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June 26, 2013

The Vespers to perform at Ignition

The Vespers will perform at Ignition Music Garage at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $15.

“The Vespers appeared at Ignition early in our first season, and absolutely stunned our audience,” said Steve Martin, founder of Ignition. They group has played two shows at Cerylean in Winona Lake. At the last one, more than 100 people were turned away because they had reached capacity.

“When you see them live you will understand,” Martin said.

He added that The Vespers are one of those lucky young bands who are becoming a word of mouth sensation though they’ve only quietly self-released one record. With two sisters on lead vocals and two brothers filling out the sound, the foursome are distinguished by an arsenal of instruments and harmony. They have toured from Boston to Austin, hitting everything from festivals to college campuses in between. On “The Fourth Wall,” released in 2012, they create folk-pop “with both the buoyancy of youth and deeper spiritual themes,” he said.

The lead vocalists Callie, 21, and Phoebe Cryar, 19, were brought up in a musical family in Nashville, honing their gifts as young kids singing background vocals on Music Row. It was a chance meeting at a campfire jam that brought together the sisters and brothers Bruno, 20, and Taylor Jones, 22..

Everyone in the band contributes to the songwriting, and the only outside track is bluesman Son House’s “Grinnin In Your Face.” But the most prolific writer is Phoebe, who contributed to nearly every song, including “Better Now,” the record’s opening track.

“I came up with the melody and Bruno pounced on it, writing the bridge that completed the song,” she said. “It was drawn from the biblical story about the man blind from birth who was healed, and no matter how much he implored — they wouldn’t believe it was possible.”

“We all grew up listening to a little bit of everything, but roots music didn’t come in until more recently,” Bruno said. “Folk and roots music tend to draw from spiritual themes. We don’t run away from our faith when writing, because that’s where our hearts are planted.”

On “Lawdy,” the song starts out sounding like a swampy old mountain tune before growing into a full-bodied Sunday morning spiritual. “We were originally playing it really fast with drums,” Callie said, “but we slowed it down to be more bluesy. I wanted to hear that sound of Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.”

The Vespers also offer a full share of pop songs like “Will You Love Me” and “Flower Flower.” Callie and Bruno wrote the latter when he said he needed a “summertime jam.” Callie hummed a melody, and the tune quickly sprung up on the banjo, ukulele, drums and bass.

“Most of our songs come about really organically like that, without planning to write. It just happens and we try to let it flow,” says Bruno.

“Got No Friends” is a tip of the hat to the bluegrass genre. “We cut the first half live around one microphone, which was a first for us,” Taylor said. “That song was written right after the Nashville flood, and right as I learned to play mandolin after our family business flooded. Our world was really shook up after that May (2010). The flood eventually inspired us to quit our other day jobs, school, and pursue music full time, on a leap of faith.”

Most of the songs have the energy of a live show because the band polished them on the road, where they also came up with the album title. The fourth wall, in theater terms, is the invisible wall between the audience and performers.

“Our music reflects that,” Callie said. “We decided to go on tour shortly after we joined forces and we really learned what our band was all about while playing to the people at our early shows. It shaped us and that’s how we really became The Vespers. It’s all about connecting with people and breaking down that invisible wall.”

Tickets are available from Ignition Music Garage by phone 574-971-828 or online at www.ignitionmusic.net.

For more information contact Steve Martin at srm@ignitionmusic.net.

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