Katie Larsen and Savannah Buist, the dynamic duo of Traverse City, Mich.-based The Accidentals, are at an interesting point in their careers.
At ages 19 and 20 respectively, Larson and Buist aren’t old enough to buy alcohol. They are not even old enough to rent their own hotel rooms. Yet, The Accidentals have staged more than 1,000 shows in the last four years. And their careers have taken on a momentum and lift that belies their ages and continues to delight music lovers.
The band reached a new gear this summer as their music won raves and awards. The Accidentals won the “Best New Artists” at Summerfest’s annual music festival this year. It also was voted Billboard magazine’s 2015 top seven breakout bands at SXSW.
“People are interested in the fact that the girls this year alone have really kind of hit their stride,” said the band’s manager, Amber Buist.
And Rochester will get a chance to listen to what one writer called this “genre-bending” group when they perform Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m. at Rochester Civic Theatre as part of its Americana Showcase concert series. Rochester-based The Shift and Winona’s Amanda Grace will open for this season’s second performance.
The two bandmates met in high school four years ago in Traverse City. Larson was a freshman cello player in the Philharmonic Orchestra and Buist a concert master violinist. That orchestral core is at the root of nearly every song they do, even as they mix in other instruments, such as mandolin, banjo, organ, accordion and even the kazoo, according to their website.
In 2014, The Accidentals added Michael Dause as a drummer and percussionist.
In 2012, soon after they released their first self-produced album, “Tangled Red and Blue,” a reviewer would echo a theme that has remained a constant chord in people’s appraisal of them.
“It’s difficult to believe that music this accomplished is being crafted by two talents who are still in high school — but that’s The Accidentals’ story,” said Kristi Kates of the The Express.
In four years, the band has composed an original score for an indie film, and their songs “The Silence,” “City of Cardboard” and “Miso Soup” have been selected for use in a second independent film. The members are working on the first of a four-album contract with ILO, a production company run by Marshall Crenshaw and Grammy-winning engineer and producer Stewart Lerman.
The Accidentals were booked to perform at Rochester’s Americana Showcase series last May before its summer breakout of accolades and awards. At the time, the booking was based on a hunch and a premise of “getting some new (music) in here.” But now, that hunch is looking pretty clairvoyant.
“I think we got them at a really good time,” said John Wheeler, Americana Showcase co-organizer. “Then they went to Summerfest, and they were voted the best upcoming new act. They’re all over the country right now.”
“I’m picking up that this is going to be really good show to make,” Wheeler added.