By RUTH BORDETT
For those who have not been keeping up with The Underground’s schedule, its most recent event may make you pay closer attention.
Last Friday, The Vespers took over the stage. The Tennessee-born band, consisting of siblings Callie and Phoebe Cryar and Bruno and Taylor Jones, will be touring for a total of 10 days and 10 nights across the U.S.
One of their stops was here at the University of Mary Washington. It is clear that The Vespers are marching to the beat of their own drum. When I sat down to talk to Phoebe Cryar and Taylor Jones, it was obvious that even they had a hard time defining their music.
Instrumentally, they identify as a bluegrass band. That said, they also quickly acknowledged other strong influences, like Christian music and rock.
Though the band was formed three years ago at a backyard family party, they perform as if they have been playing together forever. This may be because of the pre-existing family dynamic between the two sets of siblings, or it could be all chalked up to good artistry.
“Guitars were always laying around [our] house; it just came naturally because we had always been exposed to music,” said Cryar, the youngest band member.
Whatever the reason, the band caught the audience’s attention on Friday night. With their first song, they quickly turned heads in the crowd.
The Vespers claim that they draw inspiration from everyday life, love, God and “unique personal experiences.” It’s a perfect formula for universal appeal in their music.
The songs they played ranged from old, Irish tunes to bluegrass rock. With each member of the band playing multiple instruments, including the banjo, upright bass, mandolin and ukulele, to name just a few. Almost every song seemed to include something new.
When asked about how they decided what instruments to use, drummer and guitarist Taylor Jones said that making a song was “like creating a sandwich: your beats [are] sort of the bread and the filling is everything else.”
Through jokes on stage and quick-witted jabs at each other, the band created a personal connection with the audience, which was only enhanced by the intimate setting of The Underground.
From meek beginnings to a cross-country tour, The Vespers’ members are not your average 20-somethings.
Singing of topics such as suicide, love and beauty, The Vespers’ haunting, New Age tones and relatable lyrics clearly have a future in music. From the looks of their success thus far, and the enjoyable show Friday, it seems it will be a fun journey to follow.