In a moment awash in guy/girl duos, anthemic arena-folk-pop bands, and presidential debates producing anxiety levels previously achieved only by haunted drive-in theaters screening Jerry Springer reruns at ear-splitting volume, Lowland Hum is a breath of fresh air. Daniel and Lauren invite their listeners to share in an intimate and vulnerable space they have created together. In the live setting, the duo offers an immersive experience of thoughtful songcraft interspersed with audience Q&A and extemporaneous songs about the day's happenings. Their recordings take listeners on a journey through relatable, imagistic poetry exploring themes of memory, longing, confession and identity, and drawing attention to the often unnoticed resonance of the everyday.
Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Lowland Hum is husband/wife team Daniel and Lauren Goans. Together they are a prolific, two-person creative factory. They write, arrange and produce all of their own music, and have honed a cohesive visual arts aesthetic to match the hushed simplicity of their sound.
The duo's beginning starts with Daniel, a courageous dreamer, songwriter and producer. Daniel and Lauren met in North Carolina in 2009 when he crashed a party at her apartment. The next year, Daniel asked Lauren to design the album art for a solo record he was working on. He also invited Lauren to sing harmony on one of tracks. This was Lauren's first experience with recording, and what started out as a singular guest appearance morphed into Lauren's voice being added to about half of the album.
Initially, Lauren performed with Daniel, singing harmonies on songs he had written, but within a year or so, she was cowriting and arranging on virtually all of the material. Lowland Hum formed officially in 2012, a few months after the two were married and their collaboration deepened. In the years following the release of their critically acclaimed debut Native Air (2013), the duo has toured the country almost nonstop. In 2014 they followed up their debut with Four Sisters, a conceptual EP and video series, and then, in 2015, they released their eponymous sophomore full-length album, garnering a slew of praise, including an NPR First Listen. Lowland Hum has performed in diverse settings all over the country ranging from large folk festivals and theaters to living rooms and gardens.
Lauren's background in visual art asserts itself in the duo's collaboration significantly. She has created all of the band's artwork and design as well as several transportable installation pieces that augmented the band's live performances. She is also responsible for an impressive collection of music videos often using found footage from public domain archives. Over the years, Lauren has designed five editions of handmade lyric books that the duo passes out to audiences so they can read or sing along as the moment suits.
Lowland Hum's songs have been described as poetic and evocative, and their arrangements minimal, hushed and dynamic. They continue to attract a growing body of listeners around the world. Daniel and Lauren spent the summer of 2016 creating their third full-length album in a friend's attic. The album, Thin, came out on February 10, 2017, and is their "deepest collaboration to date" according to the band. They completed a nationwide headline tour, interspersed with supporting Josh Ritter, Jesca Hoop and Penny and Sparrow, in the first half of 2017, they will perform at a handful of festivals this summer and embark on their first European tour in the fall.
"Sincerity, community and beauty is how I think of Lowland Hum; the sounds of Lauren and Daniel Goans. Thin is the husband and wife duo's third album since their 2013 debut, further refining their hushed harmonies and aural paintings. It's a sound that makes them a quiet Sunday-morning favorite." - Bob Boilen, NPR Music
"In this frantic, fast food, Facebook world, Lowland Hum draws us into a sanctuary where we can really feel, and dare to be human, with all the naked vulnerability that implies. Thin is majestic in its simplicity, elegant in its honesty." - Joseph McSpadden, No Depression
"[Lowland Hum creates an] atmospheric brand of emotionally intelligent folk"
-Matt Grosinger, Nerdist
"[Thin]...is as complex as it is relevant, the product of struggle, loss, and adaptation. By accepting limitations, Lowland Hum has carved out a new sound for themselves on Thin. And although they have stripped away much of their former comforts, the fruit of their labor is here for us to savor like a wine poured from troubled vines."
- Thomas Hendricks, Whurk
"For many, the art-folk duo first graced our ears when they took part in NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series a couple of years back. Since then, they’ve been steadily growing a faithful following and riding the wave of popularity rise alongside a movement for conscious music that forgoes the showboat-y anthems of stadium bands in favor of thoughtful, haunting folk movements to sit back and really listen to and relate to." - Jonathan Frahm, For Folk's Sake
"[On Thin]...the two of them, their voices, their emotions (it’s hard not to detect them), became the spotlight, the tension, and the spark of this album. It’s like watching negative space become the feature, then back again. It is quietly, emotionally, psychedelic. A kind of game of listening. When do they braid together into one voice? Where do they pull apart? They can make harmonies as gentle as mist, and they do, time and time again, all up and down the tracks of this record. But there are also moments of one voice calling out to the other, unanswered. What you are listening to, you realize, is the undulating form, of strain." - Lulu Miller
One of the band's dearest friends, Al Brilliant, also volunteered to write his version of a bio of LH. Al is a gifted poet, lifelong creator and the founder of Unicorn Press. He lived with the band for a significant portion of their first two years of marriage and is both an inspiring example of sustained, growing artistic excellence and their patron saint of encouragement.
Here is what Al wrote:
"Here’s my paean of joy to Thee – all in one sentence!
Lowland Hum, my dear friends, Lowland Hum, a full but intimate orchestra of only two, a husband-and-wife duo, Daniel & Lauren Goans, whose differences and similarities, parallels and contradictions, will excite your earholes, grapple and mystify as much as explain, yes explain, for their looping lyrics already exist in our hearts and, if we’re the lucky ones, we’re already on board with their Spirit, all that’s left is for them to strum and sing, and don’t they just (!) and with tracks and licks that melt and coagulate for a perfect fit, light and dark, a charisma of joy and the somber, pop-savvy folk-rock, the light of truth, and the music–Daniel carved 75 of these clear melodies from 1998–2010 and another 50 inspired by Lauren, then lo and behold they have chiseled well over 50 together, luxurious songs (“Odell”) and sparse (“Pocketknife”), stompin’ their acoustical tambourine boxes, Daniel’s rough-hewn guitar handmade for him by luthier Bob Rigaud, more cello than lute, Lauren’s mellow soprano ostinati you can find free on YouTube or one of their collected albums (“Native Air“ for instance), sure there’s more coming and more, the “thumbs up” counter is flying, they’re traveling minstrel players all over the U. S. and soon the entire world, Mars watch out!, the momentum is building, we’ll all be humming, it’s coming, acousmatical soundscapes, Lowland Hum, my dear friends, Lowland Hum . . . "