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Although it might seem surprising that the twang-free Sixpence could wrangle such support from a country-loving mob, it might help that Nash grew up singing along to Patsy Cline and Tammy Wynette songs. Recently, she recorded a duet with Emmylou Harris, an experience she describes as "the greatest thing that's ever happened to me in my life."
Probably a close runner-up on that "greatest thing" list would be her marriage to producer Mark Nash. Sixpence None the Richer is the rare quintet to feature all married members, which she says results in a loving environment as well as exorbitant phone bills.
"I got married about four years ago, and I think everybody in the band just noticed, 'Wow, that's a really nice thing that they have,'" she says. "It kind of changes the climate around you when you're close to someone and that person gets married. But Matt and Dale (Baker, the group's Branson, Mo.-born drummer) found great, great partners, and then Justin (Cary, bassist) was already married when he joined the band. Sean (Kelly, guitarist) was a dating a sweet little girl, and we pressured him into marrying her, so we got everybody married off really quick."
During the rare weeks away from touring and recording, Nash keeps an easygoing schedule. "I try to relax, keep the house clean, and be home for my husband when he gets back from work. I've got a dog, and I just try to keep him from chewing on the broom constantly." Moments later, her pet indulges in this very behavior, prompting a "No!" that, from Nash's golden voice, still seems more sweet than stern.
Though life at home remains blissfully predictable, life on the road has changed for Nash and her bandmates. After years of making cross-country treks in ill-suited vans, the group can now rely on the relative reliability of buses and planes. Sixpence still isn't touring with the cast of violin, viola, accordion, and mellotron players that give its albums such a lush feel, although it did experiment with a three-person string section during a club outing with Better Than Ezra. The absence of orchestral influence during concerts gives the band's performances a harder, guitar-fueled sound, though it's still unlikely that anyone will mistake this melodic crew for Hole or even break out into mild moshing.
"That happened when we were touring in '95 and '96," Nash recalls. "I found that at a lot of the festivals and even church youth groups that we would play, there would be people moshing right in front of our little podium. That was really weird, but I don't ever encounter that anymore."
Thanks to her group's newfound mainstream success, Nash also doesn't have to encounter disinterested glances from jaded disc jockeys, whom she and her band had to sell on Sixpence's songs with conference-room concerts. "We had a great team behind us at the record label (Squint) working that angle so we could just concentrate on our craft," she says. "We were really just along for the ride. If radio stations weren't immediately keen on the idea, we'd just go to the ones who would have us, and eventually that other station would have us come in as well, because they'd hear that this is a really nice band that actually plays its instruments well."
Now this "nice band" has become a well-known entity, thanks to both its undeniable talent and a push from She's All That, a film Nash admits she secretly enjoys. If only all low-brow teen-oriented films could be responsible for the public unveiling of an obscure but deserving band, Hollywood could be responsible for a rare win-win scenario that rewards both art aficionados and bottom-feeding plebeians. In the meantime, Nash remains cautiously optimistic that the success of her band's upcoming project won't rely on the tastes of the short-attention-span crowd introduced to the group solely by teen-friendly showcases.