It’s not often we come across a musical act that forms as the result of an old-fashioned, friendship-into-love scenario, rather than a rockin’ ad on Craigslist or random meeting in a music scene. The married duo of Hannah and Samuel Robertson, otherwise known as Portland, Oregon’s The Woodlands, create captivating folk songs that unfold as cinematic narratives, bolstered by Hannah’s bittersweet tales and her hushed voice.  Though the band’s story alone may be enough to stir up some sweet, melancholic vibes, just dip into one of their fantastical songs like “Summerland” and be transported.

How did you both meet?

We met at the beginning of a summer after finishing up school.  We were smitten by each other instantaneously, but we disguised our intentions as a friendship until our declarations of grandeur came tumbling out.  Autumn swept in and we spent the next several months working and saving to travel.  We lived in Australia for a few rambunctious months and returned to the US enamored with each other beyond repair.  We began plotting and charting the rest of our lives together, and soon discovered that music would be an inextricable part of the adventure.  Some of the other folks who have played music with us at shows have been friends-before-the-band or acquaintances.

What’s been your favorite venue/city to play so far?

One of our favorite places we played was a dimly lit pub in Edinburgh, Scotland that glowed golden and smelled of fish and chips and pints of stout.  It was an impromptu performance that always stands out in our musical memories.

What’s your funniest band audition story?

We had contacted a guy who heads up the Northwest region of a non-profit that deals with global justice issues like human trafficking and child labor and such.  We set up a meeting with him to talk about how to further be involved in the local activities around Portland.  When we had sent him an email about the meeting, he saw our signature at the bottom with our music links.  Unbeknownst to us, he listened to our songs before we met, then surprised us by telling us at our meeting that he really liked it and had practiced some parts on his own.  He asked if he could come to a practice and play along to see if we liked what we heard.  It worked out, and he has joined us for quite a few shows.

What was the strangest/most interesting thing to happen to the band?

There have been a few.  One of the most exciting and interesting things has been having two of our songs featured in a film from Greenland called Nuummioq.  It is the first international feature film released out of Greenland and it will be premiered internationally at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.  The storyline contains elements of both the awe and the audacity of life, and we recognized in our music the way these various forms of the beauty of life shimmer.  It is exciting to be a part of a film that we are personally drawn to and that has gained critical success.

If you could meet any musical hero living or dead, who would it be and what would you say to this person?

Hmm.  Neither of us really think about that type of scenario it seems.
Samuel:  I think I would go back to the 80s and ask When In Rome how they wrote such an amazing song like The Promise.  Oh!  I would also go a bit back in time to Iceland and talk to the Sigur Rós gents right around the time they were getting ready to start shooting their documentary Heima and ask if I could tag along for a year and watch the whole experience unfold.  And they would say yes.

Hannah:  I would have a chat with Vivaldi and ask if he had any clue that centuries after his composing that I, as an awkward grade school girl, would be tucked in my bed cuddled up next to my pink and turquoise tape player, listening to his music before I fell asleep each night.

What is the band currently working on?

We have spent the last several months working really hard on our own to promote our album like mad.  The last couple of months we have also been writing some new songs in preparation for another album, and we are also currently brainstorming ideas about doing some genre-departing remixes of some of the songs on the current album.  Loose preparations are in the works for possibly touring some in Europe this autumn. We are also working on trying to make a living, so feel free to buy our album if you enjoy the songs!  Thanks for reading.