Jan 30, 2023
The Muscle Shoals area of Alabama is ripe with all kinds of indie talent just waiting to showcase themselves. Recently while online perusing artists in the area to write about, someone first suggested a local duo called Thrice Sovereign. So, I cruised on over to their website for some exploration and found some lyrically expressive tunes full of emotion with some creative, catchy compositions.
Thrice Sovereign is an up-and-coming pop-rock duo out of Florence and is the brainchild of self-taught multi-instrumentalist Kristen Borden Talcott and singer/songwriter Amanda Lee Borden Talcott. Well, I say duo, but I stand corrected: Technically there are four members, according to Kristen and Amanda, but I’ll get to that a little later.
“Kristen and I met through a mutual friend as an intent for friendship. Love had a different plan. We started dating seven years ago and have been married for five years,” Amanda gushed.
Initially the Talcott’s were focused on having a taco truck, but that soon changed when they uncovered their deepest creative desires and hidden talents neither really knew existed on the level they did.
“Kristen gave me a safe place to share my painful writings,” says Amanda. “I heard in her so much music wanting to come out, so we wrote a few songs, then a few more, and shared them with friends and family, who all wanted more. We decided [to] record [those songs] a bit nicer and make them easy for people to find. Through a string of necessity, creativity, and hope, Thrice Sovereign was born.”
For Kristen—born and raised in Florence—music has always been a backdrop for her life, ever since her Pepaw taught her to play the guitar as a child. After years of playing softball and a bout in the MMA world, she had a lot of damage to her hand. When an injury left it broken, Kristen put music aside for a while … until, as Amanda puts it, “we started to goof off together, [with] her strumming random things and trying to re-teach herself [to play] Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’ [As she did that], I’d hum, sing, and make random sounds and parodies about what was going on right then. [Now], she plays anything put in front of her.”
Kristen plays by ear and, other than small moments on that tiny guitar from Pepaw, is completely self-taught. And this brings me to the third member of Thrice Sovereign: Blue. Blue is Kristen’s baby and first love … her first acoustic guitar.
“I got Blue, if I remember correctly, for Christmas when I was 11. I specifically asked for a blue guitar, and she’s been with me ever since. She’s got some chunks missing and some bangs here and there, but Blue plays a sound like no other. I’ve had several people want to buy her from me, but I could never imagine her in someone else’s hands,” says Kristen.
“Blue is fully an extension of my wife,” adds Amanda. The first moment Kristen took her off the wall and played her for me, I could see a new part of the woman I loved shining though. Blue resonates a special sound behind her string vibrations that harmonies beautifully with Kristen’s and my voice in a way that seems like a third human singing.”
Amanda was born in the land of grunge and coffee, Washington state. After spending most of her life traveling around the U.S., she now calls Florence home. She’s always loved to write and soon discovered she was spinning raw emotions into lyrics full of pain, lessons, and growth. She is also self-taught and is continuously writing lyrics and music in addition to creating graphics.
“I have always loved to mimic sounds and feel what it’s like to make them. In my youth, music was an escape—a safe place where I felt seen. I didn’t think I could be a part of that world, so I’d sing in the crowds to myself or those I trusted. For both of us, our talents have grown immensely in the past three years. I am grateful to have talents I can use to help others feel seen, just like music did for me.”
Thrice Sovereign recently released their title single from their debut album “Waiting to Thunder,” which is a groovy song composed in a popular style that draws on heavy guitar riffs and the fat distorted sounds of hard rock, while the lyrics and theme of the song are relatable to many because they’re about things we all experience as human beings, as artists, and as experiencers in this realm. It is written by Amanda Lee Borden Talcott, composed by Kristen Borden Talcott, then the instruments were digitally recreated for release due to COVID needs.
It is also their first music video, which brings me to “the fourth band member,” as they put it: techmaster Josh Brown.
“After asking local businesses if we could shoot a music video [at their venue], Arx Mortis said, ‘Yes!’ With the help of our then-new friend Josh, the music video was born,” they say. “We see it as a musical/visual interpretation of the desire to do something that one is passionate about, believing there are reasons to wait, and knowing (eventually) that now is the time to do what you love.”
As for how the name Thrice Sovereign wove itself into the mix, Amanda best explains it.
“The name … happened while I was doodling random words that I felt were relevant to both of us. The number three has always been a massive … sign in my life? Tip of the iceberg [is] I am one of three daughters, my mother is one of three daughters, I have given birth to three daughters, and my birthday is [in the third month of the year]—a fact I didn’t know until my 33rd birthday. During that year, our littles were ages five, nine, and 13, and they were born in 2005, 2009, and 2013. [Also at the that time, it would be] five, nine, and 13 years before our littles would be adults.
The many plays on the two words that represent the art we make are endless. Sovereign’s many meanings give hope in my heart that all can see we are each ‘supreme leaders’ of our own worlds. Each can be monarchs in their own rite and live in all capacities of that word as well.”
In addition to their musicianship, the Talcotts are also the founders of TechTonic Crucible Records LLC, as well as the benefit music festival MighTyekiM, which raises money for those in need. Last year was the first for the festival, which is named in honor of Mighty Mike, who passed away from Ewing’s Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer, in early 2022.
“MighTyekiM is the benefit music festival we … started as a way for musicians and artists of all levels and all kinds to come share their art with anyone who wants to listen,” said Amanda. “[It’s] a place where people can come experience free music, art, pizza donated by Dominos, beverages donated by Buffalo Rock, and so much more.”
Thrice Sovereign accepted donations to raise funds … to help Mike’s family purchase a headstone for him. They note their initial intent was to raise the donated money for Mighty Mike before he passed so he could do something he found blissful but, unfortunately, they didn’t make it in time for that to happen.
“We did, [however,] host a beautiful and memorable event in his honor. We had over 21 artists performing over two days at Wilson Park in downtown Florence [last June]. With a silent auction table and a kids’ fun area, it was a family-fun time, and we have secret plans in the works for the next one! We were so blessed to have so many local and corporate businesses and individuals donate their time and talents to help us make [that] amazing weekend happen.”
This year’s MighTyekiM Festival will benefit a little girl, who also has Ewing’s Sarcoma. Currently there’s no word yet on where the festival will happen, but rest assured, we’ll keep you updated.
TechTonic Crucible Records LLC is the newest addition to Sovereign’s distractions from what they call “the inevitable end.” The label developed out of the realization that most record labels are not what people believe they are.
“We decided to find a way to help artists, and others, to have someone who taught themselves to do the things that are key from recording, distribution, website creation, and persona development to graphic design, songwriting, backing musicians, etc. So that and more is what we are offering—a place to learn how to maintain the world we help them create.”
Thrice Sovereign’s first album, “Waiting to Thunder,” will be out by summer 2023. Amanda notes it’s a concept album with some comforting songs that can work their way into becoming ear worms. Others, she says, are filled with lyrics of emotive imagery dramatically laid amongst the captivating instrumentals driven by the soul of Kristen.
“Our first album is a nod to nostalgia in ways too many have forgotten they loved, with modern depth and truths weaved through descriptive metaphors and stories based in emotion and experience.”
For more information on Thrice Sovereign and their music and shows, the MighTyekiM Festival, and TechTonic Crucible Records, hop on over to http://ThriceSovereign.com and check ‘em out. They’re music and personalities are totally worth it!