We Found Roads is their latest album – and also the personal story of Cie and Karisa Hoover.
They are a two-person indie rock band called You Knew Me When, currently singing, playing and camping their way through Alaska and the Yukon. Their road trip is one of growth for their music, their relationship and their lives as a whole.
“We are definitely advocates of chasing dreams,” Cie says, during an interview from somewhere on the Alaska Highway. Their Facebook pages revel in scenes of their northern adventure, with photos of mountains, glaciers, signpost forests and roadside bison. “We saw our first moose the other day!” he says.
Their dreams were different in the early 2000s, when they both arrived in Nashville for college: Karisa to study music education and Cie to pursue the music business. They met in their freshmen years and married in 2008.
She became a tenured public school music teacher. He was an event manager for Gibson Guitar, traveling the world attending trade shows and festivals.
They loved their busy, well-paying jobs and comfortable Nashville home. “But we were missing out on the creative side,” Cie says.
He recalls being in Puerto Rico for their first anniversary. Karisa had a ukulele and he had a guitar. “We wrote a song on the beach. And we said, ‘Oh… why have we never played music together before?’”
They literally found harmony blending their styles. “She’s very taught and very educated about all the theory behind the music; I’m self-taught,” he says. “I’m very raw and she’s very refined.”
In 2012, they left their jobs and home to tour for a year. At the end, “It seemed silly to go back… We were still enjoying it and we were able to make a living doing it.”
So they are still on the road, in their van named Jack, having travelled through all lower 48 states and performed in countless venues, including 133 craft breweries.
“It’s just one of those things… the people that appreciate craft beer tend to appreciate independent music, so they tend to be good community gathering places.”
As they’ve travelled, they’ve expanded from vocals, guitar and keyboard.
Cie first added a kick drum. “Then once I got that I thought I have another foot so let’s see if I can do something with that.”
He’s since added a snare drum and tambourine to his foot percussion repertoire. Karisa plays the keyboard, ukulele, cymbals and glockenspiel.
“We definitely have a lot of gear for just two people. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to set up.”
It was all about creating a fuller, engaging sound with just two people.
Audiences have been encouraging.
“We were continuing to write songs and we felt were getting better responses to our live shows… it’s almost easier after four years, “ Cie says.
The road has been great for their relationship, he says, which involves spending “every waking second together.”
As for the leap from security? It was worth it, says Cie, but it took a keen awareness of what each would bring to the partnership: his business and marketing skills and her ability to connect with almost anyone.
“You need to take an educated approach to that leap,” he says.
Cie and Karisa Hoover play in Dawson City on Sept. 14 and 15 at the Westminster Hotel. They play in Whitehorse on Sept. 16 at the Miner’s Daughter and on Sept. 17 at the Woodcutter’s Blanket. For more information go to YouKnewMeWhen.com or check out their “You Knew Me When” Facebook page.