Artist Spotlight: Bearing Torches
IndiePulse Music Introduces Bearing Torches, The Music of a loving couple, a group of true artists and the soundtrack of a lifetime.
To review music that is created from the stuff of dreams is a task not taken lightly, how does one judge the lifelong ambitions of people that have given all they have to a single dream? especially when that dream is not only shared by more than one person, but it is a dream that brought two people together to share that rough road together.
“Come On” by Bearing Torches is a masterful track in the true Rock & Roll fashion, hard edge emotions with masterful composition bring you into the riveting energy that the group has created, the video for “Come On” compliments the song perfectly, it does not distract from the message but enhances every part of the song in a gritty “MTV”Fashion that was honed by the bands influences of the 80’s rock era. the conceptual image of the dark nightclub back room, the angst, the anxiety the fun of bearing your souls and drawing in kindred spirits…. amazing, but one thing I saw, was the love of music that was hidden in the background, The drummer, Jennifer is setting the tempo, the beat, holding everything together being the foundation for the power that the band needs to survive, and Jon, writing the songs that would be tribute to their life together, simply wonderful.
This is the story of Bearing Torches, A life and love story grounded in Rock & Roll.
Nearly two decades before they recorded Bearing Torches’ debut single “Come On”, bandmates Jon and Jennifer Ellison spent their very first hours together.
The year was 1999, and Napster had just hit its peak. Jennifer and Jon were both guests at the same birthday party in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but they wound up blowing off the festivities, choosing instead to sit down at a computer and spend their time downloading music. They remained together throughout the evening, huddled around the same set of speakers, listening to frontmen like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. From the start, the two found a connection in the raw, redemptive power of rock & roll music, laying the brickwork not only for their marriage, but for the formation of their band, too.
Years later, Jon and Jennifer are still glued together by music. “Come On”, their first single with Bearing Torches, is the sound of a working-class family band whose members have survived homelessness, religiously zealous childhoods, overseas stints in the Navy, dead-end jobs, and depression. This song tells autobiographical stories about survival, big dreams, harsh realities, and bittersweet victories, with Bearing Torches finding plenty of source material in their own history.
For Jon, rock & roll was always synonymous with rebellion during his childhood years. He was raised in a strictly religious household where most secular music was forbidden. Things weren’t any easier at the boarding school he attended as a teenager — the same school that eventually threw him for listening to the FM radio after dark.
“If I took a clock radio and put it under my pillow at night,” he remembers, “I could listen to whatever was on the radio. It was a good way to get rock & roll into my life without getting caught. One night, I was listening to my radio under my pillow when the teachers at my school popped into my room to do a surprise inspection on me, and they traced the power cord from the wall under my pillow and found I had a radio. They threw me out.”
“I couldn’t really go home because my parents had sent me to that school to get my life straightened out,” he adds. “I didn’t have anywhere else to go.” As a result, Jon found himself homeless for roughly 90 days, sleeping on a park picnic table during the day before working overnight shifts at a nearby grocery store. From there, he made enough money to land an apartment. By the time he met Jennifer several years later, he’d also joined the Navy in a moment of desperation, bluffing his way through the examination process with a fake high-school diploma.
Jon and Jennifer married and moved to coastal Virginia. Jon wasn’t at home much, thanks to a string of Naval deployments that often took him overseas. The two were broke, but they made ends meet. Once Jon’s commitment to the Navy was up, they moved to Knoxville, where they landed $6-hour jobs and nursed a growing need to make music together. It was in Knoxville that the couple formed Bearing Torches, launching the band before they’d even mastered their own instruments.
“We started our band and learned how to play at the same time,” Jen remembers. “We had no idea how to do it. We were just stumbling our way through it, learning as we went.”
It was a learning process, with Jennifer cutting her teeth on the drums while Jon tightened his songwriting chops. Things steadily grew tighter and tighter. Before long, the band had expanded its lineup and established a new home Nashville, where Jon’s younger brother — Joseph — lived with the couple and served as the band’s guitarist. With family friend AJ Babcock rounding out Bearing Torches’ roster, the group explored a level of shared musicianship that seemed uniquely deep.
“We’re intuitively able to get to the same places, musically, without having to say much,” Jon says of his three bandmates, two of whom share his last name. “Jen and I are spouses. Jon and I are blood brothers. We have the same tastes, the same roots in music. Those instincts mesh together around our common experiences and common approaches to life, and that’s the real thing that helps us connect musically.”
“Come On” is grounded in the rock & roll tradition of Jon and Jennifer’s heroes. It’s music that pays tribute to Tom Petty’s finesse, Bruce Springsteen’s fire, Pete Seeger’s storytelling, and Neil Young’s spirit. “They were real people talking about real things,” Jon says of those artists, whose music he didn’t discover until his teenage years. “Hearing their music gave me the confidence to tell the stories I wanted to tell. Everything started clicking once I discovered rock & roll, because those guys told the truth. That’s what made having a band seem like a relevant career choice.”
Bearing Torches isn’t just a band. It’s a love story. It’s a family. In a town filled with country stars and first-rate sidemen, this is a hardscrabble rock & roll group whose musical chops weren’t taught in some classroom, but learned onstage instead. Come On is a rallying cry from a band that’s struggled and survived, telling their story every inch of the way. It’s real, raw rock music.
“A lot of what we’ve experienced isn’t necessarily table conversation,” Jon admits, “but I know it’s something a lot of people go through. Where do you go to talk about the things people are feeling on a daily basis behind closed doors? In a world where you become more and more isolated with social media, how can you shine a light on what people are actually going through? How do you tell that story? You can tell that story in a rock & roll song. You can’t tell it in a pop song, or at a dinner table, or at a party. This form of rock & roll is the only natural place where this kind of communication can really live. You’ve gotta talk about it somewhere, and this feels like the place to do it.”
Bearing Torches have only been “playing” for 5 years, but have a strong following and have garnered some serious attention on the music scene. “Come On”, which has been designated as their first official release single and video has some serious cred to it. This track was produced by Tres Sasser (Will Hoge, Cardboard Kids) and mixed by Bob Clearmountain (Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen), When they were tracking this record they reached out to Bob Clearmountain, who is a legend in the mix world and never does independent artists for his insight. He loved it so much he mixed it in between the new Bruce Springsteen record and
the new Rolling Stones record he was doing, with this step up and support from industry leaders, “Come On” by Bearing Torches is a true break out for this year’s Indie Music Scene.
See and Hear for yourself what love of music and of each other can create, follow Bearing Torches Online:
Home Page: https://www.bearingtorches.com
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