In 1996, two friends who were passionate about melodic, thoughtful music with meaningful, creative lyrics formed the band, Hummingbird (later Acedia), with friends Christy Brown-Kwaiser, Jeremy Stoll and Jesse Caruthers. They played several live shows and recorded dozens of songs on 4-track, before making and recording their first 3-song EP under the name Acedia. They also created the independent record label, Ovaleye Records. Although Acedia dissolved later that year, Tara and Billy continued playing, writing, and recording music together. Their friendship and shared passions for music and art grew into a love that continues to this day.
While studying art in Chicago and later enjoying married life in Iowa City, the two recorded Brave New World (2003) and Hibernation (2006). These two “solo” albums were carefully crafted and focused like never before. Brave New World was a huge feat for Billy production-wise. After downloading a free version of Pro Tools, a meticulous sound engineer was born. The album features catchy songs, written and recording in the loop of Chicago, all collaged together with sounds of the city. Later, the duo recorded Hibernation in their Iowa City apartment. With this collection of Tara’s songs, the pair reached a new level of sound quality and songwriting with a folky acoustic flair.
Over the next few years, the two moved to Wyoming to pursue further education and career possibilities, while still enjoying their passion for songwriting and recording. In Wyoming, The Common Loon was born, featuring Tara, Billy, and Jesse Caruthers on drums. With the album Flight (2010), recorded in GarageBand, the band reached new levels of song and sound quality through timeless rock and roll tracks. With achingly honest lyrics and stories from the high desert plains and mountains of Wyoming, this album touches a wide spectrum of human emotion in the midst of personal growth, change, and survival. During this time, Billy also started a side project called Ventriloquist with his friend and brother-in-law, Kevin Ostmo. The two enjoy recording originals and covers, as well as long, spirited jam sessions.
In 2013, Tara and Billy completed and released The Common Loon’s second album, Gravity on their 10th wedding anniversary. Gravity’s carefully crafted tunes are filled with honesty, heartache, and hope. Good ol’ rock and folk melodies (recorded in Logic Pro) carry thoughtful lyrics along while an array of guitars, violins, pianos, and drums showcase the talent of both members. Since releasing Gravity, Billy and Tara have moved twice, changed jobs several times, and have started a family with two wonderful kids. Throughout all of these changes, they continue to build on their love of writing, playing, and recording music. In recent years, they have built a permanent home recording studio in NE Iowa, where they are crafting their next two albums to be released on Ovaleye Records.