Anyone who has paid attention to the local music scene in the past decade can’t help but know about Karli Ingersoll.
She first made a splash locally and regionally as Karli Fairbanks, as part of the singer-songwriter boomlet of the mid-2000s. She and husband Caleb Ingersoll opened and operate The Bartlett, a small music venue on the east end of downtown that brings a wide array of voices to its stage. Together, they performed in the local band Cathedral Pearls. And for a couple years now, Ingersoll has channeled her musical energy into her latest solo project, Windoe.
After starting Windoe as a solo act, Ingersoll has expanded it into a band – with her husband on drums, Caroline Fowler on vocals, and Jackson Cate on bass. Now, Windoe is having a Very Big Week. First, on Friday, there’s a new EP, “Shake It Out,” a six-song collection that highlights Ingersoll’s ethereal voice and carefully crafted lyrics.
It’s the second Windoe EP, after 2015’s eponymously titled four-track effort.
“The first EP I did before I really formed the band. I recorded the songs on my own and had people come in and play on them before we’d ever played live,” she said. “Caleb and I wanted to start recording again, but I said, let’s just do an EP because I feel like it’s still kind of our first project.”
Some of the songs date back to 2015. The record took about a year to put together, mostly because the Ingersolls are pretty busy. In addition to running the Bartlett, Karli Ingersoll has a full-time job as a graphic designer at the Spokane ad agency Chapter & Verse. Caleb Ingersoll toured with Joseph for part of last year, and works on lot of other musicians’ projects, including mixing Marshall McLean’s latest album, “SoDak.”
Now that work on “Shake It Out,” is done, the result is a record that not only sounds lovely, but shows how Ingersoll has matured as a songwriter.
“I think the interesting thing about this batch and why I decided to group them together is that as a younger person I tended to write about myself and my experiences,” she said. “And I think over the last couple years, I’ve moved more into my perceptions of other people. So that’s how I felt these songs fit better together.”
She’s less likely to be singing about romantic relationships and heartbreak. For instance, “Seat at Your Table,” released as a single last year, is about Spokane and her conflicted relationship with the place, the love-hate of “seeing something with so much potential and wanting to be a part of that, and then reaping some of the negative side of sticking around,” she said.
“Why is your heart tethered/To something that leaves you/Alone at the end of the day,” she sings. There’s a hint of jangly guitar driving the song, and a dreaminess that pulls the listener in. “Take me until I’ve got nothing left to give/My mistakes won’t mean what I thought they once did.”
Part two of the Very Big Week comes Wednesday, when Windoe heads to the Knitting Factory, opening for indie band du jour Joseph.
It’s the first night of a three-night trek with Joseph, as Windoe will also perform in the opening slot on stops in Bellingham and Vancouver, B.C. (Spokane’s Marshall McLean Band is opening a string of shows this weekend for Joseph in Colorado, Utah and Montana ahead of the Knitting Factory concert.)
There’s little doubt Portland-based Joseph has a connection to Spokane. Band member Natalie Closner lived in Spokane for a time, just as Joseph was beginning to get national attention. Bringing her friend’s band Windoe on the road, even for just a few dates, seemed like a natural.
“It’s something we’d been talking about for awhile,” Ingersoll said. “I think she (Closner) feels this is a little bit of a second home.”
Ingersoll doesn’t dream of pop superstardom, but she does hope Windoe finds an audience beyond Spokane. She’d like to be able to draw small crowds in places like Seattle and Portland – to be back to where she was when she made music as Karli Fairbanks. In 2011, after the Empryean closed and left Spokane’s singer-songwriter community without a place to play, and changing tastes traded in introspective singer-songwriter music with boisterous bar bands, Ingersoll packed it in as a solo artist. Coming back to solo work, she said, has meant figuring out exactly where she wants to go and why.
“I will always write songs because it’s my favorite art form, and it’s the most emotionally connected type of art that I’ve experienced,” she said. “My ideal is to have a small, solid fanbase in the Northwest that would listen to anything new I put out. I like to write, but I also like to share it.
“If I was trying to get famous, I would give up now,” she added with a laugh. “Because that is a little bit silly. It’s moving to me when I get to share music and people get it. And that’s what I think is worth pursuing.”
This article has been updated to reflect the correct musical lineup of Windoe.
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