is an indie rock band formed by married songwriter duo Lee Dyer and Erin Campbell. Originally from Northern Michigan, in 2018 they sold everything they owned, moved into a camper and drove to New Orleans where they lived for 9 months before going on a cross country tour from Michigan to Maine, down the coast to Charleston, and eventually to Asheville, NC where they now reside.
When they crash landed in Asheville they were broke and it was the winter of 2019, several months before the pandemic. They knew they wanted a full band, but that would have to wait.
They weren’t planning to record their new album Love In The Dark (out Jan 7, 2022) in a tiny apartment with paper thin walls separating them from less-than-supportive neighbors who go to sleep early, but the pandemic changed a lot of plans and left Aunt Vicki stuck in just that situation.
They only had very small windows of time when they could make noise and their home recording sessions always had a sense of racing against the clock in anxious anticipation for the surprise moment when the lights would go out and their session would have to abruptly end.
Their single “Lights Out" plays off this experience. It's about running out of time, about the neighbors hearing you practice, about people talking in the background of your acoustic guitar home recording tracks. "It’s the constant struggle of being an artist without a proper workspace,” said Lee Dyer.
Whereas Lee is a more lighthearted, energetic songwriter, Erin brings a more somber, quiet and introspective songwriting approach to the mix. “When we lived in that apartment we were constantly trying to record a song in between work and quiet hours and every wall, floor and ceiling had a stranger living on the other side. During the recording process that pressure became a metaphor for our own mortality and how our own lights are going out as we age and we have to accomplish what we can before our world goes dark,” Erin Campbell added.
When Aunt Vicki first tapped MG O’Shea to produce their new album, the initial plan was to record everything with him. He had recently built out a recording studio in his childhood home in Asheville, NC after moving back home from Los Angeles.
Aunt Vicki had sent their first album to O’Shea to master, but they knew they wanted to expand the acoustic duo sound into a full rock band sound and were excited to bring in O’Shea as a studio drummer, mixing/mastering engineer and producer to get an outside perspective on the project.
The only problem was that when they first approached O’Shea he was busy running for Congress, so they made plans to start recording after the March of 2020 primary, which ended up being right when the pandemic started and made recording together impossible.
With nothing but time on their hands, they decided to pivot directions to make the best of the situation and O’Shea simply dropped off some favorite recording gear (a Universal Audio 610 tube preamp and an Aston Spirit condenser mic) at Lee and Erin’s apartment so they could capture the tones he wanted for all of their parts, but recorded in a tiny apartment during quarantine instead of a vocal booth.
After work and before the ever looming deadline of their first single "Lights Out" they somehow managed to find enough quiet moments to finish their parts in between the take-ruining sounds of neighbors, dogs barking, passing cars, and bears knocking over trash cans (yes, that’s a thing in urban Asheville).
After recording their parts at home, Lee and Erin handed off the songs to O’Shea to record drums on at his home studio and mix/master. O’Shea also does some film production and had an idea for a music video, so the three of them got together at Lee and Erin’s house and shot the music video for "Lights Out".
For their next Single "Vigil" they knew they wanted another music video so they worked with Laura Boswell, another local Asheville songwriter/musician.
Erin had the idea for a video early on when she wrote the first verse in their tiny “birds nest” apartment in New Orleans. She knew she wanted to use a stone labyrinth and somehow capture it from above. She knew she wanted the candles and smoke and costuming appropriate for a funeral.
When they talked Laura about the video concept she was immediately on the same page and was able to capture their concept on film, complete with drone footage.
Like most of the songs on Love In The Dark, "Vigil" focuses on the darker side of love. It's basically a prayer for friends and family who are going through tough times.
While "Vigil" ends on a note of helplessness, it also hints at the power of intention, leaving room for hope that our prayers go answered. As the lyrics say, “light a candle” for those you love in these trying times and hope for better days ahead because sometimes that’s all we can do.