Ordinary Elephant captivates listeners with their well-honed combination of insightful writing, effortless harmonies and intertwined clawhammer banjo and guitar. Husband and wife duo Crystal and Pete Damore have been performing together since 2011, but their 2017 sophomore release ‘Before I Go’ established them nationally and internationally. Quickly receiving the support of the folk community, the album reached No. 2 on the Folk DJ Chart for January of this year with their opening track ‘Best of You,’ not only setting the tone of the record, but capturing the No. 3 song of the Month slot. Crystal and Pete have lived the song’s message—being moved to create, perform, and put everything into what they do.
‘Before I Go’ is also exciting European ears. Upon his review of the album, Dani Heyvaert of Rootstime.be said “I remember when Gillian Welch and David Rawlings were here for the first time…I suspect that this couple is going to play in the same league in the foreseeable future.”
These were particularly welcome words given that it was Gillian’s playing which led to Ordinary Elephant’s particular configuration. From an early age Pete has been a guitarist, but once Welch’s “Hard Times” came across his car stereo speakers, the banjo beckoned. The realization of how well the clawhammer style he was unearthing complemented Crystal’s lyrically rooted singer-songwriter approach was a happy accident at the kitchen table one night, which led to many more nights of collaboration.
This collaboration of husband and wife, their connection, and their influences (such as Guy Clark, Darrell Scott, Anais Mitchell, Mary Gauthier, Cahalen Morrison and Eli West) all meet on stage. You see it, hear it, and then you find yourself truly feeling it. Pete’s understated, melodic and mellow banjo weaves through Crystal’s steady and clean rhythm guitar, and poetic lyrics are purposefully delivered in rich harmony, “like their voices were made to go together and we’d all feel deprived if for some reason they chose not to sing together.” (Bill Aspinwall, Texas Music Journal)
After growing up a state apart, Crystal in Louisiana and Pete in Texas, the two found each other at a weekly songwriter night in Bryan, Texas in late 2009. After a couple of years of co-writing and developing their sound, Ordinary Elephant brought their music to Houston with a move in late 2011. They recorded their 2013 debut album ‘Dusty Words & Cardboard Boxes’ there, which garnered a nomination for Vocal Duo of the Year at the 2014 Texas Music Awards. Today, they happily call the road home after shedding most of their possessions in 2014 to take on nomadic life. Living full-time in a van and travel trailer with their dogs, they are exploring the country, creating, and uncovering attentive audiences with which to share the conversation of their music.
2017 Kerrville New Folk Finalist
2017 NewSong LEAF Festival Finalist - Top 3
2017 Southeast Regional Folk Alliance (SERFA) Official Showcase Artist
2017 January Folk DJ Chart - No. 2 album (Before I Go), No. 3 song (Best of You)
2017 Family Folk Chorale Songwriting Competition - 3rd Place
2016 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest - Folk/Acoustic - Gold
2016 Songwriter Serenade Finalist - 6th Place
2015 Southwest Regional Folk Alliance (SWRFA) Official Alternates Showcase artist
2015 Songwriter Serenade Semi-finalist
2014 Texas Music Awards Nominee - Vocal Duo of the Year
2013 Music Doing Good with Lyrics songwriting contest winners
- Anderson Fair - Houston, TX
- Uncle Calvin's Coffeehouse - Dallas, TX
- Firehouse Saloon - Houston, TX
- The Continental Club - Austin, TX
- Bobby's Idle Hour - Nashville, TN
“I remember when Gillian Welch and David Rawlings were here for the first time...I suspect that this couple is going to play in the same league in the foreseeable future.” (translated from Dutch)
- Dani Heyvaert, Rootstime.be
"There is something decidedly compelling here."
"Both John McCutcheon’s CD Trolling for Dreams and Ordinary Elephant's Before I Go are great musical talismans for 2017."
- Tom D’Agostino, Folk Sessions
"A worthy new act."
- Ron Alden, WNTI, Hackettstown, NJ
“It’s not just raw talent, although that’s not a bad place to start. The part that becomes magic for Ordinary Elephant is the blend, the sound that becomes more than the sum of the individual parts.”
- Bill Aspinwall, Texas Music Journal
“I'm impressed by many things, but mostly by the songwriting style...[the lyrics are] very economical and stripped down, but seem to effortlessly evoke the kind of poignancy and emotion someone expects of artists with more salt on their shoulders.”
- Chuck Hawthorne
“Listening to Ordinary Elephant live was a real treat. Tight harmonies, solid songwriting, and an overall musical experience comparable to the best of T Bone Burnett"
Produced by Jono Manson
Featuring Sharon Gilchrist (Peter Rowan & Tony Rice Quartet, Darol Anger)
and Jason Crosby (Bob Weir, Phil Lesh)
Released on Berkalin Records
Produced by Jack Saunders
Featuring Eleanor Whitmore (The Mastersons, Steve Earle)
Before I Go (2017)
- Best Of You
- Railroad Man
- Can I Count You?
- Another Day
- Highway 71
- Leaving Kerrville
- Lady in the Elevator
- Who I Am
- The Things He Saw
- Washington Said East
- Before I Go
- Thank You