December 18th, 2007
Episode 138 of 717 episodes
The Challenge: write and record a song in two days. Georgie James is a band on the rise. The duo makes smart, infectious pop with tight harmonies and jangling guitars — an upbeat and innocent sound that's made its debut album (Places) a sleeper success. Georgie James visits NPR's Studio 4A for the Project Song challenge: Write and record a song in two days. The duo of Laura Burhenn and John Davis gathered at NPR's Studio 4A with All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen and browsed a set of photos and phrases for inspiration. They eventually settled on a stark but serene image by New York photographer Phil Toledano, depicting a bare room with a large pile of books stacked in the middle. For the phrase, the band chose "Something Joyful." Burhenn offered a piano riff she'd been playing around with days before as the initial building block. Davis added drums, bass and guitar. The two layered the sound with multiple harmonies and hand claps. Two days later they had a song they called "Monument." It's a three-and-a-half-minute pop gem that marries the contrasting loneliness of the photograph with the spirit of "something joyful."