by Jen Rose Yokel
All you need is a quick peek at the latest artists on Spotify to notice there is a ton of new music out there—more than a person could ever consume. Sometimes it’s just hard to know what’s worth the time, right? Well, we’re here to help!
Welcome to Pardon the Introduction, a new series where we highlight a lesser known, buzz-worthy artist we think you should know, plus five songs to get you on your way to becoming a fan.
For our first entry, we’re excited to feature The Gray Havens. Dave and Licia Radford, a husband/wife duo from Illinois, blend indie folk sensibilities and gorgeous pop soundscapes, but it’s the depth of their songwriting and storytelling that’s especially noteworthy.
After releasing an indie EP in 2013, the Radfords took to Kickstarter to fund their full-length debut Fire and Stone in 2015. Since then, their collaborations with producer Ben Shive have continued to evolve their sound in exciting ways, while their literary songwriting stays as solid as ever.
But don’t take our word for it; listen for yourself! Here are five songs from The Gray Havens that you definitely need to hear…
To start, let’s visit their latest record She Waits with a mid-album track that shows what you can expect from The Gray Havens. If you’re looking for a soulful gospel vibe, “Storehouse” captures just that with a sound that recalls Needtobreathe’s mellower side. (Think songs like “No Excuses”). It’s chill, pleasant, and has a lovely repeated refrain that will stick in your mind. Of course, there’s a lot more to The Gray Havens than that.
High Enough (feat. Propaganda)
When the violin intro “Crows” melts into a haunting, sparse musical backdrop and a darker hip-hop beat, you discover there’s more to this group than you thought. Of course, anything Propaganda touches is sure to be interesting, and Prop’s rapped verse fits perfectly with Dave and Licia’s sung parts. (If you can’t get enough of that groove, there’s an instrumental track on Spotify too.)
Ghost of a King
The Gray Havens’ second album Ghost of a King was a breakout in many ways. After the positive reception to their debut, Ghost brought Ben Shive into the fold to push their sound in exciting new directions, and the title track shows off the blend of poetic folk storytelling and expansive, haunting soundscapes.
Diamonds and Gold
“Diamonds and Gold” is pure pop through and through. Synths, playful vocal riffs, and an effervescent beat infuse a little fun into an otherwise mellow record. If you not-so-secretly love a little pop, then here’s an a little gem of a song you can feel good about turning up.
This My Soul
“This My Soul” has a lovely acoustic guitar melody and a massive musical buildup, but it’s the poetic retelling of the Fall and Christ’s redemption that lends this song so much power. Come for the great music, and stay for the greatest story of all time.
To learn more about The Gray Havens and check out their latest tour dates, visit thegrayhavensmusic.com.