Partners in life and crime, Andrew Keegan and Toni Randle, are the art folk duo, Eyreton Hall. Why ‘art’? Because there is an art to “surviving” in the music industry as two musicians with two large dogs and two small kids will testify.
From musical worlds in different parts of the antipodes, Toni was born in Christchurch and Andy in Sydney. Toni had a misspent youth filled with dancing and piano lessons, musical theatre, and classical voice examinations – which accounts for her melancholy lyrics. Andy played big band music and busked every weekend, which accounts for his penchant for loose change. It was only natural that the world of folk would start to call to them.
Their worlds collided at the Sydney Conservatorium where both were studying that lesser-known folk sub genre – jazz. At 19(Andy) and 21 (Toni) they knew exactly what they wanted from life and settled into deep philosophical debates, comfortably nestled on the family couch, fueled by the heady perfume of cheap wine and unpaid meals from Mamma Keegan’s kitchen. A musical partnership was formed.
There followed a brief sojourn to Japan and a move to Melbourne where they formed ‘The Portraits’. With a shared love of all things Rufus and Radiohead their music was a pre-kids melodic romp with dark and brooding messages of love and loss.
Just as ‘The Portraits’ began getting some serious notice – Toni threw off her shoes and got pregnant with their first little boy. Life: Stopped. And subsequently so did the music for two years. In 2010 at a shindig thrown by Toni’s parents they officially became Mr and Mrs Keegan.
As musicians with an impeccable sense of timing, Toni and Andy moved to Christchurch, alighting on Kiwi soil just in time for the Christchurch earthquakes. Pregnant with their second child, surrounded by natural beauty and the aftermath of horrific events, the music began again.
It became apparent that the time had come to document their musings. So they recorded at Eyreton Hall - a little former school hall – just down the road from Toni’s parents’ olive grove.
Like many others, finding no room at the inn for them in Christchurch, with heavy hearts, this nomadic troupe made the move to Auckland. Along the trail they collected a man with a four stringed guitar; a guitar with a ten-fingered owner; and a long lost brother-harbouring secret desires for banjos and string basses. And so, Eyreton Hall was born.