Eva and The Vagabond Tales
From the alleyways of old town Riverside, CA come the sounds of old world folk-pop that broke free from the early ages of music and skipped through time to find its way into our modern world. Throughout the journey, stories were turned into songs, forming Eva and the Vagabond Tales.
The Vagabond Tales is a multi-instrumental music project centered around the songwriting of Russian born Eva Mikhailovna. The songs combine western, old folk, and ragtime into a musical melting pot, creating an alluring sound that transcends time and continents. Building its sound from the foundations of old time music and melancholy storytelling, it bends the laws of traditional songwriting to become a sound all its own. Since the start of the project in 2011, Mikhailovna has self-released a full-length album entitled "Letters From the Moon" and the EP "La Douleur Exquise". Her new album “Uncharted Ocean” is out on May 17th on Brooklyn’s Mother West label.
In the summer of 2017 after being introduced by a mutual friend, Mikhailovna teamed up with Brooklyn based music producer Charles Newman (The Magnetic Fields, The Bones of J.R. Jones, Soko) to help complete a batch of songs the she had started. What ensued was a year-long bi-coastal collaboration with Newman traveling between Brooklyn and Los Angeles to record with Eva and her band while tapping his Brooklyn friends to add to his arrangements at home. Included was Claudia Chopek (Father John Misty, Moby) on violin and viola, Christian Dupree (Jack Johnson) on cello, and Logan Coale (Natalie Merchant, Lisa Hannigan) on Upright Bass. Meanwhile back in Riverside, Eva and her bandmate Jake Pflum continued to add bits and pieces at their home studios. Eventually by the fall of 2018 the record was finished.
Currently, “The Vagabonds” (as Eva refers to her musicians) accompanying her live are long time members Jake Pflum (percussion), Alan Arteaga (banjo, electric guitar, ukulele), Jasmine Capitulo (accordion), and Benjamin Purper (bass). As the music continues to extend its fan base across the United States and with the release of Uncharted Ocean this spring the band will continue touring, and performing around the west coast with plans to head east in the summer and fall. They are currently doing a residency at Disney in Anaheim, CA where they can be caught playing their songs as well as some special takes on some Disney classics.
Eva has been interviewed on various NPR radio shows, featured numerous times on NPR's variety show American Parlor Songbook, and the band appeared on LATV's The Zoo in 2016, with performances at radio stations along the west coast. The music has often been described as nostalgic and close to the heart, and the songs are known for their melancholy, "feel of old Europe" says David Fleming of NPR. In 2017, the band was nominated for the best outdoor video for "Desks in the Wild" during NPR's Tiny Desk submissions. Eva has also teamed up with artists such as Lonesome Wyatt and the Holy Spooks, singing on their 2017 album, "Grim Weepers".
Born to a musical family in Russia, Eva began writing songs and lyrics at a young age. "Music has been part of Eva’s life for as long as she can remember — her first musical memory is hearing a piece of classical music and walking up to the piano where her aunt was playing it to watch and listen closely. She learned how to play the piano before she could read or write. “The whole family would play folk music and sing when they would come together for meals” – says Eva.
While growing up in California, Eva would sit at the piano for hours and write out ideas for melodies that she thought could fit in with her favorite films. Wanting to create music for herself that was honest and simple, Eva started completing songs and adding her own old poems to them. The music was never intended to reach other people's ears, but rather to therapeutically express feelings and emotions that had no words attached to them. After an invitation to play some of her music at a local college, Eva pulled together a small band and along with help from friends, arrangements to songs were completed and ready to for a live performance. After encouragement from friends, relatives and help from musicians that she admired, Eva arranged a series of songs to be released as the album "Letters From the Moon". The entire album was recorded by Eva in a 1920's back house. A local newspaper mentioned the unique packaging of the album, which was printed on envelopes, suiting the theme of the album's title. A later article said the album contained the "best unconventional percussion," with Eva tap dancing on one of the tracks. For a few years after the first album's release, Eva played with a band, calling themselves "Eva and the Vagabonds." Together, the band worked on arranging an appropriate set of songs for the La Douleur Exquise EP. With the Vagabonds already being notorious for their "sad, melancholy songs," "train beat," and using unconventional methods to express their ideas, the EP was completed and released in February of 2016.