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Massachusetts' Lo Fine look to expand audience for its dreamy alt-country

Lo Fine's delicate, meandering songs sound like nighttime - they begin with a whisper, swell softly and then fade, each like a hazy dream. And it turns out that impression isn't far off: many of the songs on the Northampton, Mass. band's 2002 EP Slow to a Crawl and 2001's long-player Nine were, indeed, written at night. "I guess much of the playing and writing happens then," says singer-guitarist Kevin O'Rourke, the band's songwriter. "I am up early most days, but also up late most nights. I nap."

O'Rourke and bandmates Brian Marchese (drums), Mark Schwaber (guitar), Thane Thomsen (bass) and Bruce Tull (pedal steel and guitar) are at work on a new full-length CD, which they hope to finish mixing by the end of the year. The new disc will likely feature the same subtly twangy and utterly beautiful alt-country that has earned them a devoted following in New England, where newspapers regularly name them one of the region's most treasured acts.

O'Rourke recently took time out from recording to answer a few questions.

Hybrid: Do you record your albums at home, or with producers at a studio?

O'Rourke: I've done both. The first thing we got together (Nine) was recorded in my apartments, and some live tracks from the Bay State Hotel, in Northampton. Then we recorded at Thom Monahan's (of the Pernice Brothers) house on his 8-track for the first full length, and then we recorded at a cottage in Connecticut for the second EP. This album we're working on is being done mainly at Slaughterhouse Studio in Hadley, Mass., with some tracks recorded at Bruce's house.

Hybrid: Your sound seems to have a melancholy quality. Do you think that's a fair description?

O'Rourke: I've heard that. I think it's sometimes hopeful.

Hybrid: How much do you perform live? Do you enjoy performing live?

O'Rourke: I don't know how much I perform live. Maybe a couple of times a month in the slow times? I'd like to be doing more. Whenever I get to go out for any length of time, I seem to feel better.

Hybrid: What is your day job? Does it affect your music in any way?

O'Rourke: I have a bunch of part time jobs that I don't really like, but they're better than past ones I've had. Now I try to get as much work done while I'm home, so that I can travel more. It kind of works. I'm pretty sure I'd get more writing done without the day job.

Hybrid: How's the new record coming along?

O'Rourke: I think it's going really well. I'm excited to have it come out. I guess I just want us to play and support the new record.

-Justin Glanville


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