Americana husband and wife duo My One and Only want you to peek inside the good and bad of their marriage. That is through their songwriting chops on their very intimate and personal recently released debut EP, This Past Year.
For years, spouses Ben and Kassie Wilson toiled in Nashville on their solo music careers and after a trying year both personally and professionally, the married couple organically formed My One and Only. Blending Southern soulfulness with the ethos of Americana music, the songs seemed to have just poured out of the couple on This Past Year, revealing honest and sometimes emotionally raw song lyrics and looking glass glimpse inside of a marriage.
AXS recently sat down with this Nashville-based duo as the pair opened up about the real ups & downs of a marriage, how a producer can change an album’s trajectory and the Counting Crows effect on their music.
AXS: You both have had successful separate music careers until joining forces to form My One and Only. What music do you bond over as a couple?
Ben Wilson: Some of the first artists we listen together would have to be Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton...
Kassie Wilson: Counting Crows?
BW: Yea, I loved Counting Crows growing up, and then I dragged Kassie to a show when we got together, and she loved it.
KW: Brandi Carlile was the one for me that is a significant influence. Ben is the cooler one when it comes to musical tastes (both laugh), he always knows and finds really good music. He introduced me to Brandi Carlile many years ago, and I was just blown away by her voice and songwriting.
AXS: This debut This Past Year EP is a very intimate album. Why did you want these songs to be so personal or did it evolve organically through the songwriting process?
BW: I’ve always written personal songs. For me, if a song isn’t ultra-personal, it almost wasn’t worth writing. This album is called This Past Year because as we wrote these songs a lot of personal issues came to the surface along the way and it seemed right to write about it.
KW: I like to be honest in my writing, what I’m feeling, what I’m going through in life. Honestly, writing about what I am going through helps me process it, helps me understand the issue better. I just want to be real with people in what we’ve gone through and been through. I enjoy sharing that.
AXS: What did producer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Benjamin Booker, Hurray for the Riff Raff) bring to the creative process on this album?
BW: I used to produce all of our solo records. This was the first time we hired a producer, so I was nervous to bring someone else into the mix. Basically, it boiled down to me giving over control, which is really hard (both laugh). But, in all sincerity, he was amazing.
KW: Andrija is like a ball of energy. I feel I have a lot of energy, so when we both got together, I kind of felt sorry for Ben (laughs). He brings so much to the process that I cannot even describe it. Like Ben said, he’s amazing.
AXS: The new video and song for “To My Rescue”really seems like a window into your marriage.
KW: It's crazy because we had all the song ready to record and then this song came along. We started writing, being honest about our relationship and the song just came out. Ben and I have been together for over ten years. We've both done things we're not always proud of, but through all of it, we've grown closer. We've grown closer through all this album's process.
AXS: When you are both working together on anything from songwriting to a music video, do you both have code words or warning signals so to not piss the other one off?
KW: So many people always say, “I do not know how you work with your spouse” (laughs). Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy, but I love it!
BW: I wouldn't say there is any kind of worry that we'll cross any sort of line when it comes to words that will upset one another while we're working. But, I will say that there is a code that when Kassie falls asleep on the studio floor, we know it's time for a break (both laugh).
AXS: What emotions are you hoping people might experience when they’re listening to track by track of This Past Year?
KW: One thing I think this album will do is make people think. It’s good to think about things we’ve gone through or act or how we feel towards our loved ones. Maybe we need to reach out to our family members, or people that are important to us. I hope people will feel good after listening to this album, but I really hope it moves them.
Take an AXS first look at My One and Only’s newest video which is the first single off This Past Year, “To My Rescue.” Their debut EP can be found wherever you buy or stream music and catch My One and Only on the road this fall.