Bria – the collaboration of multi-instrumentalists Bria Salmena and Duncan Hay Jennings – have signed to Sub Pop Records, with their six-song EP, Cuntry Covers Vol. 1, out digitally September 24, and on CD, cassette, and vinyl December 10. Check out the lead single, “Green Rocky Road,” now!
Bria said about the Andrew Matthews and Maitland Austin-Olsen co-directed video for “Green Rocky Road”:
“We wanted the video for “Green Rocky Road” to act as an homage to the concept of Cuntry Covers — a small window into the world in which it was created, highlighting the collaborative nature of the project and the friendships behind it.”
The Cuntry Covers Vol. 1 EP sees Bria Salmena forgo writing her own music, instead covering tracks that seemed to reflect how she was feeling, “I wanted to listen for what might reflect my life back to me,” she says, “six tracks that could be my mirror.”
The EP was recorded at The Outside Inn, a hobby farm in Hockley Hills, Ontario, where Salmena and Duncan Hay Jennings, along with backup singer Jaime McCuaig, saw the living-room-turned-studio as an ideal setting for long-time friends to compile a record of handpicked country covers.
Cuntry Covers Vol. 1 opens with “Green Rocky Road,” as performed by Greenwich Village legend Karen Dalton. “Dreaming My Dreams With You,” a rendition of the Waylon Jennings hit, is followed by John Cale’s “Buffalo Ballet,” a lyrical journey through Abilene, Texas, the endpoint of the infamous Chisholm Trail.
Engineered and mixed by Jennings, each song brings desire and sexuality front and center, with all the swagger you’d expect – and more. Bria hopes the record will be understood as a small contribution to the subversion of a genre with deep patriarchal roots. Mistress Mary’s “I Don’t Wanna Love Ya Now,” from the 1969 album Housewife, served as the original inspiration. “It was the first song Duncan and I worked on,” Bria notes. “It definitely set the tone for the other tracks we picked.”
Salmena and Jennings have toured for years as members of Toronto four-piece FRIGS, whose 2018 debut Basic Behaviour was long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize. Making a mark in diverse genres from country to punk, both play as permanent members of Orville Peck’s band.
Check out “Green Rocky Road” below, and pre-order/save the Cuntry Covers Vol. 1 EP here.
Images courtesy of Bria. Featured image credit: Agustin Farias