Reverend Neil Down began his musical career in the late '60s, playing with blues legend Albert Collins. Over the next 30 years, he would collaborate with musicians and producers such as Henry McCullough and Jerry Scheff. He eventually released a solo album, American Friend. Lahna Deering grew up in Port Townsend, British Columbia. She began writing songs and performing in her early teens. At age 15, she migrated to the tiny Alaskan town of Skagway. After working as a maid and sales clerk, she got a job in a recreated gold rush camp for tourists where, as a madam called "Miss LaLa," she entertained visitors with renditions of old-fashioned songs. At around this time she met Reverend Down, whom she would credit with changing her perceptions about music. Despite their age difference (Down compared them to Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf), they found their musical sensibilities were compatible. Down had a collection of songs for which he needed a singer and Deering had material of her own. The resulting collaboration yielded an album, Coupe de Villa, recorded in Alaska and the Yukon and released in late 2001.