Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek. Two eclectic and talented young men, came together to form Whitney back in 2015. They have since then sold out shows all over the country and are bringing people to a happier place with their pleasing voices and even dreamier melodies. Not only is this a band you need to keep on your radar, but their past is also as interesting as their future will be.
I have been hooked on this Chicago duo since their 2016 debut, Light Upon the Lake. They gave us Local Natives charm with winsome muppet-like vocals in the best way possible. Lead singer Julien Ehrlich has this touch that takes you back to high school when people were just discovering bands like Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Foster the People. One of those bands where he was involved in playing guitar and drums.
The pair met when Smith Westerns and Unknown Mortal Orchestra were touring together and it is safe to say it was love at first sight. Both had ties with Smith Westerns when the Indie Rock band fell through. Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek found each other back in their hometown of Chicago, during a brutally cold December, writing and playing in their apartments where things just seemed to click. There was something special. You can’t put a finger on which genre they belong to. Whether it’s indie pop, country or folk, Whitney has something we can all appreciate, versatility.
In an interview with Fender, Max Kakacek reveals his influences to be somewhere in between Jack White and Johnny Cash. Two different guitarists with their own kind of charm. He is constantly challenging himself to go the next step in Whitney’s eclectic and catchy melodies. His other influences include a whole lot of bluegrass, Jimi Hendrix, and country.
We can hear their hard work pay off on their new album, Forever Turned Around, which was just released this year on August 30th. A 10 song and 32-minute piece of nothing but fluid tracks that flow into each other the way a good Indie rock album should. My favorite track of the album, where we can notably hear a bluegrass and soul effect, is Rhododendron. There are no lyrics, just some beautiful chords and creamy brass tracks that make you want to be surrounded by a field of rhododendrons.