For Orange County-based duo Barrett Johnson and Doll Knight, better known as the folk act the Ultimate Bearhug, the recording of their debut full-length was truly a labor of love.
“It does feel like the longest relationship I’ve ever had in my life,” says Knight, a 21-year-old who is now as highly regarded in local circles for her sweet, songbird vocals as Johnson is for his songwriting.
Their album, Just South of Los Angeles, officially arrives Saturday during the pair’s release party at the Hotel Café in Los Angeles. It was produced by Dallas Kruse, owner and mastermind of Zion Studios in Santa Ana, who also plays accordion, mandolin and Hammond organ on several of the tracks.
“It’s a great feeling knowing that these songs are going to be out,” Kruse says of the new set. “I’m a huge fan of not only Doll’s voice, because I think she’s a supreme talent, but the songs. I think lyrically and melodically, it’s such a great feel-good album, and an album to fall in love to and in love with. It’s great how everything came together, and now it’s on to the next step- we’ve got to go out and get people to know that there’s a record.”