Last year was a momentous one for Indie/Alt Folk quartet von Grey, with a relentless road schedule (including opening slots for Sarah McLachlan, Indigo Girls, Rusted Root and Carbon Leaf, as well as headlining gigs), television appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman and Conan and triumphant debuts at South By Southwest and Bonnaroo.
This incredible period of exposure, almost universal acclaim from critics and spiritual devotion from a growing fan base was bookended by the release of von Grey’s two studio EPs — an eponymous acoustic debut (released in late 2012) and Awakening, the group’s more expansive six-song sophomore set released in January — and punctuated by the stellar Live at Criminal Records, released last spring for Record Store Day.
The four von Grey sisters — Kathryn (18), Annika (16), Fiona (15) and Petra (12) — all began their Classical training at the age of 5; when Petra was accomplished enough to play out, they formed a string quartet and played weddings and the like. This Classical live performance boot camp gave the Atlanta natives confidence in front of audiences and prepared them for the rigors of widespread touring and considerably larger crowds when they switched to their largely acoustic Indie Folk direction (Conan O’Brien described them as “Mumford & Daughters”), a sound largely steered by their parents’ eclectic record collection.
Annika and Fiona take the lead on vocals, with Kathryn and Petra in a supporting role, but instrumentally the foursome combine variously on guitar, violin, banjo, keyboards, cello, mandolin, lap steel, bass pedals and percussion. As songwriters, the girls have an inspired sense of melody, and as vocalists, their angelic harmonies transcend the gold standard of sibling chemistry. von Grey is a quartet of teenagers who are more emotionally and creatively together than most adult bands with members twice their ages. The sisters von Grey are proof positive that youth is most assuredly not wasted on the young.
VON GREY opens for Ron Pope on Thursday, March 20 at Newport's Southgate House Revival. Tickets/more info here .