Nashville lays claim to the beginnings of a lot of musical styles. Bluegrass music was first heard here, & Country music was made famous here. But there is one style of roots music that Nashville can’t lay claim to & that’s the mixture of Bluegrass & Folk music commonly referred to as “newgrass.” It’s based on the progressive Bluegrass band Newgrass Revival, circa 1972 and Louisville lays claim to them. Since then, bands from all over have been playing “newgrass” while adding their own creativity & stylings. North Carolina has the Avett Brothers, Texas has Cadillac Sky, Boston has Crooked Still & we are lucky here in Nashville to have the Vespers.
The Vespers are a group of siblings, Callie and Phoebe Cryar, and Taylor and Bruno Jones. They didn’t start out as a band though. Taylor & Bruno were the rhythm section in another group, while Callie & Phoebe were playing in coffee shops singing their own folk songs. Each were pursuing their own careers before Phoebe & Callie invited Taylor & Bruno to play with them, just to see how well they jammed together. What started out so simply has now become a full time pursuit for a band who now tours all over the US.
The Vespers released their first CD “Tell Your Mama” back in March of this year to critical acclaim. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, don’t worry because it’s now available for free from NoiseTrade.com for a limited time. “Tell Your Mama” is a blend of bluegrass, folk, & alternative music all held together tightly by Callie & Phoebe’s angelic harmonies & Taylor & Bruno’s hypnotic rhythms.
The song I’ve decided to highlight from this album is the title track, “Tell Your Mama”. “Tell Your Mama” kicks off with Callie’s striking vocals backed by Phoebe’s strong mandolin playing. The song builds towards the chorus where the bands musicianship & vocal talent is displayed in full force. Phoebe & Callie’s harmonies are perfect as they sing “Tell your mama that you’re following her ways, that you’re going to the place that the preacher prays”. They sing with such intensity that you can’t help but think that these lyrics are coming from a personal place.
If you haven’t seen the Vespers live please do yourself a favor & check them out the next time they’re in your town. For those in Nashville they will be back around on October 21st playing with Cadillac Sky at Trevecca Nazarene College. I know I’ll be there & I hope you will be too!!