Gary James' Interview With Spencer Bartoletti and Presley Tucker Of
Reverie Lane came about after Spencer Bartoletti caught Presley Tucker's act in a Nashville club and Presley Tucker caught Spencer Bartoletti's act in a club. So they decided to join forces.
Based out of Nashville, Reverie Lane has captured the attention of some of Nashville's top songwriters including Roxie Dean who had this to say about the duo: "Reverie Lane is the real deal. See them perform live one time and you will become a fan! Finally gorgeous girls with great vocals and great songs come together. Reverie is truly one of a kind.!"
Spencer Bartoletti and Presley Tucker talked with us about being singer/songwriters in today's Nashville.
Q - Spencer, the last time I saw you, you were part of a duo called Harmon Creek. You and your singing partner at the time, Dessa Zuccaro opened for The Vogues at LeMoyne Manor in Liverpool, New York in November of 2009. I don't know if you remember that.
Spencer - Oh, I definitely remember that.
Q - How did you get that gig to open for The Vogues?
Spencer - Dessa, at the time, the other girl, worked at this bowling alley. There was this guy there named Troy Elich. Troy was actually my neighbor. He worked with Dessa at the bowling alley. We started opening for them just to fill some space just because they weren't able to cover ninety minutes of time. We were just playing to help them out. We just knew Troy from our hometown.
Spencer - Right. Troy's dad, Stan Elich was also in the band. Troy was the youngest member. Then they had Bill and Hugh, the original members still in the band.
Q - And they brought you up from Pennsylvania for that gig, didn't they?
Spencer - Yes. We were from the same hometown.
Q - What happened with Harmon Creek? Did Dessa leave?
Spencer - We moved to Nashville together and lived here for ten months. She had a boyfriend here that she was dating at the time and they ended up wanting to move back to Pittsburgh. They moved back up there and she's now married. I was working in Nashville at the time at a mortgage and title company. They offered me to stay and they would make me a manager and I really loved Nashville. So, I just decided to stay here and keep my job. I didn't really know what I was going to do with music at the time. I knew I'd write with friends. I just love Nashville. I like the energy here. I just decided to stay.
Q - Do you still work for that mortgage and title company?
Spencer - They ended up closing. I really enjoyed working there. I made a lot of good friends by working there. I had a good time. I'd been dong that for a long time, even when I was back in Pittsburgh doing stuff with the real estate industry. So it was something I was knowledgeable about and I enjoyed it.
Q - What were you doing before Harmon Creek?
Spencer - I went to college at Point Park University. I actually played volleyball for four years at Point Park University and I played basketball for a season, my freshmen year. I'd known Dessa my whole life, but when I went home over the summer break we basically just started writing music together and just playing together.
Q - When you two entered a contest, a singing competition, Steel Magnolia won?
Spencer - Yeah. We were on this show on CMT called Can You Duet? We were in the Top Ten on season two. Steel Magnolia ended up winning. Her and I ended up getting eliminated in the bottom four. They eliminated four groups at one time.
Q - What did Steel Magnolia have over you two?
Spencer - Dess and I were both really young at that point. I still know them (Steel Magnolia). There was just something about them. There was just a star quality. Everyone on the show could kind of see that. They were very polished in a great way and they also had been together much longer than Dess and I. Dess and I at that point had only been singing for about a year. They had direction in the songs they had written. They were just really well put together.
Spencer - Yes. Dessa's parents are in a band called Zuke and they are good friends with Billy Greer of Kansas.
Q - What was the response to Harmon Creek?
Spencer - We got some really good response. It was great because we were playing a lot of original material and that's not as common in a lot of places. We got a really great response from people enjoying our original music. So, it was great.
Q - Harmon Creek put out a six song EP called "In My Shoes". Was the idea to get label interest as the result of that EP?
Spencer - We released it independently. We saved a lot of money just to create that EP. Honestly, everyone always wants label interest. For me it's just about getting my music out there that's available for anyone to hear or relate to.
Q - What kind of place was Burgettstown, Pennsylvania to grow up in? Was it a college town? Were there a lot of clubs?
Spencer - No. Burgettstown, Pennsylvania is a super small town. Our hometown motto is actually, "A small town with a big heart." There's a huge music venue located there. It's now called First Niagara. It was originally called Star Lake Amphitheatre. It's a really small town, but we have a giant venue there. I grew up with easy access to music and I think that kind of sparked my first interest.
Q - Now you're singing with Tanya Tucker's daughter, Presley. I wonder who they named her after.
Spencer - I don't know. (laughs) Presley. No clue.
Q - The hope is you two are looking to get a record deal?
Presley - I think in this town it's real easy to get put inside a box. There's really no correct way of going about this career. The music business has its ups and downs just like any job, but you're also putting your heart and soul out on the line, especially being songwriters and musicians. As far as the record deal goes, we wouldn't be against the deal for sure. Suddenly, in this modern day time, there's so many ways to go about making a career. I think it's just putting one foot in front of another really and just trusting your gut instincts and really getting a team together. We've been really fortunate to have the time to write and work on our craft. A record deal would be awesome, but I think there are way more different roads too.
Q - Nashville may be a music capitol, but the clubs don't pay any money. How do you get Reverie Lane in front of people?
Presley - The thing about it is Spencer and I really got lucky. We've been super blessed. It felt almost like a snowball running down a hill. Like when we met each other it just kind of was a roller coaster after that. We got together with Ginny Johnson and she in turn introduced us to Bill Ham. Bill Ham hadn't had an act that he was working on or developing in years. I mean years and years. Ginny brought a few different acts to him and he always passed.
Spencer - If you don't know who Bill Ham is, he used to manage ZZ Top for thirty years. He owned a publishing company in Nashville called Hamstein and he also discovered Clint Black.
Presley - Bill Ham was the Sharp-Dressed Man. That's who they wrote that song about. He was just a brilliant, brilliant man. He'd been in the business for a long time, but he was old school. He was very protective of us, but he believed in us which was more than we could have possibly asked for. It just kind of came out of the blue. In hindsight I know we were very grateful, but looking back now after his passing it was just such a miracle really that he showed up in our life.
Q - I didn't realize Bill Ham was no longer with us.
Spencer - Yeah. He passed away last year (2016) and it was unexpected. It was devastating really. We'd been going strong for two and a half years with Bill.
Presley - When he first heard us, he heard something there. He got on the train. He created an entire new publishing company just for us. We were the only ones signed to it for two years.
Spencer - You asked how you get out there and promote your stuff. We were very fortunate because Billy was willing to pay the band for rehearsals at SIR and he would pay the band to come out and play shows with us because it was important for people to hear us and see us.
Presley - He was like a grandfather. He really believed in us. He cared about us. He loved us. Not only did he open a whole publishing company just for us, we were being paid on top of him just taking care of us. He paid for the clothes and the make-up and the band rehearsals. He really was there. We still feel so fotuntate to have ever...
Spencer - Know the guy. To be a part of his life.
Q - With his passing, has someone else taken over the company and continued what he started for you two?
Spencer - The estate decided to close the company. We are no longer under any contract. I don't think anyone in the family had as much knowledge.
Presley - Or need or want. Bill Ham really cared about the music business in a way that I don't think his predecessors would have understood. And not in a bad way.
Spencer - He did more in one lifetime than most people could complete in five lifetimes. But he was just "The man." The guy. The sharp-dressed man. He really made the most of his 78 years.
Q - Does that mean you don't have a manager or a publishing deal?
Spencer - We were currently signed recently under Nottinghill Music, which is a London based company and we're currently in the process of searching for a new publishing deal. As far as management, we still work alongside Ginny Johnson. She's the one who introduced us to Bill Ham and she's opened so many doors in this town for us.
Presley - She's been our Nashville mother, manager, good friend. She's been there with us since the beginning. I can't say it enough how fortunate we've been. There's so many incredible artists...
Spencer - That we're super close with. It's incredible how many people we know that should be heard that haven't yet. We just feel so fortunate being part of of this life of music. It all comes down to that one day when the clouds part and all of a sudden that one song makes it all worth it.