Comprised of Brandon and Jamelle Fraley (husband and wife), TSR combines the pop-sheen of Thompson Square with the folk sensibilities of The Band Perry. On songs like "Pull That Trigger" and "Better When You're Home," this rising duo further channels Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Martina McBride and Rascal Flatts in a refreshing, new twist. The conviction with which they sing can't be taught. They are heartfelt, honest and sharp in their lyricism.
With a more polished edge, Brandon and Jamie possess an ethereal charm and potential for massive crossover appeal. With the Country duo category rather sparse (save for Thompson Square and Florida Georgia Line), TSR could fill an ever-present void. Sure, there are also Sugarland, Big & Rich and Love & Theft, but these latter pairings have failed to make a lasting impression over the past year.
In case you don't know, Jamelle is Carrie's former backup singer. She toured with the superstar from 2008 till the fall of 2012 on all three of Carrie's headlining tours. Likewise, Brandon has an impressive resume, too. He's served as Danny Gokey's bandleader and has toured with Gretchen Wilson. I recently caught up with the budding duo about their ambitions, upcoming studio album and working with Carrie.
Here are a few excerpts:
On a potential full-length album, to be released later this year (hopefully), Jamelle said:
We’re lucky enough to be working with Carrie’s producer, Mark Bright.
Brandon chimed in:
I can say there are more details to make all this happen than what most people realize. There’s even been more details than we’ve realized that all goes into a launch of an album, the launch of an artist. There’s so many things that go into it. All I can say is that again without sounding too cliche, we have the most, the best people in Nashville that are behind us. I can say that truthfully. When the names are finally released, you can Google who this person is and it’s like ‘yup, they’ve been working with some of the top people.’
On working with Carrie, Jamelle said:
She was such a hard worker, so inspiring. I would just watch her, admire her work ethic. She’s just non-stop. Whatever she had to do, whatever her management said she should probably do this, or probably do that, or do this photo shoot or you have to go do this interview today and then this meet-n-greet and then this show tonight. She never, ever said no to any opportunity that came up and always with a good attitude. I learned a lot from her. She was just so easy to work with, you know, pleasant and no drama. It was just a wonderful five years. I can’t say enough good things about it, honestly. She was awesome. I felt like I was the luckiest girl in the world.
On where they hope to be in five years, Brandon said as long as they are making music together, they'll be happy. He continued:
It’s not like I’m not hungry and ready to work for success. I would love to be headlining, but if we’re opening up for Carrie Underwood in five years, that doesn’t sound too shabby to me. Again, that picture is painted as me and my wife on the same bus, sleeping in the same bed and waking up in the morning having breakfast together — as opposed to going weeks and weeks apart without seeing each other. I think we’re already kind of living the dream, because this is what we’ve wanted since we first started dating.
You can head over to the Examiner to check out my full length interview with Jamelle and Brandon. In the hour-long discussion, we also chatted about songwriting, favorite pastimes, their healthy lifestyle, musical heroes and so much more!
This summer, TSR is expected to make appearances in Nashville during CMA Fest week, including at the Carrie Underwood Fan Club event at Second Harvest Food Bank on June 5. The duo will also be performing a 60-minute set at the Wildhorse Saloon on June 4.
Additionally, for the month of May, they will be performing a Stage It show every Tuesday night.
As an added bonus, I have inlcuded several live unplugged performances (below) so you can get a taste of the greatness. Also, you can check out their official website for full-length versions of 10 brand new songs.
A side note, their song "Living with a Ghost" was written by Jerry Flowers, who also penned Carrie's "Songs Like This," from 2009's Play On. He's also a bass player for Keith Urban.
"Better When You're Home"
"Living with a Ghost" (my personal favorite)
TSR recently went on a cruise with Danny, Kris Allen and The Voice's Jamar Rogers, performing many of their songs, as well as collaborating with them on stage. Take a look at one performance:
"Let Love Find You"