Although Columbus-based folk group Hello Emerson labels its ever-evolving collective as a group of songwriters and musicians, there's a lot more depth to the group than that surface-level statement.
When songwriter Sam Bodary, percussionist Dan Seibert and keyboardist Jack Doran stopped by to record a podcast with In The Record Store, they touched base on the band's truly organic evolution.
From Bodary's beginnings as a dorm-room songwriter to the formation of the aforementioned trio, there simply is no telling in what direction the musical organism that is Hello Emerson will branch out.
"We didn't audition anyone. Everybody purely went to a show, was a musician and liked the music," Doran said.
Following the release of Hello Emerson's debut full-length, "Above the Floorboards," in 2017, the group validated Doran's statement with an album-release party at Rumba Cafe in Columbus. Thirteen musicians, including someone manning an upright bass, somehow found their way onto the stage together.
Pushing limits during performances is just scratching the surface of Hello Emerson's collaborative efforts. On "Above the Floorboards," more than 20 companions contributed to the debut's recordings, adding layers both complex and unforeseen in most folk albums.
And all of Hello Emerson's collaborations come naturally, it seems.
"There were a handful of shows where we thought it would just be the three of us ... and then six people show up. Now it's like, 'Well, this is the band tonight,' " Bodary said.
Bodary has been honing his craft since college, and Doran and Seibert spend almost every day practicing for both Hello Emerson and separate projects. Notably, this dedication is a driving force behind their ability to pluck musicians from the streets like berries from a tree.
The band doesn't want to set any limits as to how massive its musical organism can grow.
"I think everyone was trying to figure it out and piece it together, and the more people we got involved, the better it sounded," Seibert said.
Zak Kolesar is executive editor for In The Record Store. ThisWeek publishes a weekly feature from the organization, which focuses on central Ohio music discovery and involvement.