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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Eisley journeys ‘Over the River and Through the Wood' to Gainesville

Though known for their sunshiny demeanor and picturesque themes, Eisley's current "Over the River and Through the Wood" tour might as well be named "Over the Heartaches and Through the Divorce." With a label battle to boot.

The band from Tyler, Texas, which is making its way to Gainesville today, formed in 1997 as a family affair when the eldest member, Chauntelle DuPree, was only 16 and the youngest, Stacy DuPree, was 8. As the five DuPree brothers, sisters and cousins of the whimsical folk band come of age, the ups and downs of adulthood bring more realistic lyrics and somber sounds to their lineup, without losing their trademark harmonies and folk backbone.

It's been three years since the release of Eisley's second album "Combinations," primarily due to a custody battle with Warner Brothers for ownership of their already recorded third album. Sherri DuPree Bemis, singer, songwriter and guitarist for the band, described the experience as "hell," but said the band is looking forward to being able to announce a new chapter with an independent label in the next few weeks.

Eisley can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and DuPree Bemis assures us the band will be enjoying what Florida has to offer - including Disney World.

"It's not all dark. Everyone kind of went through their turmoil and came out a stronger, more inspired person," she said. "When you go through that stuff, it's hard, but if you take it on in the right way and you have people around you to help you get through it, you know with a positive attitude, it can change you for the better, and that's what happened with us."

Having since gotten married to Say Anything frontman Max Bemis in April 2009, the day before the tour kicked off, Dupree Bemis' only worry seemed to be toiletries.

"I end up buying a shower bag every tour," she said. "I don't know where my shower bags go. Somewhere, someone is stealing my shower bags and has a collection of like 40 of them."

And then there's her hair, another slight worry. A tweet from Oct. 6 reads, "Hairdresser said the choice was to keep the blue in my hair, or keep my hair at all ... Damn you, me and my bleaching tendencies. Blue it is." But she assured us she does have hair and just needs to give it a little rest.

With hair, toiletries and younger sibling and songwriter Christie DuPree in tow as opener, Eisley plans on circling the U.S. over the next two months to generate momentum for the release of their LP next year.

DuPree Bemis said planning for the fourth album has already started. She hopes to return to some of the "magical free thinking" of her youth, writing songs steeped in fiction.

Eisley performs today at 7:30 p.m. at 1982 with Ives the Band and Christie DuPree.

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