Ever since I first stumbled upon Tow’rs from a promotional sampler on Noisetrade, I DROPPED MY JAWS in disbelief. HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS BAND? Where are they hiding?! Well, turns out they are hiding in Flagstaff, a small town in Arizona that I (oddly enough) know quite well after spending a summer there in 2007 (internship with W.L. Gore & Associates). I felt an instant connection with them and was incredulous over the fact that they came from a place I was so deeply fond of. I soon learned that the band was born out of husband and wife duo, Kyle and Gretta Miller, who had been playing music with their best friends — Emma Crislip, Kyle Keller, Kory Miller — for many years (six to be exact) before finally realizing that they needed to bring this music beyond their local Church scene and into the general public. Just like that, the foundation of Tow’rs was laid down- a foundation of folk roots, soothing strings, and happy harmonies that would build one of the BEST BREAKOUT indie/folk bands of 2015 (in my opinion). I guess it’s true when they say that BEST FRIENDS truly make the BEST MUSIC, and I was happy to find “a place at their table” last Saturday night. 🙂
“Through our music, we explore the questions that haunt us, the pain that marks us, and the hope that redefines everything for us. We invite you into the conversation, build with us, find your place at the table.” – Tow’rs
HUGE THANKS to Tow’rs for coming out west to captivate us with their live set, slaying us with songs like The Kitchen and Circles, both from their newest (and my most favorite) album, The Great Minimum. I really enjoyed meeting the beautiful people behind this beautiful music, and hope that they leave a bit of their heart in San Francisco and come back soon. When they do, I seriously hope they tour with one of my other new favorite folk artists, Zach Winters (who I think would be a perfect compliment). For those fans of The Head and the Heart, Horse Feathers, Of Monsters and Men, Blind Pilot, The Oh Hellos, and Typhoon, you HAVE GOT to check them out.
Fresh off their win (‘Emerging Artist’) from the 2015 Viola Awards, Tow’rs released a new album (The Great Minimum) in June 2015. It follows up their well-received debut self-titled album from 2014.
Tow’rs had me FREAKING OUT when they kicked off their set with my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE, The Kitchen. The captivating cello intro hooks you HARD and soon has you swaying with every stroke of the bow. Once it does, you can’t help but fall into a reverie imagining how this next verse would play out:
“You made me dance in the kitchen with you
If I was the night then you were the moon
Expectation is the currency of fools (LOVE)
I spent it on you, I spent it on you.”
This one is another favorite from their collection, and I especially enjoy the plead of electric guitar that perfectly compliments the “pleeeeeease come home” plead throughout.
The beginning of this next one initially reminded me of an old Bombay Bicycle Club song (acoustic) but then came into its own when the perky percussion picked up the pace at the first chorus (“It’s not black or white but in between”).
This next one was a major crowd-pleaser and obvious favorite from their debut album
Loved the staggering call-and-response vocals from husband and wife, Kyle and Gretta.
This next one is a definite favorite from their recent album, and I can’t help but belt out the chorus of “Just because we’re breathing doesn’t mean we are alive.” TRUTH BE TOLD. Turns out that Helm is also a favorite of Kyle and Gretta, for it was inspired by the birth of their first son (now almost 1-year-old) and about the nervous anticipation that often accompanies such big life changes.
Was really impressed to learn this one was written by the cellist, Emma, who I was lucky enough to flag down after the show. Cello players hold a very special place in my heart, for cello had come to be my favorite string instrument. I can’t quite pin down what about this instrument makes me melt, but it DOES. Props to Emma for hammering on my heartstrings all night. Also mad props to Kyle for alternating between electric guitar, harmonica, and trumpet throughout the set- a modest multi-instrumentalist who was as pleasant to chat with as he was to watch!
Loved this STUNNING version of Circles as their encore. This here is perfect proof that BEST FRIENDS really do make the BEST MUSIC. I was grinning EAR-TO-EAR as I watched them exchange smiles and laughs while they serenaded the crowd with their dreamy harmonies and soul-stroking lyrics: “Circles are the perfect shape…to describe the hearts of man.” Hands down my favorite part of the night. <3
See another version on my personal music blog: