GoldenOak is an emerging sound in New England folk music. A Portland, Maine based, Indie-Soul-Folk, sibling duo, Zak and Lena Kendall were born and raised in the Sandy River Valley of Western Maine. The two started making music together as kids and the bond of brother and sister is evident in their carefully crafted songs, poetic lyrics, and flowing harmonies. Influenced early by legends like Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Band, and by the like of Fleet Foxes, First Aid Kit, and Ray LaMontagne.
GoldenOak began writing music and performing in 2014. Their early songs led to their first official release, Pleasant St., in 2016, an album they co-wrote with cellist Seth Wegner. The full length album painted the landscape of the duo’s childhood and their experiences growing up and leaving home. Appropriately, they recorded with accompaniments on electric guitar, cello, and trumpet, from hometown friends. The original album with beautiful instrumentation and voice solidified the band as ambassadors of the Maine Folk Scene.
Following Pleasant St. Zak and Lena produced the Acadia Sessions, a series of live video sessions to highlight the album as they toured widely in the Northeast gaining in audience and recognition. The homegrown and honest approach of the band shows integrity and style, earning them praise across the board. The success of Pleasant St. and the following tour gained GoldenOak a nomination as “one of Portland's most important upcoming bands” by Dispatch Magazine.
In October 2017, GoldenOak released Foxgloves, a 6 track EP that builds on Zak and Lena's folk roots with a remarkable orchestral approach. On the EP, the siblings expand their earthy sound and songwriting with percussion, piano, trumpet, cello, and violin. Evolvement Radio said of the EP, “the vocals are little more than another pair of instruments adding another exquisite layer of atmosphere to the songs. It’s not until ‘side two’ of the EP that Zak and Lena’s vocals take center stage in the mix. When they do step out vocally, they bring a stunning release of energy to the songs.” The band kicked off their Foxgloves release tour with a sold out show at Portland’s One Longfellow Square, and in December, Foxgloves was voted “EP of the Year” by the Portland Music Awards.
As GoldenOak evolves and pushes boundaries, they continue to sow seeds in a rich folk tradition. Zak and Lena record and often tour with fellow musicians and band mates, Mike Knowles (Bass), and Jackson Cromwell (percussion). Over the last two years, they shared the stage with many notable artists such as Lady Lamb, The Dustbowl Revival, The Ghost of Paul Revere, The Mallett Brothers Band, and Parsonsfield.