Heyward and Trana Create a Transatlantic Music Adventure

Two notable names in Door County’s music scene have joined forces to bring a new project to fruition. On June 1, percussionist and producer Marcus Trana of Painted Recordings and Americana artist Genevieve Heyward released a new single and music video (by Cody LaCrosse of Tandem Photography). An EP is planned for a couple of weeks later, and they’ll be touring the county to support it this summer.

The act, called Genevieve Heyward & The North, will feature a handful of other local and global artists, including locals Nick Hoover of Deathfolk and Toivo, Greg Roteik of Dirty Deuce, and WiFEE and THE HuZz BAND. 

Kjetil Steensnæs of the Norwegian band Darling West, Thomas Johansson of Cortex and the Scandinavian jazz band Friends & Neighbors, and Stian Nilsen of Hot Club De Norvege and Jazzbanditt make up the Norwegian side of the crew, among others.

Following the summer tour in northeast Wisconsin — including stops in Door County, Green Bay, Appleton and Sheboygan — the group will head out on a European tour in the fall, playing in Norway to begin and Iceland on the way back.

“It’s a true transatlantic adventure,” Trana said.

The EP is called The River. An exclusive first listen revealed a mix of sounds, all led by Heyward’s unmistakable voice. Americana is a good encompassing term, but individual genres such as country and folk stand out from song to song.

Heyward brought the five-song collection to the table, and Trana filled the roles of recorder, producer and drummer. Everyone contributed instruments and arrangements. Heyward’s lyrics remained locked in, but it was a very collaborative process otherwise, Trana said.

The process was a make-room-when-there’s-time kind of a deal: Heyward had been touring the United States with Eric McFadden, and Trana was also working with other artists in the studio, so they had to work on aligning their schedules.

Trana and Heyward first met at Holiday Music Motel songwriting events in 2015. They worked on a song for pat mAcdonald’s tribute record (Begging His Graces: The Songs and Sins of pat mAcdonald/Volume 2), and after Heyward released her debut record in 2017, she wanted to work on something more. That turned into this record, Trana said.

They already have plans for a follow-up record and may record while they’re abroad in the fall. In the meantime, they’re excited to have their new project out in the world. Releasing work is always a very personal thing, like releasing your child, Trana said.

“Traveling and playing music at the same time is, like, my favorite thing to do, especially when you’re good friends,” Trana said.