Snohomish band Fretland stops close to home amid 1st tour

The folk-rock band fronted by Hillary Grace Fretland will make a stop in Seattle on Feb. 1.

Hillary Grace Fretland was fretting that her band would flop.

She fronts Fretland, a folk-rock band from Snohomish that shares her family name. The band, which includes drummer Kenny Bates, guitarist-bassist Luke Francis and guitarist-bassist Jake Haber went on tour for the first time earlier this month.

The first two shows were in Los Angeles and San Francisco, which felt like a long way away from their fans back home. Fretland said she could only hope that their blend of folk, rock, blues and country music would resonate with Golden State audiences.

“It’s really nerve-wracking,” she said. “You’re never really sure how you’re going to be received.”

But as the band started playing, she noticed people moving their hips to the music. Some even knew the words to “Long Haul,” a single from Fretland’s debut self-titled album coming out May 22.

“It’s the best feeling,” she said. “We just feel really lucky. The (audiences) have been really kind and generous to us.”

The band kicks off the second half of its tour much closer to home. It will perform Feb. 1 at Sunset Tavern in Seattle, then hit the road again for shows in Oregon.

“We basically just wanted to get out of our comfort zone and go see what the rest of the West Coast thought of us,” Fretland said. “We feel like we’re well taken care of every time we play around here (in Snohomish County). It’s been good to get a good bearing in the bigger scheme of things.”

Fretland was formed in 2016. Two years later, they were playing on stage at Fisherman’s Village Music Festival in Everett.

In 2019, the band launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $12,000 for their first full-length album. After reaching their goal, Fretland spent 10 days recording 11 songs with Anacortes engineer Nich Wilbur, including “Must’ve Been Wild,” a single released earlier this month.

Fretland, 27, of Monroe, said the album — which was co-written by all the band members and also features her younger sister, Kara Belle, who has since left the band — explores romantic themes.

“It has a lot of different perspectives on the conversations of love and heartbreak,” she said. “A lot of times it’s not just me talking. It’s someone else. Hopefully everybody will feel like they have a song they can relate to.”

Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.

If you go

Fretland, a folk-rock band from Snohomish, will play at 9 p.m. Feb. 1 at Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle. Tickets are $10 for the 21-and-older show. More at

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