Coração Is Everyone’s Song Now

By: Jake, manager Up until a few years ago it hadn’t ever occurred to me that many (if not most) songs are non-fiction. Inspired by real events. True stories. I’m not sure why but music always just seemed to me to fit in with movies or novels—things written by real people but not about real people. It also didn’t occur to me that the people writing the songs weren’t writing about other people. They were often writing about themselves and sometimes in very personal ways. Now that I’m managing The National Parks I get to see songs develop from the very earliest stages. Brady will often send me rough phone recordings, usually just a chord progression and a mumbled lyric-less melody, and then months (or even years) later those recordings evolve into large masterful productions. It’s really cool. I love watching that creative process. Sometimes Brady tells me what inspires his songs, sometimes I ask, or sometimes I don’t have to ask because we’re now close enough friends that I know intimate details about his life. I used to feel like this was privileged information. I knew the backstories so I knew what the songs were really about. But I don’t feel that way anymore and here’s why: I don’t think that Brady gets to decide what the songs he writes are about. I think that the second a song is shared it isn’t just the musician’s song anymore. Of course I’m not talking about copyright or anything like that. I’m saying that an artist doesn’t get to decide what their piece of art means any more than anyone else. What inspires...

Christmas Song for a Great Cause

We recorded an original Christmas song called “It’s Christmas and I Like You” and have decided to donate all the money we make from it this Christmastime to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). We aren’t experts on this global crisis but we know enough to feel like it was important for us to help as much as we can right now. We recognize we don’t yet have the reach to dramatically impact the funding needs of an organization like the UNHCR but with your help we are optimistic we can raise a meaningful amount. Although it depends on the specific store (Spotify, iTunes, etc.), we generally get about 70% of every download/stream of a song. To help put that in perspective you might consider that we can expect roughly $1.00 for every 200 streams on a site like Spotify. That might not seem like much but even if we get about 500,000 streams (half the number of our most popular track on Spotify) then that would mean that the amount of money you’ve helped raise could provide clothing, blankets, and warming stoves to keep 20 families warm this winter. Reaching 500,000 streams in just two weeks is certainly possible but will require your help – please join with us in helping these families, if even in this small way, simply by listening to the track, adding it to your playlists, and sharing it with your friends and family. Included below is an official audio video made by Caitlyn Cutler (she also designed the single artwork – all for free to help the cause). The video can be a great way to spread the word to your friends and family about the track but we ask that you consider...

Somewhere in the Music

This video was created as a strange sort of surprise Christmas gift for the band back in 2013. I wrote the narration as part of a creative nonfiction workshop for my MFA program and then worked with my sister, Caitlyn, on turning that writing into a video. What we ended up with was, “Somewhere in the Music.” Caitlyn and I kept the video essay a secret for a little while, showing it for the first time at our first ever band Christmas party (which has now become a serious tradition). That was just months after the release of Young – the band’s debut album. Young had done well so we were all really excited and very optimistic about the future. Looking back now I realize how little we understood about the process of “making it” as a band. I guess we knew enough to keep moving though because we’ve come a long way in the last few years and we are still excited and optimistic about the future. That isn’t to say that I feel like we’ve “made it” because we still have a long way to go. And truthfully I still have a lot more questions than answers. I doubt that will ever change and I’m okay with that. I think if I were ever to get to a point that I felt like I had it all figured out then all the life/energy would go out of it and I’d probably start looking for other ways to spend my time. The last thing I’ll mention is that after re-watching this for the first time in years I am reminded, and still blown away, by how many people jumped in and helped the ball get rolling for...

Syd: Notes from Urban Lounge

We played a show in SLC the other night to a sold out crowd. This is something that still blows me away. I’m usually happy if anyone shows up at all. Since I didn’t grow up as a performer, most of my experience with live music has been as a fan. And that’s still something I love. I love the feeling I get being in a room full of people who for a moment are on the same page as I am. I love seeing the passion that the artist brings, the stories they tell, the show they put on. I love the lights, the sounds, the energy. There are so many feelings. Things I don’t feel in other places. And it was only until a few years ago that this has been the only experience I have had with live music. I never really thought about what it might be like to be on the stage. Over the years, playing multiple shows in multiple cities, my perspective has changed. I think people would be surprised at how ordinary someone on a stage might feel, based on my experience, at least. For instance, a lot of time I worry that what I’m wearing isn’t the right thing, or that I look so sweaty that someone will think I ran to the venue. I worry that I can’t hear myself singing as clearly as I would like to so I might be off-key at some points. I sometimes try to make jokes that hundreds of people will laugh at… yikes. Or something happens, like my pedal sliding forward mid-song, and I don’t want to bend down and move it. So I grab...