It is dark; Pitch black. Nothing can be seen or heard. Suddenly a chorus of clapping bursts out into the airwaves. It intensifies in loudness and slowly becomes more directed in its purpose. And then the guitar comes in. “Sparrow Mountain” by The People, has a very interesting way of captivating its listener from the start. I personally was mesmerized by the initial percussive clapping alone; it is akin to witnessing sparks ignite, but rather than putting out the ensuing fire, one sits entranced, choosing instead to watch the flames grow. It is an optimally creative and effective way to begin a song, as it beckons its audience in to hear more.
The band itself is as eclectic and compelling as the tunes they make, the distinct southern undertones in which lend to them richness and dimension that feels transportive, as if I am watching them live somewhere tucked in the folds of New Orleans. Performing barefooted, and always with smiles spread wide, they seem incredibly down to earth, with humility oozing from their pores. This all makes perfect sense, as they are clearly focused on using their music to bring people together from all creative and sociocultural stripes. During The People’s live shows their unique brand of folk-rock underpinned by jazz roots comes to life. Among one another and with the audience, they are very friendly and interactive, inspiring dancing, sing-a-longs and the like. Watching videos of the above described milieu makes listening to this new single an even more enjoyable experience.
On this track, the sweet and simple nature of Vocalist Samantha Rise-Roberson’s voice comes out with gusto, and stuns throughout. When her male counterpart comes in however, it leaves one hoping for a two part harmony only to be mildly disappointed, as they end up singing in octaves for most the song (although when the two do indeed diverge, the resulting harmony is exhilarating). Regardless, the music video clearly communicates the fact that while performing they all have a total blast with one another. The song itself– passionate without being aggressive is a very honest portrayal of someone’s feelings regarding an old flame. With lines like: “I’d like to believe in what they call second chances // but I wouldn’t dare to give me one,” it shoots straight to the point like an arrow, which I appreciate as well as respect. Musically, all members are talented, their voices soft and subtle, yet powerful in equal stride. A few separate times in the song I even found myself getting lost in the guitar melodies.
The People are amazing story tellers who draw their listeners in, leaving them with no choice but to hang onto their every word. While they are a relatively new band founded in 2012, there is no doubt in my mind that they will have an easy time generating an enormous fan base. Watch the new video for the beautiful “Sparrow Mountain” here, and let it take you away. At the end, you’ll feel good, and want more.