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“Rise With the Dawn” by The Deer’s Cry

The Deer’s Cry aren’t harvesting bold new territory with their song “Rise With the Dawn”, but the song definitely rates a cut above customary material in this vein. Their music aims to bring together strands of jazz, Irish traditional music, bluegrass, and other varieties of world music into an overall package certain to capture the widest possible audience. Unlike many other bands immersed in such a style, The Deer’s Cry relies on original compositions rather than performing covers of traditional songs and there’s a good reason for that. Their material is sharp, well-played, and fueled from a deep well of emotion that never overwhelms listeners. 

The Deer’s Cry calls the Nashville, Tennessee area their home and the single is the title track for the band’s debut album release. There are a few guest artists included on this single and other key tracks on the release will highlight talents from outside the band; The Deer’s Cry views music-making as a communal experience rather than closing ranks and relying solely on the band to play their material. Producer Ren Renfree obviously has a clear idea of how to present the band’s sound for listeners – there’s exceptional balance between the various instruments and vocalist Karen Ballew’s singing.

Her vocals are the key to the single’s success. She does a memorable job of bringing the disparate emotions of weariness and hope together in one song and you can hear the aching longing for a better day rising to the surface throughout the track. She is a natural singer – there’s nothing studied or affected about her performance and the elegant way she glides through both the verses and choruses alike will linger with listeners long after the last note fades.

The guitar playing never takes a turn in the spotlight but, instead, engages in a sort of dialogue with Ballew’s voice throughout the track. There are smatterings of other instrumental contributions throughout the track as well – guest musician Joseph Carmichael leaves a mark on the track thanks to his contributions on multiple instruments, particularly guitar and flute. The players acquit themselves quite well mixing the different instrumental voices into a whole far greater than the sum of its individual parts.

The Deer’s Cry do a first rate job tailoring the lyrics for the song’s musical style but make an individual statement rather than mimicking traditional songs. Ballew is a clearly talented lyricist and brings a strong sense of the personal to her writing you don’t always hear. It speaks well for this band that they take the lyrics just as seriously as any other part of the songwriting experience; many of their contemporaries are too often content with placeholder lyrics that merely hit their marks and say nothing truly memorable. 

There’s no danger of that ever happening with The Deer’s Cry. It is easy to hear this song and feel confident this four piece band will always address their work with a high degree of artistry and remain intent on establishing a real connection with listeners while still offering them an entertaining listening experience. “Rise With the Dawn” shares similarities with a lot of material in the genre, but it is never cookie cutter in any way.

Mindy McCall

The music of THE DEER’S CRY has been heard all over the world due to the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Records. Learn more –



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