When Bronwyn Leslie (aka Lionsweb) and Kelsey Swope (aka Grandma Kelsey) moved into a room in the back of a Garden City bingo hall, they found an old wooden cradle. It sits in a corner and holds aged vinyl LPs that include Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline, The Beatles' Abbey Road and some unnamed guilty pleasures.
It's an apt metaphor for Leslie and Swope's new musical collaboration. Although they've played together for only a couple of months, they've booked an ambitious 75-day U.S.-Canada tour under the name Psycho Adorable.
"It's totally different than any collaboration that we've done before," said Swope, describing the project as encompassing "our interpretation of the world: how we deal with things, how we cope with things, how we relate to people, how we exist as women, how we exist as humans."
A trip with Finn Riggins to this year's Eastern Oregon Film Festival in La Grande, Ore., planted the seed for Psycho Adorable. Leslie and Swope were scheduled to perform there under their respective solo acts and developed a friendship. On the drive back to Boise, Leslie said, they agreed: "We should do something, let's collaborate!"
The name arose from a conversation that Swope had with a friend.
"We were hanging out one day and were trying to describe my music [as Grandma Kelsey], and that's what we came up with," she said.
Leslie and Swope tried to think of other names, but whenever they talked to people about their collaboration, "we couldn't describe it any other way that would just make sense," Swope added.
Rather than turn to Kickstarter or Indiegogo, the pair opted to launch an independent fundraising campaign via their blog, psychoadorable.tumblr.com, to finance the tour. Using a funding platform builds "a wall between a donation and the person receiving it," Leslie explained. "I think we definitely wanted to bridge that gap."
A tour kickoff show happens on Wednesday, Aug. 21, at The Crux. Leslie and Swope also plan to record three to five Psycho Adorable songs during the first week of August.
In addition to her musical projects, Leslie recently received a $5,000 Idaho Film Office grant. She plans to use the money to film a documentary on serial killer Lyda Southard.
"I just feel like a big kid a lot of the time," Leslie said. "I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing."