Bon Iver seems to be everywhere these days. Whether he’s singing on a Kanye West album or debuting at Number 2 on the Billboard Charts, Justin Vernon’s folk project that started in a cabin in Wisconsin has turned into something bigger than he could have imagined. He seems to have inspired a whole new generation to grow out their beards and write some good old fashioned folk songs. Which brings us to one of the best folk bands we have here on OurStage, Statue of Liberty.
Just like Bon Iver, Statue of Liberty hail from the midwest; Des Moines, IA to be exact. The band is a duo consisting of Bobby Bradford and Marywood Kate. Playing guitar and piano respectively, the two share vocal duties to create blissfully sweet vocal harmonies. Their song “Thick of It All” best exemplifies the comparisons to Bon Iver. Beginning with a delicate acoustic guitar melody, the two members sing together in seemingly perfect harmony. This creates a really breath-taking effect where the deep male voice and high-pitched female voice combine so seamlessly that it almost sounds like one voice. The track builds momentum, with a bass drum eventually coming in to provide a steady beat and some hand percussion to create more texture.
“Time Carries On” has a similar vibe but fleshes out their sound with a full band arrangement. This song has a piano and full drum set in addition to the acoustic guitar, and instead of combining their voices like in “Thick of it All,” Bobby takes the lead vocals while Marywood provides a backing of soothing “oohs.” After beginning soft and subdued, the song eventually ends with a climactic guitar solo. But don’t think it’s all slow and somber for these two. “Only” is a more uptempo track with piano and drums that incorporates some pop elements into the band’s folk background. There’s even some electric guitar in there for good measure. “Back To You” is another upbeat track with an indie pop feel to it. The standout in this song is the piano, which provides a catchy melody to start the song off as well as chords and harmonies for the verses. The members of Statue of Liberty are multi talented and skilled enough to blend styles and influences seamlessly. As a result, their music feels instantly familiar, but at the same time unique and all their own.
You can check out Statue of Liberty’s album The Up State here.
Know an OurStage artist that can give a mainstream one a run for their money? Let us know in the comments!