Erin & The Wildfire released a brand new single nostalgically titled, “Little Me.” That nostalgia is echoed in both the lyrics and the instrumentation as this song mixes soulful ‘60s sounds with touching visions of a carefree childhood. “Little Me” was recorded as part of the band’s second full-length album. It was produced by Grammy-nominated producer Matthew E. White and is expected to be released in the spring of 2022.
Originally from Charlottesville, VA, Erin & The Wildfire formed a solid decade ago and now makes their home in Richmond, where they’ve cultivated a dedicated following. The eponymous “Erin” is the frontwoman and masterful vocalist Erin Lunsford who lends her seemingly endless range to this track. The notes she hits are honestly astounding. The Wildfire consists of Ryan Lipps on guitar, Nick Quillen on drums, Matt Wood on bass, and relative newcomer Stephen Roach who’s been playing keyboards with the band since 2019.
Erin & The Wildfire spent years evolving and honing their sound until they found themselves in the funky-soul and indie-pop genres. “Little Me” exemplifies this refined sound with an airtight composition that evokes Bahamas (Afie Jurvanen) and Otis Redding. Lipps’ clear, spotless guitar tone matches Lunsford’s vocal melody to set up the groove.
It cannot be understated how important it is that Quillen’s kick drum and Wood’s bass lock together. It’s exactly what the song requires and expertly drives things forward as the sound opens up and pours into the chorus. Roach’s staccato piano really fills out the first chorus until he switches to the synth which hits like something out of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters alternating syncopated droplets with long classic square leads.
The lyrics hit that nostalgia bone hard with pangs of loss for that kid that we’re all just trying to reconnect with. Lunsford sings /Little me would climb a tree/ Little me would never be thinkin’ about my body/ Or what they’d call me./ Finding that inner child despite the weight of adulthood and all the struggles that got us to where we are is a running theme as the chorus becomes the outro /It’s time to get in touch with my inner child/ It’s time/ It’s time/ It’s time to get in touch/.
Now that they’re playing live shows again, Erin & The Wildfire came back with a fiery fury playing a sold-out show at Richmond, Virginia’s Friday Cheers and lighting up NPR’s mountain stage and airwaves. Look for their latest release this spring and listen to “Little Me” to get in touch with that kiddo you used to be.
Featured image by Christina Swanson.
Was there a particular moment that led to this song?
That made you stop and say to yourself, “It’s time to get in touch with my inner child?” In late 2020, my therapist and I were in deep discussion about my winding (still ongoing!) journey with body acceptance. In one session, we talked about how my younger self was optimistic, adventurous, and most notably, not judgmental about my body.
Little Erin didn’t care about her arms or her belly, she was just trying to find cool rocks and climb trees. And that realization is what sparked the lyrics for “Little Me.” I want to put down that judgment and honor my child self by playing fully and letting go of superficial fears that limit me.
Did the songwriting process help to get in touch with “Little Me”?
For example, the lyrics mention “playing make-believe until it goes out of style”. Have you been able to play make-believe? Every time we play the song, I’m transported to the the apple tree in our neighbor’s yard that my brother and I would climb.
I see the bottom of the creek bed that we’d swim to without hesitation. So in a way yes this songwriting process brought me very close to my child self. Every time we get to play this song I’m reminded of those moments of freedom and playfulness.
You’ve mentioned the journey that led you to your current sound. How did you arrive here?
What influences or genres did you drop? Which ones did you hold onto for dear life? We began in a very Americana, singer/songwriter area because we started off putting my solo songs to work with the band. I also used to play banjo and acoustic guitar with the band, but that hasn’t happened in 5 or 6 years.
It wasn’t until a few years into collaborating that we were able to drop the Americana vibe and sculpt our sound into indie-pop and soul-pop. There was a soulfulness to my singing voice even in the beginning that we never let go of, but the melodies and the rest of the song arrangements have totally evolved.
What was the recording process like for this latest album? How was working with Matthew E. White?
We recorded most of this album during the pandemic, which was super challenging, but still rewarding. We wrote more than half the record while in quarantine. Writing that way was frustrating, but also opened some creative avenues we wouldn’t have otherwise explored. We would send recordings back and forth each week and build the songs out virtually as much as we could. Then we hit the studio with Matthew E. White in 2021 and it was smooth sailing.
We had some really strong ideas going into the studio that he brought to life! I wish we had unlimited funds so we could spend more time in the studio like that because we have so much fun.