After a whirlwind year of performing on "Late Show with David Letterman" and "Conan," making their inaugural performance at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, and racking up kudos from critics, Atlanta-based indie-alt-folk band von Grey will release their new EP, Awakening, on January 21, 2014.
von Grey will be previewing songs from the EP on their fall tour, which includes a mixture of headline dates and shows with Rusted Root and Carbon Leaf. On October 5, von Grey will be presented with the Horizon Award at the 35th Annual Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards. The event, which will feature the induction of hip-hop superstars Goodie Mob and CeeLo Green and the rock band KANSAS, will be televised live by GPB (Georgia Public Broadcasting).
The six-song Awakening follows von Grey’s 2012 self-titled EP, which was recorded with GRAMMY® award-winning producer/engineer Nick DiDia (Bruce Springsteen, Train) and reached the Top 10 on iTunes, and Spring 2013's live acoustic vinyl LP, Live at Criminal Records 01.01.13, released for Record Store Day.
“von Grey is made up of four real-life sisters. Think of them like Mumford & Daughters,” is how the “Conan” show website described them while Daytrotter.com said, “They take our breath away…”
The band – comprising co-lead singer/songwriters Annika (violin, banjo, guitar, keys) and Fiona (guitar, violin, percussion), Petra (keys, lap steel guitar, background vocals) and Kathryn (cello, bass, mandolin, keys, background vocals) – has taken a more experimental route on Awakening, which was produced by Rick Beato (NEEDTOBREATHE, Trey Anastasio, Shinedown, Charlie Mars) at Rick's World Productions in Stone Mountain, Georgia, near the group's stomping grounds of Atlanta.
"The new songs are a little more intricate musically,” says Fiona of von Grey's evolution from the last release to Awakening. "We've added a little bit more technology to the songs, especially with keyboards,” adds Annika.
The result is six songs that still showcase the group's raw acoustic instrumentation and gorgeous four-part harmonies, but have a few added touches of new sounds and effects that give the group's music a modern edge. "We like that juxtaposition," says Annika. "And, thematically, all of the songs are about becoming more aware and the title Awakening embodies that meaning. This past year has made us really appreciate all we've been given, but it's also made us look at ourselves and how we fit into the world."
The songs "Keep It Cool" and "Deliverance" speak to that theme, while "Ashes" – written after the band observed clear-cutting of massive forests in the Pacific Northwest – looks at the global deforestation crisis. But, the group's favorite song is the one that pushed them as songwriters the most, the EP's first single, "Come On," which will be available at all digital retailers in October.
"It's about finding something that you believe in or being awakened, opening your eyes to an issue or something that you feel passionate about and bringing that awareness to other people,” notes Annika.
The infectious "Come On" follows the group's last single, 2012's "Coming for You," which, upon release, was the most added song at Triple A radio behind Mumford & Sons and earned von Grey praise from Billboard for their "crystalline harmonies, stirring lyrics and inventive melodies."