Taking inspiration from Virginia's folk tradition as well as the rural country-rock of Ryan Adams, the Band, and Neil Young, songwriters Philip Heesen and C.E. Wright formed Exebelle & the Rusted Cavalcade in September 2007. Kerry Hutcherson joined the duo soon after, having previously cut his teeth with the local group Copper Sails, while bassist Ryan Owenby enlisted after the disintegration of his own Richmond-based band, Motion Picture Demise. The lineup remained intact for the local release of The Skeletor Sessions in 2008; shortly thereafter, though, Wright returned to his native Utah. With their original frontman gone, the remaining members began incorporating thick harmonies and varied instrumentation into their previously stripped-down music. The Antipoison Creek Sessions displayed the new sound in 2009, with each member contributing lead vocals to at least one of the EP's four tracks, and the countrified C.A.F. followed a few months later. Exebelle wrapped up the year by putting the finishing touches on Vivement l'Automne!, which appeared in early 2010 and featured percussion from newcomer Mike Trimble.
Trimble left the group after Vivement's release, only to return to the lineup one year later. Meanwhile, Virginia native Ben Willson joined the group on piano and vocals, making his Exebelle debut on 2011's V. ~ Andrew Leahey, Rovi