Hometowns | Birds & Arrows [Chapel Hill, NC]

Birds and Arrows formed in the musically rich town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 2007, as a creative outlet for wife and husband duo, Andrea Connolly and Pete Connolly. Together they quickly released two EPs. The first, an eponymous effort documenting the strained conditions under which the two first met, was followed by the Woodgrain Heart EP, telling of how the two then grew together.

With the addition of celloist Josh Starmer in 2009 during the recording of the band’s first full-length record, the band became complete, taking things to a whole new level by added haunting melodies and enriching their musical vision.

The romance between Andrea and Pete’s voices is very much alive, distinctly present, and calculatingly intertwining on their latest LP, We’re Gonna Run. Birds and Arrows accomplish an elegant, warm sound that is truly their own, but strangely familiar to anyone who has ever traveled through the Piedmont area of North Carolina.

We asked them to participate in our Hometowns series, and what they gave us is basically an insider’s guide to the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area. Print this shit out folks, because if you ever find yourself in the area, there is not a bad idea on the list.

To prep, here’s a track from their new LP:  “Time Alone” 

Who is the most famous person to hail from your hometown?

Andrea: There are a couple that come to mind… Probably the most famous is Michael Jordan

Josh: I have been in tiny villages in South India and had kids ask me where I’m from, and when I said, “The United States” (because I assumed they won’t know where North Carolina is, let alone Chapel Hill), they all screamed, “MICHAEL JORDAN!!!!” So, I guess he wins for the most famous. But, there is also James Taylor, which is a big one, too.  

What’s your favorite song about your hometown?

Andrea: Pete’s and my favorite is probably “Kate” by Ben Folds Five. Josh’s is “Girl From Chapel Hill” by Oedipus Dick.

If you could take me out for a drink in your hometown, where we would we go?

Andrea: For beer we would go to Carolina Brewery, definitely the best for beer. As for cocktails, the best place hands down is The Lantern…amazing!

If you had 24 hours in your hometown to spend as you pleased, what would you do? Walk us through the day.

Andrea: So, Pete and I just did this the other day (a day in Chapel Hill/Carrboro) on our day off.  We had been on the road for a bit and seen some pretty cool places, but we were ready to spend an entire day doing some of our favorite things at home. And, sometimes it’s so fun to rediscover and appreciate all over again, the town we love.

So, we start our day with coffee and pastries sitting outside at Weaver St. Market. Then we walk the streets, hanging up flyers for our next upcoming show and stopping off at our favorite vintage stores like Time After Time. Then, we have lunch at Sandwich splitting their amazing goat cheese and heirloom tomato sandwich and a Carolina Brewery beer…delicious. Then we would walk to get some ice cream at Maple View Farm’s ice cream shop. After that, we would sit outside and enjoy a drink at The Station before we head to see a movie at The Varsity Theater. And last, if we are still feeling up to it, we would head out to see a show at one of the many great venues in town. Either Cat’s CradleLocal 506, the Nightlight, or go see our friends at The Cave.

That’s a packed full day of full on Chapel Hill/Carrboro activities. Oh, and when I say Chapel Hill/ Carrboro it’s because they are neighboring towns that blend together making up an entire downtown area that stretches a little under two miles…very quaint, yet extremely happening for it’s size. 

If you could take just one item from your hometown with you on tour, what would it be and why?

Andrea: I think one thing I would definitely take with us, if I could, would be the liberal/forward thinking that this town embodies. This place is like an oasis in the south; it really is “The Paris of the Piedmont.” And when driving through the many towns we play in, I would say this is the first thing I begin to miss the most.

And also, as much as we love discovering new places and new experiences, you can’t beat driving around our town with your windows down on a warm summer night. We would take that feeling with us, too.
And last, I think, if he could, Pete would take our coffee and the beer. So often, we end up on unsuccessful hunts for good coffee in strange towns.

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