LOS ANGELES — Michelle Branch may now be a married woman, but that hasn't stopped the 21-year-old's own husband from labeling her a home wrecker.
The singer, who exchanged vows with her bass player, Teddy Landau, last May, has been sowing a few wild oats onstage as one half of the Wreckers, her new side project with longtime friend and fellow songstress Jessica Harp.
"Ironically, my husband named us the Homewreckers," Branch laughed, revealing the origin of their name, which was later shortened to the Wreckers. "Jess and I would always find ourselves in sticky situations with men who were either married or had girlfriends, so it's kind of a salute to our troubled romantic past."
Right now, the ladies are busy touring the country with Gavin DeGraw, Tyler Hilton and Bethany Joy Lenz for the "One Tree Hill" Concert Tour (see "Gavin DeGraw, Michelle Branch Play for 'Hill' Fans in L.A."). The Wreckers' song "The Good Kind" is featured on the show's soundtrack.
The pair first met five years ago when both were still struggling songwriters trying to break into the industry. "This is something we've always talked about because we've always written together and sung together," Harp said. "We were both at a point in our respective careers where it just seemed like the right time and a fun time to try it out. So we just went with it."
"It was selfish," Branch added. "We both wanted to have a friend on the road. It's nice to have a partner in crime and not have all that pressure on you all the time."
This isn't the first time the girls have hit the road together. While trying to break into the music scene in Nashville, Harp was recruited by her friend to join her on tour as a backup singer. However, Branch admits that the new collaboration with Harp does have its struggles. "It's funny to go from being on tour as 'Michelle Branch' and dealing with that then being on tour as 'The Wreckers' and being a new artist, but everyone still expects it to be the Michelle Branch thing," she said during a recent tour stop in Los Angeles. "So that's a balance that we're trying to figure out every day."
Branch assures her fans that the new direction is something she is very proud of. "Hopefully anyone who has listened to my music and seen the change from my first album to my second album, this is just a natural evolution of it all," said the singer, who still pens most of the songs, with help from Harp. "It still sounds like my music, but it's produced a little bit more like how I've wanted it to sound since day one."
Harp calls their upcoming album, which melds Branch's popular folk rock with Tennessee native Harp's country influences, "very organic." "It has a lot of instrumentation that wasn't really present in [Michelle's] records. There are banjos, mandolins and fiddles. It has a little country flavor to it."
Their first official single will be "Leave the Pieces," a song about love and heartbreak that Harp says most women will be able to relate to. "The chorus basically says, 'You're going to break my heart, but just leave the pieces when you go.' " The girls will be making the video for the single in the next few weeks.
Branch and Harp also finished recording a song for the new Santana album called "Feeling for You." The Wreckers' debut album is scheduled to drop sometime in June.
In addition to Harp, Branch also has her husband by her side out on the road. "I feel bad because I'm not wearing my ring today," Branch said. "My husband's like, 'Where are your wedding rings?' " But it's nice to have that partner in crime, that person who's always behind you no matter what."
The couple wed in a surprise ceremony and are expecting their first child later this summer. Branch admitted she does know the sex of the baby, but prefers to keep that information private.
"It was funny because yesterday we were down in catering and [Gavin DeGraw] had no idea that I was even pregnant," said Branch, who just entered her fifth month. "I was like, 'What? You just think I'm this fat, raving bitch?' He was like, 'Yeah, well, I guess!' "