“Take Me Back to the Start…”

The very first time I heard Saints of Valory, I knew it was love.  Every single time I hear them, it happens all over again.  This merry band of international rock stars has a pretty big chunk of my heart – a bigger piece than French fries and possibly Sharpies (this is a BIG statement, people…have you seen my Sharpie collection?).

A little over a year into my Saints of Valory crush, in 2012, they put out this song called, “Kids,” and I knew, in my gut, that I was hearing a mega-hit.  Fast forward 18 months, the guys are now on Atlantic Records, and “Kids” is rolling out as their new single.  They just debuted the video.  It’s gorgeous. (Disclaimer: I am completely biased, but I pretty much guarantee you this song will be STUCK in your head.)

More Saints of Valory:  Web | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Buy the Possibilities EP on iTunes or Amazon

Friday Awesomeness: And the winner is … Atlantic Records!

Every once in awhile, a major label gets it right.


If you follow this blog with any regularity, you know that I fell in love with this band’s music about 20 months ago.  Then I met them and fell in love with them as people.  These fellas make music with meaning and they care about songcraft.  They are a rare find in today’s music world and its nice to see a major label recognizing talent and possibility.

A huge congrats to Stephen, Gavin, Gerard and Godfrey…you boys DESERVE this and I know that the world is going to fall in love with you just like I did.  I’m so proud to be your fan and cannot wait to see what comes next for you.

To Atlantic Records:  Too many times, labels mess up good bands.  I’m begging you – nurture this band.  Support them.  Fight for them. Take chances on them. Be creative with them.  Let them be the incredible band they are. For me, as a fan, they represent a generation of new music that can help reinvent this industry.


Me with my Saints of Valory boys, August 2012

Me with ATLANTIC RECORDS RECORDING ARTISTS Saints of Valory, August 2012

SOV Love

A little love from rock stars never hurts a girl’s ego.









More Saints of Valory:  Web | Facebook | Twitter


The Ultimate Friday Awesomeness: Saints of Valory, “Kids” EP

Saints of Valory have my heart with this smashing release.

I don’t often have a hard time coming up with words.  But, I will confess that I’ve been avoiding writing this post, mainly because I don’t know how to fairly write a review of the Saints of Valory’s new EP, Kids.  The fact of the matter is, I’m completely in love with their music, and I find it very hard to be objective.

So, to heck with avoiding journalistic bias…I’m going to take the advice of one of their lyrics and “Just say what you feel!”

If the goal of music is to evoke emotion and inspire connection, then Kids is a gorgeous success. This little group of six songs is nothing short of intrepid – it will leave you smiling, dancing, remembering your past and loving your present.  Lead by aerobatic vocals and memorable lyrics, the EP thrums with sweet, sing-along harmonies and is punctuated by an absolutely impeccable percussion.  Toss in a few ripping guitar solos, and a singer who tears it up on bass just as equally as he lets loose with his singing, and it may just be perfect.  It’s an album that you put on and before you know it, it’s played five times in a row and the songs have penetrated your brain by osmosis.  How do you know?  You find yourself humming the them at your desk, causing near-fatal wrecks to clap along in your car, and subconsciously singing them at the grocery store before you realize that the little old lady buying green beans next to you is looking at you a little strangely…

There’s no warming up, it just gets right in your face with a killer opening drum sequence that launches the EP’s title track, “Kids.”  (Aside: live, it’s even more epic – drummer Gerard Bouvier is whaling the heck out of the kit while lead guitarist Godfrey Thomson and keyboardist Stephen Buckle simultaneously tar the heck out of some floor toms). Lead singer Gavin Jasper invites you to experience the music with him, crooning, “Welcome to my story, to the story of my life…” and telling the tale of being “just kids, with our hopes, with our dreams, with our faults,” you’re right there, remembering when you were just a kid, too.

“Kids” is followed by the “More Dancing, Less Falling,” a delectable lyrical morsel which is sure to become a summer anthem for a large majority of their fans.  And by God, I do find myself dancing when this song is playing!  Sandwiched in the middle are the EP’s two most mainstream tracks, and the ones that are likely to inspire the most earworms – the fast-paced “Sweetest Sin” and a reprise of “Neon Eyes.”  With added layers of drums and guitars, “Neon Eyes” is now an amped up version of the acoustic track released earlier in 2011, but it retains its signature – and incredibly infectious – hand-clap rhythm.

When I first heard “City, City,” a mellow love song to the band’s home town of Austin, I didn’t love it.  But it’s grown on me, and being a lover of Austin myself, I can completely relate to it.  Stephen’s key work on this track is really spotlighted…the dude doesn’t get enough love for how freaking fabulous he is.  “Watch It Burn,” probably my favorite track on the EP, is the perfect end cap – it somehow feels like a culmination and a fresh start at once.  It starts slow, but then quickly ramps up and showcases brilliant guitar playing from Godfrey. The song doesn’t end as much as it crashes, finishing with building guitar that screeches to a halt and one final cymbal hit, closing the EP where it started on the drum kit.   And just like that, the EP is over…and you’re a little sad.

In today’s musical landscape, it’s rare to find artists that truly have the chops to back up their music.  Auto-tune, fancy editing software and production have become the norm, but with Saints of Valory, you get an absolutely true-to-life representation of their musical abilities…and Kids showcases exactly how much the Saints have to offer.  They’re able to write songs that are fresh and familiar all at the same time, which is why you hear so many people call them “radio ready” and compare them to Coldplay and the Killers, I think.  However, Saints of Valory’s songs have something more for me, something that brings them to life in a much bigger way – heart and passion.

And that, my friends, is what makes Kids so utterly bombastic and loveable.  Heart.

More Saints of Valory:  Web | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp | Buy Kids in hard copy or on iTunes and Amazon

‘Tis the Season for More Saints of Valory

As 2011 draws to a close, I’m starting to put together my “best of” lists for the year, and I can say with absolute certainty that Austin’s Saints of Valory will top a number of them.  They were my favorite new band discovery this year… So, it makes me merry that the fellas put out an original holiday ditty to finish out the year!

“Winter Lights” sparkles with everything I love about this band’s music…questioning, self-reflection provoking lyrics, sticky choruses, lovely guitar interludes (and a striking little organ intro) … and builds to this gorgeous crescendo of a children’s choir and a snappy military snare breakdown.  Of course, Gavin’s plaintive vocals are huge, as always. It’s timeless enough to be played year round, honestly, but definitely wrapped in a great little holiday package, complete with a meaningful message and jingle bells.

And the video is gorgeous, too.  There’s something about the golden light that just lends itself to the song… Love the drummer boy outfits and the paper confetti cannons!

Pick up your copy of “Winter Lights” and get on board this year with Saints of Valory.  By this time in 2012, they’ll be shining for the world to see.

More Saints of Valory:  Web | Twitter | Facebook | Bandcamp | YouTube

Easily the Best Show of the Year

Saints of Valory at Crown Station. Forgive the sad little picture, but I was too mesmerized by this amazing show…I only took two!

I realize I’m given to excessive love for singers, bands, musicians in general.  But when talking about live shows, statements such as “It was the best show I’ve seen all year” are not comments that I make lightly.  I see a lot of live music; last year, I saw more than 80 live performances.  Having that many under your belt gives you a lot of options for “the best,” so it’s not easy for me to bestow that title.

But, I can say this without a doubt:  Hands down, Saints of Valory‘s performance at Crown Station last night was the best show I’ve seen all year.

This little quartet from Austin plays with such passion and heart – and it was evident to everyone in that room.  I watched people who didn’t know their music at all turn into fans last night.  Huge, soaring vocals.  Intricate guitar work.  Simple and beautiful keys.  Then there’s world’s most silent man, Gerard Bouvier, who plays drums like a lion – his quiet personality completely belies his skill. When you combine their talents with an intimate, micro-sized venue like Crown Station, you’ve got a recipe for a magical show.

When artists genuinely want to connect with their audience, there’s an electricity that’s created and just can’t be matched – and last night’s show was chock full of spark and ignition. They played nearly everything off of their Bright Lights album (they call it an EP, but I think they’re taking the very literal definition of EP), both “new” songs from the Neon Eyes EP, and even performed a few new songs, including “Million to None,” which could easily become a new favorite of mine.

I have a thing for bands where there are more vocals than just the lead singer, and SOV does not disappoint here.  Guitarist Godfrey Thomson and keyboardist Stephen Buckle lend their voices on a lot of songs to produce a veritable choir.  Then there was this small, almost imperceptible thing that I noticed.  If you study Gavin while he sings, he makes these little hand motions that might seem like they’re personal – reaching a hand out towards the audience ever so slightly, holding his hand to his chest, or touching his head like he’s thinking – but they’re really part of the performance, pulling you into the songs, making you feel the songs on his level.   The recorded CD couldn’t possibly capture these energies…you’ve got to just see it live.

When I ask my friends to come out to shows, they never let me down – and there’s always one or two out of a big group that walk away with a CD or saying they really like the band.  But last night, I watched my friends, along with other people that didn’t know their music, become fans. They were, like me, caught up in the magic of their show.   And that high that you can only get from seeing a truly great music performance, carried over into today, as I watched my friends tweet, blog, and tweet some more about the band and their own connections with the music.

To put icing on the evening, the band was just the nicest, most down-to-earth group of guys, who were content to hang out with us after the show for a few hours (yes, hours) telling stories, laughing at our crazy antics, and talking music.

The thing is…Saints of Valory is a band truly on the way up.  They’ve got so much passion for what they’re doing, and their music is already so good, but you can hear it getting even better.  From the CD, which was released in November, to now, they’ve made just small tweaks to songs – guitar bits here, a slight lyric shift there – and the songs are richer because of it.  The new songs they’re playing, some of them literally just written in the last few weeks, are incredible. I have no doubts that by the next time I see them these songs will be really developed and absolutely floor me.

Mark my words – these guys are going to continue to push their own envelope.  You want to be on this journey with them.  Buy their music, but more importantly, get your tush out to a show to see them. And prepare yourself, because you’re going to fall in love with Saints of Valory.

More Saints of Valory:  Web | Twitter | Facebook