My second step along the path of discovering the music scene in the state my wife and I have chosen to settle down in, is provided by a five-piece band named Deas Vail, from Russellville, Arkansas. Armed with the vocals and keyboard work of Wes Blaylock, guitar-work of Andy Moore, drums of Kelsey Harelson, bass of Jonathan Childs, and keyboard skills of Laura Hudson, I have to admit that I wasn’t quite prepared for what I heard when I dropped their album into my stereo.
Perhaps due to a bias of what I would expect from a southern band — hell, something along the lines of the band I featured last week, Starroy — it took me a while to get comfortable with Deas Vail’s album, All The Houses Look The Same. That sentence might need a bit of clarification. Starroy, and the fact that I found myself enjoying the hell out of their record, perhaps had me not only expecting more of “the same,” but also perhaps initially rejecting anything else.
So, wanting and thinking about southern rock, what I found myself listening to was this wonderfully melodic album that just soared on the damned-near ethereal vocals of Wes Blaylock. Honestly, there are notes and heights of emotion that he manages to hit on some of the songs on this album, that I wonder if they’d had to tie him down while he was in the studio, lest he float away.
After a few more listens, and then a few more, I realized I’d probably listened to All The Houses Look The Same about fifty times in two weeks and it dawned on me that Blaylock’s vocals weren’t the only thing managing to soar.
I wonder if Deas Vail are as proud of this album as I think they should be?
From the slow-building mood of “Standing,” the ethereally funky melody of “Light As Air,” the achingly-lovely piano work on “Shoreline,” to the… get the drift, here? Sitting here, looking at the words I’ve typed and knowing that nothing my clumsy fingers ever produced could describe to you how good and lovely this album is, just depresses me.
Luckily, there are avenues open that allow Deas Vail’s music to speak for itself. The most obvious place to begin would be at the band’s MySpace Page, which features (at the moment) four of their songs. If you find that you like what you hear there (and you will), then I encourage you to head on out to EmotionalPunk.com, where you’ll be able to listen to nearly all of the album’s songs, via online streaming.
If you’re interested in getting to know the guys (and gal) in the band, “Sleeping With Headphones” has a very nice interview up.
Once you’ve had a chance to listen to their music and get to know them through their own words, you’ll be doomed as I am — doomed to your new status as a fan. The only cure for that would be to purchase All The Houses Look The Same, and shake your head in amazement that they aren’t signed to a major label.
Hopefully, as this journey progresses, I’ll not only get a chance to listen to other bands that are equally as talented as Deas Vail, but I’ll find a way to shake free of my preconceptions of what kind of music a band should be capable of making, or of what kind of music that I’m capable of enjoying.
Also, importantly, I hope I can convince a few people to give bands like Deas Vail a listen. The bands are the ones with the talent, y’know. All I do is frantically scribble out words and hope nobody calls me on how lame I probably am.
Next up, the Blues, as I’ll be listening to “My Hometown” by Billy Jones.