Music
1:03 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Blessed Feathers: Nomadic And Loving It

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 11:11 am

The two members of Blessed Feathers started off as an unlikely pair. Donivan Berube moved to West Bend, Wis., and got a job at a pizzeria; that's where he met Jacquelyn Beaupre. Both singers and songwriters, the two were brought together by music — first as friends, then as musical partners, then as a romantic couple.

During a recent conversation on Morning Edition, Berube talks about how what he found in Wisconsin and with Beaupre would challenge his faith as a Jehovah's Witness — and change the course of his life. The two now live a nomadic lifestyle and say they're excited about their chosen homelessness. Click the audio link to hear more of the discussion.

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Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And as we say goodbye to this year, we're looking back to intriguing music and musicians we overlooked in 2013, as part of our annual series Music We Missed.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: Donivan Berube and Jacquelyn Beaupre are founding members of the band Blessed Feathers. The folk duo started off as an unlikely pair. Donivan grew up in Florida as a Jehovah's Witness. He moved to Wisconsin to live with lifelong friends, also Jehovah's Witnesses, shortly after graduating from high school in 2008.

He settled in West Bend and got a job at a pizzeria, and that's where he met Jacquelyn Beaupre. They were both singers and songwriters and music brought them together, first as friends, then as musical partners, then as a couple. Their connection would challenge his faith and change the course of his life.

DONIVAN BERUBE: I met Jacquelyn the winter that I moved up here, and the entire spring and summer and fall we were courting and we were in love and everyone would say, you know, Donny-boy, she's tall like you and she's nice like you and she even plays music like you, but she's not a Jehovah's Witness and that was strange to me that we were so synonymous and it was against the rules.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

BERUBE: Instead of being expelled, I wrote a letter of disassociation, which is to say, like, I'm no longer going to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses and all of my friends and family kind of have to shun me. I understand why my parents can't talk to me. I knew the consequences when I made that decision, so I try not to write anti-religious songs because that's not that how I feel.

JACQUELYN BEAUPRE: But I think his loss of family and friends comes through in some of the songs that he sings.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

BLESSED FEATHERS: (Singing) Last time I saw was in a Salvation Army. I was feeling closed and looking hungry.

BERUBE: I sing, I think, about my dad so much, recycling metal in the garage or he had a landscaping business and I'd help him mow lawns and taking trees down. I'd come home and he'd be hammering away at a washing machine so he could take it to the recycling mill and make two and a half bucks.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

FEATHERS: (Singing) (Unintelligible) we're busting up an air conditioner. Singing songs and (unintelligible) picking fights with my big sister.

MONTAGNE: In the five years since Donivan Berube disassociated himself from his church and family, he and Jacquelyn Beaupre have been writing and recording music while working at the restaurant where they met. This past year the couple took a chance on their career, living a nomadic lifestyle, touring and traveling.

BERUBE: Just in February of this year we quit and we had four weeks of touring, two weeks of recording, and then we decided to take a national park trip of all the western national parks. It's pretty cheap if you're okay with sleeping in a tent and being cold. So if anyone can take one lesson from Jackie and I's travels, it's that you actually can go to all the places you've dreamed of going to and you can do what you want to do. It's not a dream.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

MONTAGNE: That was the band Blessed Feathers. Their latest album is called "Order of the Era."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.