Soulful Americana from Albion, Michigan
The duo call themselves The War and Treaty: the name itself represents the pull between trauma and tranquility, represents music inspired by darkness and despair that ultimately finds a higher spiritual purpose. It’s a sound manifest on the group’s EP "Down to the River." For Michael Trotter Jr., the journey began in 2004, when he arrived in Iraq, an untested soldier stricken by fear and self-doubt. His captain made it his personal mission to see to Trotter’s survival. The unit was encamped in one of Saddam Hussein’s private palaces, and in a forgotten corner in its basement, they found a black upright piano that once belonged to the dictator himself. When Trotter shared the fact he could sing, he was encouraged to teach himself to play piano on that confiscated keyboard. “I wrote my first song after that captain was killed,” Trotter recalls. “I sang it for his memorial in Iraq.” His efforts eventually garnered wider recognition as well. He came in first place in “Military Idol,” the army’s version of “American Idol,” during a competition held in Baumholder, Germany. Then he met Tanya Blount, a seasoned performer whose musical influences include Mahalia Jackson, Dolly Parton, Sister Odette, and Aretha Franklin. "His personality drew me in initially, and then the sparks started to fly. I knew that I was hooked." recalls Tanya. The two fell in love, got married and used the experiences they had gained to create a new musical collaboration. The couple then secured the services of musicians whose skills add a distinctive sound to The War and Treaty’s blend of roots music, bluegrass, folk, gospel, and soul.