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(Image: Courtesy of Devon Léger / The Pine Hearts)

Artist of the Week: The Pine Hearts

The Pine Hearts is an Olympia-based Americana group that recently released their album "Lost Love Songs" on Friday, Feb. 18.

Seattle Refined: How long have you been writing/performing together?
The Pine Hearts: About four or five years. We were playing for a year or two before that but didn't really have a band name. It was something like Joey and Derek, with Dean on bass. Eventually, we decided The Pine Hearts had a better ring to it.

Tell us about the artistic process and the different stages that work into it.
I find that writing is a bit like getting in a river. If you stand on the shore, you might catch a few drops, but eventually, you have to jump in and sit there for a while to feel the flow. If we jump in the river every day, great stuff starts to develop. At some point, you can get out, dry off and assess your work — make minor changes from shore.

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Where does your inspiration come from? What artists have influenced you?
Mainly from nature. Definitely from people and experiences as well, but every time I'm out in nature, I can't help but be inspired. People and nature together, that's a winning combination. The other night I was woken by a bunch of owls calling back and forth to each other. I live in a treehouse out in the woods, so the experience was amazing. All alone in the woods listening to the owls — definitely getting a song out of that. I've been listening to a lot of Gabby Pahinui lately. I don't understand the words, but the vibe is amazing! Tom Petty, too, can't go wrong with that.

What kind of genre is your music? What kinds of things do you write about?
We call it Nature Pop. It definitely has some bluegrass tones, a little punk and plain old pop. A lot of times, I just start strumming a chord and making noises with my mouth. You keep doing that until it starts to sound like words, then you try to figure out what the words mean, and go from there. It usually winds up being about a recent experience I just had, but I don't realize it until the end. I heard a Fresh Air interview with Andre 3000 a few years back, and he was talking about something similar. It must be a thing.

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Do you have one song that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
I have a lot of favorites, and they come and go. Sometimes I'm so excited about a song, but it just never really comes out the way I imagined it. Other times the reverse happens. I'll think a song is so great. Then you play it live, and there is like one person slightly clapping. You can never tell. These days, the best one is "Wouldn't You Know," the second track on our new album, "Lost Love Songs." It really came out great! I already liked the song, but the instrumentation and engineering on it are just perfect!

What experiences in your life have shaped your music?
Travel and meeting new people and other musicians. It's really amazing to go to a place on the other side of the world and see that town's style of music and the different approaches to songwriting. I just did a session with a friend on Kauai, and the outcome is completely different than if I'd written something in the Pacific Northwest. Not that one is better than the other. It just all adds to your artist's palate.

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If we want to hear more of your work, where should we go to find it? What about upcoming shows (virtual or in-person)?
For online listening, we're on all the major sites — however you get your music, you'll find us there. As for upcoming shows, We're playing at Al's Den in Portland on Friday, March 11, and at Anderson School in Bothell Friday, March 18. At the end of March, we'll be at Treefort Music Festival in Boise.

What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?
We're gonna put on some outdoor shows this spring and summer. We love doing that kind of thing — build a stage (I'm also a carpenter), get a friend to run sound and lights, invite all our friend's bands to come play. It's a really, really good time!

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
I'm currently having a 12-ounce decaf Americano with cream. I haven't been a huge coffee drinker lately, but if I do have a cup, that'll typically be it.

About 'Artist of the Week': Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you! See all of our past Artists of the Week in our dedicated section.