The Vespers

$10

The Vespers are a duo of sibling duos: Callie and Phoebe Cryar, and Taylor and Bruno Jones.

They came together purely by spontaneous collision, the two pairs both completely immersed in their own separate projects. The girls were playing acoustic instruments and singing ghostly harmonies to folk songs they had written, and the boys were playing rock and roll and having to turn down the numerous “hey, let’s start a band” invitations that were beating down their door. In Nashville where anyone can throw a rock and kill two musicians, rocks were landing on Taylor’s and Bruno’s heads every week and Callie and Phoebe were sliding by unscathed.

The brothers were in a band playing drums and bass, a rhythm section constantly in cahoots with each other, where one knew what the other would do before he even did it. The sisters were also constantly in cahoots, but they were raw, unseasoned, playing in coffee shops and perking about where musicians of their gentle trade had no business. They did not know what they were capable of. All they knew was what they wanted to do and that they could not do it alone.

They decided to throw a rock at the boys.

It was May of 2009. They had all met before, and had been going to each other’s shows for months previous. Spring was at her zenith, and people were emerging from high schools and universities ready to soak up the coming summer. When the Jones boys fled from their own prison of classrooms that year a different sort of rock fell on their heads and they couldn’t help but pay attention. Two dainty girls who called themselves “The Vespers” were after them to experiment.

There was Phoebe Cryar, with her fiercely curly hair and her capable hands that could make friends with any instrument after only a few conversations; she sang soprano sweetly and elegantly and could hear harmonies in her head that would end up becoming a trademark characteristic of The Vespers. And Callie Cryar, her sister, a pale freckled thing who formed a unique acoustic instrument playing style that complemented her sister’s; she would sing from down in a low honey-smoked whisper, and at other times, boast a powerful voice that foreshadowed what was to come. Timid and shy, the sisters found their inspiration from mastermind folk songwriters, and let roots and alternative underground music be their influence.

There was Bruno Jones, a solid fellow with a mane as thick and golden as a lion’s and a pair of blue eyes that would not take no for an answer. He laid aside his electric bass and donned an upright. There was his older brother Taylor, a lanky storyteller who could make anyone laugh and eat a plate of food the size of a jukebox and not gain an ounce. He reassembled his drum kit to compliment the matchless inventions of the songs the sisters had written. Both brothers had grown up feasting on the previous generation’s music and were well grounded in the old classics. Their tastes were peppered with funk, blues and Southern rock and roll.

What began as a “let’s jam and see if we can learn this and maybe play a few shows together” kind of situation soon turned into a full-blown summer of concentrated music. The sun smoldered down and infected the four musicians with a fever for the sound they were creating. They could not stop. They holed themselves up in an old garage with a battered sound system and a fistful of instruments and began to build a band. The girls’ graceful touch softened the boys’ rough hands, and the boys showed the girls ferocity and brought out the boldness in them where before there had been caution. Together they took music out of the rulebooks and played from their senses.

By the end of that summer the four comrades knew something had to be done about what they had made. They decided to record an album. Armed with a plethora of guitars, mandolins, drums, keyboards, an upright bass, a banjo, an accordion, a trumpet, and numerous other borrowed instruments, they began to record that fall. From the beginning of October until the very end of January The Vespers did not rest, producing and performing every morsel of it themselves. They named their record “Tell Your Mama,” released it in March, got a van and a trailer, and set off to see the world and to let the world see them. All before a single one of them had reached the ripe old age of 21.

The Vespers are now a company of wild-eyed players. They go anywhere and everywhere, in hopes of entrancing and befriending any and all who might hear them.

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