Ahead of its release this Friday (February 18), Six Shooter Country is thrilled to be hosting the audio premiere of Arbor North’s debut single All The Right Mistakes. Co-written by the duo – Michael Boris and AC Jones – together with Nashville songwriter Bill DiLuigi, it’s a stirring and uplifting song which perfectly delivers on their goal to bring joy and inspiration to anyone who listens.
A founding member of the former country trio Lockeland, Michael and his wife AC, an established solo country music artist in her own right, met in 2020 and married last October. Now combining their talents under the Arbor North banner, Alison Dewar spoke to the couple at their Nashville home ahead of their music debut.
AD: Congratulations on the birth of Arbor North. It must be like starting with a clean sheet of paper, Michael you’re used to being part of a group of three, AJ you were a solo artist – talk me through how different it is for each of you.
MB: That was one of the funny things, my former band Lockeland dissolved early last year and we didn’t even begin entertaining the thought of songwriting until after a couple of months. We were in a relationship, we knew we were getting married, but just because you’re married to someone doesn’t necessarily mean you will be good business partners. It’s a completely different thing.
We decided to test the waters and started writing over Zoom because we were long distance, AJ was in Ohio and I was in Nashville, and the writing process was just so smooth.
ACJ: We had a lot of fun doing it. We walked into it very cautiously, with no expectations and I think that was the best thing for us. We both looked at it as ‘we will give it a try and if it doesn’t work it doesn’t work… and that’s just fine’. It has nothing to do with our relationship and how feel about each other; but it worked out stupendously and it was just so much fun.
We enjoyed writing together, we had some opportunities to play around with things – especially doing dishes in the kitchen or something when we visited each other – then we’d be singing.
MB: That’s when we realised that we worked really well together and the further along we got, we started writing a catalogue of songs and we were like ‘let’s do it…’
ACJ: I think our strengths and even our weaknesses complement each other in a way that, when it comes to the songwriting process and everything else about the business aspect of things; we just share that load and that burden. It’s a really nice thing to have a partner on your side – in both ways.
AD: Interesting you mention strengths and weaknesses – apart from who makes the best coffee – (the answer is AC apparently) what are your respective strengths and weaknesses?
ACJ: That’s a great question, it’s a tough one. I would say for me, sometimes one of my biggest weaknesses is when it comes to the business end of things. I can be very business minded, but there’s a lot of times I either get nervous to go out there or do something, so I kind of defer to Michael. He has this incredible strength and just way of expressing himself and conducting business that’s really nice and wonderful.
When it comes to the songwriting process, I’m more of a lyricist. I can write melodies, but lyrics are more my strength. As far as melodic lines go, I know I can write them, but it’s not where my strength is.
MB: After I graduated college in 2011 and before doing this, I played drums full-time for 10 years; I did studio and live work, freelancing mainly in the country market; and I was a band leader as well for various artists.
I would put their shows together and do more production stuff, so that’s where one of my strengths lies, in crafting the live show. And it’s a really nice give and take when it comes to the social media, and putting together the show.
The two of us together actually co-produced the songs that we’re releasing. All the input AC brings to the table with production is just wonderful, things that I would not have thought of, and so it’s just really a great work dynamic. My biggest weaknesses, oh boy….I don’t make as good a coffee (laughter)
AD: When you announced the creation of Arbor North, given the fact you were both already established artists, what was the reaction from the music industry?
ACJ: I don’t want to say it was expected, necessarily…but before it even happened there were a lot of people hinting around it. It was like ‘hey are you two going to do anything together’.
At the time we weren’t planning anything, but I’m thinking maybe it wasn’t so much of a surprise, more of an exciting twist on what people thought it might be – maybe we’d just get together and do one song that was a duet. I think forming as a duo and starting this new project was a really big step that wasn’t expected. People have been very supportive ever since the start.
AD: You’ve described your music as being a blend of modern country, rock, soul, funk – do you feel you’ve picked the best of your musical past and blended it for your musical future?
MB: We couldn’t have said it better. Truly yeah, we both come from different but similar influences in a lot of ways too.
ACJ: We have a very widespread musical influence. For me it was from musical theatre and classical, to 80s rock and gospel music, so there’s quite a wide range of different things that we enjoy and we love interjecting those feelings into our music. Whether it’s a feeling of a melodic line or maybe the production of something, a specific instrument that we use, we just loving blending all of those influences together.
AD: Who do you see as being a ‘typical’ Arbor North fan?
MB: I would say anybody that will listen to two quirky married people (laughter). But you know, the goal when we started Arbor North was that we really want to bring joy to people, because this world is very crazy, it’s very dark in a lot of ways.
A lot of our music is very positive and uplifting and fun, we want to be able to interject some joy and give people a sense of home.. something they can latch onto, something kind of different.
ACJ: Especially in this first single, we wanted to give this sort of powerful feeling that you get in your chest; that ethereal, mysterious, inspirational and anthemic feeling. We wanted to give it that little boost so if you’re listening in your car you just want to turn it up.
MB: It’s so autobiographical, we co-wrote it with Bill DiLuigi, who’s a fantastic songwriter here in Nashville, and he brought the title to us in the writing session. He said I’ve been thinking about a title ‘All The Right Mistakes’ and we were like, let’s do it. We wrote that in one session and it’s truly autobiographical in a lot of ways with our personal stories, how we met, found each other…so it’s special.
AD: All The Right Mistakes is your debut song, what made this one standout?
ACJ: I think it wasn’t even really a thought. It was kind of weird, because we ended up recording four songs, and as we were looking at them, we were trying to figure out which one we wanted to debut first.
I think we were both thinking something in our heads. We said ‘what do you think’ and we both said All The Right Mistakes. It just felt like a first single, this is it – number one. It is very autobiographical, it tells our story and it is just this introduction of hope that sets the stage for what the rest of the singles will be. So it kind of picked itself
AD: Have you been able to play any gigs, try out the music, plan a launch party?
MB: Honestly, as of now we haven’t. Right now, we’re in the developing stage. Being brand new, we have been practicing the songs and fine tweaking our live show so we’re ready to get out there. The single was like the introduction, that’ll give people something to latch onto should they want to hire us for shows…we’re very fortunate, we’re coming over to your fine country.
AD: We’re very excited to be seeing you at Millport Country Music Festival this summer (August 19-20). Michael, you did The Long Road before of course.
MB: Yeah, that was just an incredible festival. You know, Gavin and Christine Chittick from Cumbrae Promotions, they are so wonderful and fantastic, I have known them for a long time. When they heard we were starting a duo, they reached out and said we want to hear more. As time progressed, we sent them some music and said hey, here’s what we’re doing and we got a call to do. Gavin said alright, we want to get you guys over here. We’re so thankful, just the opportunity is so great. Having been there before – and AC has been to Scotland – the fans and the people are just wonderful. I’m ecstatic.
ACJ: Everyone is so warm, I just love that. I felt that everyone around there was family and I’m so excited to go back.
AD: And I believe there might be some other dates in the pipeline?
MB: Yes, we do have several other things on the tentative books.
ACJ: All those dates will be forthcoming and hopefully we’ll be announcing some things in the near future.
AD: In terms of the music, are you going to dripfeed the other singles, or are you working towards an EP?
ACJ: As far as streaming goes, we’re going to release one single at a time, but eventually we will have a physical EP in CD form for people to be able to listen to as well.
AD: Looking longer term, what are your aims and ambitions for Arbor North – do you want to be filling the Opry or do you see yourselves being more below the radar.
MB: We just want to be ourselves really. Of course things like the Opry…what a dream that is. In regards to pursuing ambitions like that, we truly have a mindset now of, we’re not thinking about those things. We’re just doing the very best we can, we’re having a blast making the music that we’re making. Even if it’s not technically ‘the most commercial thing’, we’re just having so much fun. Again, we just want to bring joy to people and we’re going to keep doing that.
ACJ: We want to make music that we love, hopefully that resonates with the people who love it. For us, it’s always been about the music – and it always is about the music – but for us, there’s so much of it that’s more on the aspect of it’s the people and the people that we get to meet while we do this, that we get to speak with and just music is that universal language because you can meet someone you don’t even know, yet you can connect with them on such a deep level with the music that you write. That’s just something we’re hoping for – connection and communication with our music and that sense of community.
All The Right Mistakes will be released all digital platforms on Friday, February 18.
Audio Premiere – Arbor North – All The Right Mistakes
It’s not released until 18th February, but you can hear “All The Right Mistakes”, the debut single from Arbor North, here and now!