Everybody has a first date story, good or bad – but Ryan Furstenberg’s tale of how he met wife and musical partner Melissa Hyman is one that hits the right notes.
“How we met is kind of a mystery to us,” Ryan Furstenberg explained, “but our first date was playing a series of paid gigs together at senior homes.”
“It was nice to come away from a first date making money instead of spending it!”
Ryan and Melissa married in 2015, but have been performing together under the name The Moon and You since 2011 - and have managed to find perfect harmony both on and off the stage. “It is usually amazing to tour with one’s partner.
“It’s nice to share the adventures of the road together and to not have to miss each other when you’re out for a few weeks.
“Married couples are married couples though so you do run in to the same domestic spats. Being on tour can be tough and it’s nice to find alone time to recharge oneself.”
Coming all the way from Asheville, North Carolina, The Moon and You play the Market Bar on Saturday, a show that marks a milestone for the couple. “This is both of our first times in Scotland!” Ryan explains.
“We’re very much looking forward to the visit. We’ve been promised hill-walking by our Scottish friends, who are some of the nicest funniest people we’ve met.”
And joining them on the night are special guests Andrew Mill and Four Fingered Fre – a duo they have had a long and fruitful association with.
“We met Andrew and Fre on our honeymoon in September 2015 in Belgium,” Ryan said. “We were playing a gig in Ghent at a Turkish bar where there was no audience and the owner didn’t speak English.
“Fre came in to the bar at the end of the evening and offered to let us stay with him if we took his Scottish friend - Andrew Mill – to Paris with us when we left.
“Now a few years later, we have toured a few times with them in Europe and they have come over to Asheville to tour with us as well!”
And Andrew and Fre have also helped influence The Moon and You’s musical direction, bringing a touch of Scotland to the duo’s folky Americana. “We’ve been picking up bits of Celtic music through our connection to Andrew and Fre, and it’s snuck into some of our songs!
“We live in the southern US which has a strong Scottish background. It’s fascinating to see the connections between country/bluegrass and Scottish music and to keep that back-and-forth influencing alive and modern!”
These influences have snaked their way into new album Endless Maria, released on Sunday, March 19. “While we usually take months to record an album, this one was recorded in 10 consecutive days.
“It features a string quartet on each song and was a collaborative project with all the musicians involved. There was an electric energy of discovery to the whole process.”
And Ryan hopes that the same energy of discovery will drive audiences to their show. But what can Inverness expect from their live shows? “We like to measure a shows success by how many laughs we get from the audience.
“Though some of our songs cover quite serious subject matters, our band name comes from a Marx Brother insult and we love everything absurd and whimsical.
“Somewhere along the way, to the delight of some and distress of others, we decided we were funny people.”
The Moon and You, with Andrew Mills and Four Fingered Fre, play the Market Bar on Saturday, March 25.