Folk-rock singer-songwriter husband and wife duo Elenowen is back with a new album, Say I Don’t Scare You, about the fight to keep love alive.
The duo, Josh and Nicole Johnson, established a fanbase and began touring after appearing on the first season of NBC’s The Voice in 2011 but their songwriting experience began long before that.
“We both started writing songs for each other back when we were dating in high school. It mostly consisted of me trying to win Nicole over by writing cheesy love songs for her when I was only fifteen. Thankfully it’s improved over the years,” Josh tells American Songwriter.
The show and tour were followed up by the duo’s first album, Pulling Back The Veil, released in 2014. The album showcased their autobiographical writing style and unpacked the trials of the first year of marriage. Elenowen’s second album, For The Taking, which dove into achieving lifelong dreams as a couple, was released in 2015. Say I Don’t Scare You, which was released on November 5, is the duo’s third full-length album, which describes conversations between the couple for the purpose of sticking together through periods of change.
“Back in 2018, we started noticing changes in each other as individuals and as a couple. What we believed, what we hoped for in the future, and how we operated as parents, spouses, and humans all looked extremely different than it did when we first got married all those years ago. A large portion of the songs we were writing in that season had a common thread that we felt needed to be captured as a cohesive body of work,” says Elenowen. “It’s themed as a conversation between the two of us after some of the most challenging years of our lives. It’s centered around the plea of Say I don’t scare you when I tell you what’s really going on in my head.”
With this album, the duo hopes to show listeners that some things, although hard, are worth fighting for. Even if it’s frightening, difficult conversations have to occur so couples can grow together.
“Honesty and openness, as scary as it may be, was the key for us overcoming and growing closer in our relationship. We hope people can connect with that idea and ultimately feel less alone,” adds Elenowen.
The lead vocals on each track flip between the couple, so it truly plays out as a conversation. The final track on the album, “Up from Here,” drives home the theme of improvement to a relationship and emphasizes that open communication has a positive outcome. Josh and Nicole have different favorite lyrics from the album, but they both relate back to the overall message.
Josh’s favorite lyrics come from the second-to-last track, “Peace and Quiet”: Just talk to me, baby / You’re my peace and quiet.
“I love the personification in this line. In the midst of all the questioning and anxiety throughout the album, I still fall back to my partner who just has to talk —say anything—to calm me down,” says Josh.
Nicole’s favorite lyrics come from the title track, “Say I Don’t Scare You”: All of this falling feels like flying now.
“Sometimes surrendering to something you’ve been fighting for so long is ultimately freeing in the end. This line sums up the album for me,” says Nicole.
Photo courstesy of Elenowen.