Before Amy Wynne and Brian Sousa were collaborators in the band Strangers by Accident, they met online in what sounds just a little like the opening to a bad horror movie.
Wynne came across a Craigslist post from a guy who was new to the area and was looking for a female vocalist to write some songs with, so she shot him a message and scheduled a time to meet. Her fiancé was in California at the time, and she sent him a text: “Okay, I’m going to this guy’s apartment that I met on Craigslist with my guitar. If you don’t hear from me by 1:05, this is the address.”
It was a gray, rainy day when Wynne left her Cambridge apartment for Sousa’s place near Fenway. And her fears weren’t necessarily put to rest as she followed him up several flights of stairs to his apartment.
“It was very dark,” Sousa explains.
“The power was out,” adds Wynne.
Sousa laughs as he recalls the rest of their inauspicious first encounter. “My roommate was watching football in the living room, and I was like, ‘I’m really sorry, I know this is weird, but we have to go in my room. Do you want a beer?’ She was like… ‘Uh, no.'”
Against all odds, Wynne says they clicked almost instantly. Both had played with other bands and collaborated with artists before, but the two had an immediate chemistry that’s as evident when they play together as it is in their laid-back banter. (And Wynne did eventually take that beer.)
Sousa, who had gotten out of a relationship, had already penned a handful of “sad, folky songs” that the duo would eventually hone and record together. Strangers By Accident’s self-titled first EP debuted earlier this year, with five songs of forlorn, post-breakup folk full of the heartbreak and uncertainty that colored Sousa’s move to Massachusetts. Wynne says they’re currently writing songs for a new record that they’ll start recording in January, and that these tracks are more upbeat. They’re also, she says, more expansive—both sonically and thematically.
Strangers by Accident will play a ton of shows throughout January and February—including one this Saturday, December 16 at Sally O’Brien’s—as they ready to trek down to Austin for South by Southwest later in 2017. And it’s no longer just the two of them; they’ve added guitarist Justin Bartlett to fill out their sound.
“We didn’t even meet him on Craigslist, either!” Brian says. “Although the drummer we play with… yeah, we did also meet her on Craigslist.”
Strangers By Accident play Sally O’Brien’s (335 Somerville Ave., Somerville) on Saturday, December 17 at 10 p.m. with Shotgun Waltz and Instant Shawarma. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door.