If the Sweeplings had a band motto, it very well might be “Thank God for technology.”
The folk duo of Cami Bradley and Whitney Dean came to be after Dean’s wife, having seen Bradley perform on season eight of “America’s Got Talent,” sent Bradley an email proposing she write with Dean.
Through email, text messages and voice memos, the pair is able to share song ideas between Bradley’s Spokane home and Dean’s in Huntsville, Alabama.
Bradley and Dean make the day-long trip to each other’s city about once a month (a jetlagged Dean arrived in Spokane about an hour before speaking with The Spokesman-Review), but those face-to-face sessions always go smoothly because of the work they did beforehand.
“When we get together, we flesh it out in person and all the things that could take days to figure out happen pretty quickly since we’ve already done the leg work with texting,” Dean said.
Texting, emailing and voice memo-ing back and forth, the pair wrote “Rise & Fall,” which was released in 2015.
Bradley and Dean recently released a deluxe edition of the album that features two songs that didn’t originally make the cut, “Flesh & Bone” and “Here & Now,” and an alternate version of “Hold Me.”
“Both of those had issues when we went into the mixing phase and we didn’t really have time or energy to finish and fix them up at that point …,” Bradley said. “When we came back to them, we were able to have time to finish and fix them the way we wanted to.”
The band released the deluxe edition of “Rise & Fall” to celebrate its signing to Nettwerk Music Group, which came together, in typical Sweeplings fashion, through email.
The head of the label, Terry McBride, found the Sweeplings via Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist and sent the band a Facebook message.
“He wrote us a random message and was like ‘Hey, I love your stuff. Would you guys be interested in an offer?’ ” Dean said. “And we were like ‘This sounds like a hoax.’ ”
A cautious Bradley and Dean sent McBride a message asking him to send them an email. The pair and McBride talked on the phone a few times and things quickly fell into place.
“The best way I can describe it is he really put us at ease and had done not just his homework but you could tell he was interested in us because he had really listened to our stuff and not just to one song and then been done with that,” Bradley said. “The way he talked, it wasn’t schmoozy. I know that sounds weird, but we work with a lot of people in this business that are schmoozy and there was a genuineness to him and so we were hooked pretty quick.”
“They wanted us to be us and they wanted to help show that to the world …” Dean added. “They want us to be bigger than we are so we can reach more people.”
With the support of a label behind them, Bradley and Dean are preparing to release a new album in August.
But the pair doesn’t stop writing, be it in person or via email and text message, so they already have yet another album’s worth of material written.
“We’re probably going to keep writing so we’re basically an album ahead every time, which is a great problem to have,” Bradley said.
“Unless you’re us and you have to choose the songs …,” Dean added. “We have this analogy that all of our songs are like little children and then the albums are like vacations. At some point you have to tell the kids ‘Sorry, dude, you don’t get to go on vacation with the rest of us.’ It’s hard to tell them they can’t come to the beach.”
It’s OK, kiddos; just wait for the deluxe edition.