Folk duo Briscoe to release debut album during COVID-19 pandemic

Lauren Castro

When May rolled around and the world still stood in the midst of a pandemic, the red-headed folk duo Briscoe escaped to a cabin on a lake in San Angelo, Texas. The pair spent time dreaming up their debut album, Flower Johnson, which will be released Oct. 30. 

After releasing their first single “Sailing Away” in March, Briscoe had high hopes of recording a full album but were unable to iron out the details due to their long-distance friendship. During the spring semester, business freshman Truett Heintzelman was still in high school in San Antonio while geological sciences sophomore Philip Lupton was living in Austin. 

Once the pandemic began and quarantine chained the pair to their respective homes, the duo was given the gift of time and began brainstorming ideas for Flower Johnson.

“For the first time in forever, I was sitting at home with not much to do, so it was a really good opportunity to play a lot of music and write a lot of music,” Heintzelman said. “I quickly found that it’s a great way to keep your mind off of all that is wrong with the world.”

Heintzelman said their time at the lake presented an opportunity to get motivated and create — something he struggled to do during quarantine. 

“We realized we had an opportunity as well to make others smile a little bit during this pandemic, which is a really cool thing when you’re given the chance to do so,” Heintzelman said.


At the lake cabin, they spent the day writing song lyrics, jamming out to their favorite artists and taking the boat out. At night, Briscoe would record at Nautilus Recording Studio, where they stayed 6 feet apart from all staff and musicians. 

“We made the best of the bad situation,” Lupton said. “Recording in the studio is almost like a perfect activity for a pandemic because we were seeing only one guy that we didn’t have to get within 6 feet of.”

Gary Laney, owner of Nautilus Recording Studio, helped produce Flower Johnson and has worked with Lupton in the past. 

“I think (their music) holds up with anything else that’s out there on the radio,” Laney said. “They just continue to write better songs all the time. Their melodies are real catchy, and their harmonies are just phenomenal.”

Despite living in Austin and attending classes at UT, Briscoe is still unable to play gigs. Currently, the musicians are trying to balance schoolwork, the band and their personal lives. 

“Not being able to play shows requires you to have a lot more content on social media to keep your fans engaged, and that is difficult to do while being a full-time student,” Lupton said. “It was wonderful in the summer when we had all this free time to record, but now that we have everything done, it has become a little bit of a burden.”

Despite the challenge, Lupton said the most important thing is they continue having fun. Briscoe released the album’s first single, “Dirty Shoes,” last week ahead of the album’s release Oct. 30. 

“We’re (going to) give it all we got and have as much fun with it as we can and hopefully make people smile, make people dance and put out music the world enjoys,” Heintzelman said. “And if we happen to become the best band of all time, then hey, it is what it is.”