The Deer’s Cry : Rise With the Dawn Review
The Deer’s Cry is a Nashville based band named after an old Irish prayer. The group is Karen Ballew (vocals, Celtic Harp, portative organ), Bryan Brock (percussion), Patrick Atwater (double bass), and Will MacLean (banjo). The Deer’s Cry also collaborates with other artists here in the U.S. and overseas with their presentation of original music inspired by Irish, Bluegrass, Jazz, and other world traditional genres. The Deer’s Cry is now releasing their debut album, Rise With the Dawn. For the past two years, the band has been expanding the songs from a small collection of original songs with harp into a more extensive, more diverse collaboration. A distinguishing feature of The Deer’s Cry band is its exploration of spiritual themes, with traditional prayers and other Irish texts as excellent sources of inspiration. The album features fourteen tracks that have an enjoyable cast of special guests and varying instrumentation and styles.
“In clear winter’s Night” opens the album with Ballew’s clear and haunting vocals singing the beautiful lyrics and melody. Atwater’s double bass keeps time as MacLean fills the space around the vocals. The feel is relaxed, and there is a soothing nature to Ballew’s vocal style that is spiritual and alluring. MacLean’s banjo solo is a serious musical statement that flows with intricate colors, cross-rhythms, and a deep sense of time. Ballew’s vocal range is sweet in all registers, and that is the anchor of this mystical track.
“Oh Blessed Light” is a beautiful example of the band’s use of traditional prayers as an inspiration in their music. Featuring traditional Icelandic instruments and a haunting bridge sung in Icelandic, The Deer’s Cry brings a unique sound of the old world to modern ages. The music is a blend of Irish and Icelandic sounds featuring a Celtic harp and the Icelandic langspil. The bridge lyrics come from Isaiah 9:2, which is sung in Icelandic. Ballew’s singing is equaled by her inspiring harp playing. The band has a sound and a positive message that is a refreshing oasis in these times of many distractions.
Rise With the Dawn is a journey of musical discovery and inspiration. Built around the core sounds of the quartet, the many guests augment the sound to keep the music fresh and surprising. From spoken word to gorgeous vocal harmonies, Rise With the Dawn has something for everyone.
The Deer’s Cry
Rise With the Dawn
January 16, 2020
The Deer's Cry