago and have since made a name for themselves as actors–Tawny has starred on shows including Netflix’s Space Force & Season 2 of The Twilight Zone, as well as her own podcast, and Bethany has been on stage at Steppenwolf, The Second City & more.

Bethany Thomas and Tawny Newsome have been singing together for 15 years, and will be releasing Material Flats, their debut(ish) album together. The album will be the first release on Tawny’s imprint Fine Alpinist Records, out October 9. It is a now-or-never plunge into the unknown with two performers who’ve been everywhere else. Born out of the pandemic, protests, and a fierce desire to learn to do things for themselves, Material Flats is a chance for them to lead together.

The album’s bombastic opener “White Balloon” keeps an eye out for the danger that hides in clear sight when you’re up in the middle of nowhere. “‘White Balloon’” is about staking your claim and keeping your head in spaces where the thin veil of racism has long been lifted,” notes Bethany. “I listened to the entire White Stripes discography in one long morning,” adds Tawny. “Then I read a distressing story on twitter about white supremacist groups gaining traction through increasingly insidious online recruitment tactics. I did my (daily) calculation of how long it would take me to escape up the trail that runs behind my house if a hate group rolled up my road. Classic rock and roll anecdote, huh?”

The album’s eight tracks explore themes of isolation, unrest, self-realization and reassessing one’s surroundings, which are certainly prevalent during any era but were not ignorable and easily synthesized while Tawny & Bethany wrote/recorded. Tawny & Bethany note, “Material Flats is an album that had to happen but couldn’t have worked out in any other timeline — the time, the space, the energy and the inspiration all finally came together the summer of the pandemic. The process was swift, maybe a bit more rudimentary than we’re used to, but I think that served us as we were not able to overthink anything.”

Their debut(ish) album Material Flats is available October 9th via Fine Alpinist.