Photograph by Chris Birkmeyer, Twinspire Photography
Motherfolk’s second album opens with the line: “Drunk as hell, I set my church on fire.” It’s not an out-of-place feeling for the band, whose music is heavy on religious imagery, and evokes a familiar sentiment for plenty of mid-20s Midwesterners.
“Church definitely shaped our world view, and the music we’ve written has really drawn from those experiences and struggles,” says Nathan Dickerson, who played in a worship group with fellow singer/guitarist Bobby Paver before the two started Motherfolk in 2013. “I still classify myself as a Christian, but it’s very different than what I strived to be growing up.”
Fold, released independently in August, beautifully explores that coming-of-age reckoning through the band’s Avett Brothers-esque folk rock and raw, introspective lyrics—earnestness reserved purely for the music. “We have these really serious songs, but we’re very goofy people,” says Dickerson.
The contrast is evident on social media especially, where the band and its admirers have adopted the hashtag #MotherfolkSux. “It started with one maybe genuinely disgruntled fan,” says Paver. “We ran with it.”
A fitting sacrament for a band prone to self-reflection.
“It’s a genius defense mechanism because you can actually insult us,” adds Paver. “We’ll just think you’re being endearing.”