The collaborative project started with a recommendation from an ex-boyfriend. Zella Day’s former beau suggested she check out singer-songwriter Jesse Woods’ music. After Day invited Woods to attend a show of hers, they arranged a writing session, and the two immediately clicked.
“In that first week of writing we kept it professional three out of the five days,” Day said with a smile.
For Woods, it was a new experience both professionally and personally as the pair became an item about halfway through.
“I’ve never collaborated,” Woods said. “I’ve written and produced everything on my own. We were writing some, experimenting and flirting really. We wrote five songs in three days. And it was really fun and fruitful. And then we were like, ‘Let’s start a band.’”
The duo named themselves “Chaparelle,” likely a nod to the native brush of Texas where they now reside together.
Well-known for their contributions in the genres of folk and alternative pop, Day and Woods concoct a sound and style reminiscent of country music’s golden age.
When forming the concept of Chaparelle, Day and Woods studied legendary singers and marveled at the power of their harmonizing voices.
Channeling inspiration from classic duets like George Jones and Tammy Wynette or Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, Day and Woods perform endearing songs of love consumed with the spirit of Texas.
“I grew up in the church, so harmony to me is like one of the more spiritual elements of music and has always been a huge part of the music that I make, “ Woods said. “To me, a live show when people can really get into a harmony and get really tight, it’s the most compelling thing you can watch someone do.”
Day said the country legends they draw inspiration from were all successful solo artists who also created a fascinating dynamic on stage together.
“[We were] choosing people to listen to that are toeing the line of that yin and yang, that feminine/masculine balance within music,” Day said.
She stressed the importance of keeping things loose in the songwriting process and letting things happen naturally.
“The most fruitful collaborations I’ve been a part of are the ones that are the most playful, when you’re allowed to really not be too self-conscious, just ride the wave of instinct,” Day said. “When we sit in a room, we’re able to create like a child and edit like an adult.”
KHOL presents Zella Day and Jesse Woods, known together as Chaparelle, with a full band at the Mangy Moose on Saturday, Dec. 2. Doors open at 8 p.m., and show starts at 9 p.m. More information and tickets are available at mangymoose.com.
Listen above for KHOL’s full conversation with Zella Day and Jesse Woods aka Chaparelle.