Artist Spotlight: Ladybird

The first Locust Street Festival since before the pandemic took place in Riverwest on Sunday, drawing a ton of enthusiasm, attendance and participation from the neighborhood. Ladybird took the Lakefront Brewery Stage on Pierce and Locust promptly at 3PM.

Ladybird consists of vocalist-guitarist Pete Freeman, guitarist Sammy Pinback, bassist Josh Rardin and drummer Aidan Gouran. Blending alternative country with rock and roll, the band formed from the ashes of Freeman’s previous project Pete Freeman & the Fritos. On what made him want to shift gears, Freeman said, “I loved playing with the Fritos but I wanted a bigger and more energetic sound. One of my favorite bands and biggest inspirations for Ladybird is the Drive-By Truckers, and I wrangled these guys in by telling them I wanted to do a Drive-By Truckers ripoff band (laughs). The four songs on the first EP were very much inspired by that and Bruce Springsteen.”

The band is named after the Hill family dog in King of the Hill; originally, Freeman wanted to name the band Lakefront Depot. Ladybird’s debut 2021 EP “Introducing…” was primarily a solo EP by Freeman with help from a few of his Philadelphia friends.

Shortly after that he would expand Ladybird into a full, proper band; their sophomore self-titled EP was released earlier this year in January. “Doing this EP was cool because it was more collaborative, which is kind of new for me,” Freeman explained. “With the Fritos and the first EP I was just writing the songs and people were picking them up, so it was fun to have everyone contributing to the songwriting this time.”

On the new EP’s lyrics and themes, Freeman shared, “A lot of my songwriting is like traditional folk-rootsy in the sense that it’s straightforward storytelling. The three songs on the EP that I wrote are very much that same format; there’s a train song love story (“Lounge Car Love Song”), a ballad about two pseudo-fictional characters that get in a race (“Frederick County Redneck Raceway”) and a droning love song (“Console”). Sam wrote one on there too called “Honky Tonk Mama” which has been the most popular one by far.”

Ladybird just went on tour in March plus they have been working on their debut full-length album, which they plan to start recording in October. “Sam wrote three or four of the songs that will be on it so we’re getting even more collaborative,” Freeman said.

They play Promises on June 23rd and Cactus Club on August 17th.

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