Twilight Star and American Idol Contestant Release New EP
Earlier this year, Reed, who plays Rosalie Hale in the upcoming film The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, directed a video for one of the disc's songs, "Now That I've Found You" (which can be seen here).
The duo re-recorded the song for The Best Part, working with bassist Dave Roe (Johnny Cash, Dwight Yoakam), guitarist/mandolin player Colin Linden (Lucinda Williams, Gregg Allman, Emmy Lou Harris) and drummer/percussionist Ken Coomer (Billy Bragg, Steve Earle, Jeff Tweedy), who also pulled double-duty as the EP's producer.
All five songs from The Best Part, including its lead single/title track, were co-written by Reed and McDonald and recorded with Coomer at 16 Ton Studios in Nashville. McDonald garnered national attention as one of the top ten finalists on season ten of "American Idol," but had previously amassed a diehard fanbase as the lead singer of the Hightide Blues and The Grand Magnolias, whose 2011 self-titled album hit No. 12 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. Over the course of the past few years, he's played to packed-house-crowds at Bonnaroo and shared stages with the likes of the Zac Brown Band and Sara Bareilles.
"Everything on this record feels very organic," says McDonald. "It's very stripped down, and our approach was straightforward. We wanted everything to be simple and raw, nothing that we couldn't recreate live with a band. When you listen to the songs you feel like you're in the room. When we were making this record we were so in the moment, and it feels unlike anything I've ever done before. It's amazing working with Nikki because she brings out a different side of me musically. Writing with her feels so natural, and so effortless."
Adds Reed, ""What makes this album special is the fact that Paul and I wrote every song on here together. I've always loved music and felt connected to it, but was too afraid to explore that avenue. It was Paul's encouragement and talent that made me feel safe enough to try. We are inspired by the process itself. There is no greater feeling than doing something you love with someone you love. There will never be another record like this for us, because it's as much about the message behind it as it is about the music.
McDonald and Reed also have a song titled "All I've Ever Needed" in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 film and on its soundtrack. They recently shot a video for the track with director Mark Staubach (Lupe Fiasco, Travie McCoy).