by Logan Deiner
The Ferns have been traveling the DC area for awhile, and now they are ready to take the next step. On July 26th, they will be making their recorded debut with two singles: Mountain Views and Summer Rain. According to the keyboardist of the group, “I think the songs that we picked are emblematic of our sound. Summer Rain, in particular, I think is our most mature song we have ever written.” Both songs have been played live before, and Mountain Views was the first song The Ferns wrote together as a group. This makes for an interesting contrast to Summer Rain, one of the band’s more recent tracks.Vocalist and band booker Kaileen Dougherty (Kaileen Marie on stage) has a voice that is purely electrifying, with an R&B sound that is smooth as silk. Everyone else in the band is able to expertly match Kaileen’s vocals, and provide an equally slick and funky rhythm. The musical style can best be summed up in short, as mellow R&B. There is a lot more to the experience than that however, with other influences including funk, soul, pop, and even a Las Vegas-esque lounge vibe. Each member of The Ferns also has their own unique inspirations that make the sound what it is. Kaileen’s inspirations include Lake Street Dive, specifically the vocals of Rachael Price, Stevie Nicks’s songwriting in Fleetwood Mac, and various gospel and soul legends. Drummer and technical wizard Stewart Hahn’s biggest influence is Carter Beauford of The Dave Mathew’s Band. Bassist and guitarist Joe Dubois’s biggest influences are old Motown and soul artists, and keyboardist and mixing guru Brett Offutt got his start playing classical and jazz piano before joining The Ferns.
Brett, Stewart and Joe started playing music together in high school and throughout college. After college, Kaileen, Joe and the band’s former guitarist, Daniel, began writing together. Joe later looped in his earlier band mates, Brett and Stewart. Daniel left the band to pursue medical school. After Daniel left, The Ferns chose to create a keys-based sound with three instruments and vocals. Joe switches to guitar only on the rockier songs. This was the birth of the current Ferns lineup. All of the members also have day jobs. Kaileen works as a mental healthcare lobbyist, while the other three members are all engineers.
Speaking of live shows, this is another high point of The Ferns as a band. Not only do you get to hear a lot of great songs that are currently unreleased, but the overall experience just puts the concert goer in a good and positive mood, with a relaxed and mellow vibe. This vibe is even evident in their choices in fashion, with band members sporting tie dye bro tanks, floral button ups, and flowy geometric bohemian pants. Kaileen said, “I think that we have a fun and free spirited vibe on stage. We wear clothing that we feel comfortable in, and it fits that kind of music that we create. We encourage people to loosen up, mellow out, and maybee experience a bit of the West Coast. This is especially important considering how suit heavy of an area Washington D.C. is.”
The Ferns are an experience like few others. With amazing vocals, slick instrumentals, tight craftsmanship, and captivating live shows, they are sure to leave a mark on the D.C. and surrounding areas. Their two singles drop on iTunes, Spotify, and other digital music and streaming platforms on July 26th, You can also follow The Ferns on Instagram for further updates @thefernsdc.
Logan Deiner is a writer and journalist who enjoys hanging out with friends and listening to music in his spare time. He enjoys most genres of music, and has a vinyl collection of over 500 records.