SHE’S a little bit pop and he’s a little bit rock’n’roll.
Together Brooke McClymont and Adam Eckersley are a whole lot of country on their debut husband-and-wife album.
The duo’s project, simply titled Adam & Brooke because they joke their surnames wouldn’t fit on an album cover, has been 10 years in the making.
They started writing together almost as soon as they started dating a decade ago but thought a duets album would be something they could tackle when they were 50.
When Molly McClymont announced she was pregnant with her second child in August, putting the ARIA-winning sisters trio The McClymonts on hold for a year, they decided to seize the moment for their collaboration.
“From the moment we made that decision, we had just five weeks to write and record the album,” McClymont says.
When their five-year-old daughter Tiggy was tucked into bed, the husband and wife musicians grabbed a six pack of beer and a bottle of whiskey and headed to the shed to write together.
“That was the start of us being like we were 20 again. When you’re parents, it’s usually off to bed early,” Brooke says.
“So the only time we really had to write this album was when Tiggy was asleep. We had to have a few drinks and be crazy.”
Eckersley adds: “You don’t have to drink to write but it certainly helps the conversation flow.”
Those writing sessions created a musical anatomy of a marriage, songs which reveal the sexy secrets of a couple in love (So Smooth, Lay Me Down), the emotional minefield of blended families (Out Of My Hands) and the strains of balancing tough times when your career takes you away from loved ones for weeks at a time (Train Wreck, Not How I Feel).
Eckersley is the meticulous master craftsman of lyrics while McClymont brings an innate pop sensibility for melodies to his stories.
“We have written together before, for different projects or just for fun for the past 10 years,” he says.
“We’re at the point now where we don’t need to be polite to each other which is so helpful when you are writing.
“We don’t get offended because there’s respect there. You can cut through a heap of the bulls … to say that’s a really s—ty idea, let’s move along.
“Brooke is so staunch about having melody hooks and ensuring there’s ear candy, it can’t just be a story. It works well, we complement each other in that way.”
The first single Train Wreck may have had fans scratching their heads about the state of their union. Eckersley wrote it several years ago when McClymont was pregnant with Tiggy and the pair were juggling family life with touring in Australia and working in America.
“It was this whirlwind period after we had lived in America for a while and I came home to sign a record deal on the Monday and flew to America a few days later to meet back up with Brooke,” Eckersley says.
“We kinda hadn’t seen each other much and we were talking about everything that was happening, what was going on, where are we? And that possibly all that was happening in our careers could have a strain on our relationship at some point.
“The song was about if it does, then so be it, no regrets. What’s the alternative, to sit at home and not follow your dreams instead of strapping yourself in and go wherever it takes you?”
McClymont adds: “I loved the song. I loved that it’s really country and the album has really brought out the country in us both. And that song shows our personalities ‘If it ends, oh well, we’ve had a really great time.’ Not that we want this to ever end.”
A bust-up in a Nashville studio resulted in Not How I Feel, a song which captures emotional battle when you are fighting with a partner and while you love them, you don’t particularly like them in that moment.
“There are love songs that talk about the bells and whistles of love but that’s easy, they’re easy days to get through when you feeling that ‘I love you’,” Eckersley says.
“But I think the balls of a loving set-up is making it through those crappy days and going ‘You know what, I don’t really like you now but I know I love you so I’ll wait until that comes back and I know it’s coming back because you’re worth it.”
The pair have that natural comedic back-and-forth of the great music duos from Sonny and Cher to Johnny Cash and June Carter.
That will be evident when they embark on a national tour in February after performing shows with their respective “day job” bands, The McCymonts and Adam Eckersley Band at the Tamworth Country Music Festival this week.
“It will be great fun touring. I like the idea we can hang out in people’s kitchens with this album. Hopefully it will spark conversations because of the honesty of it,” Eckerlsey says.
“Maybe it can articulate how someone else is feeling — ‘You know what? That’s what I meant to say last night’.”
The Adam and Brooke tour kicks off at the Rooty Hill RSL on February 9. For all dates, adamandbrookemusic.com