For anyone who’s ever read Malcolm Gladwell’s Book “Outliers,” you are aware of the 10,000 hours rule. Gladwell states that to become a master of your craft, you must practice this craft for 10,000 hours. He highlights this rule through the Beatles. He explains the success, skill, and creativity of the Beatles by breaking down the amount of time they have practiced, and practiced together. The book discusses how when the Beatles were just teenagers they were playing clubs in Germany almost every night of the week. Eight hour long performances, playing different styles and genres, and learning how to entertain a crowd. By the time they had made it “big” on a global scale, the Beatles had already played around 1,200 shows together. Gladwell likes to point out, that’s more than most bands have played together during their entire careers. In the book, Gladwell estimates that it takes around 10 years to reach your 10,000 hours of practice. Something the Beatles, playing 8 hours a day together, probably blew out of the water. The Beatles wrote more recognizable songs than any other band in the history of music. Having “mastered” playing, playing together, and songwriting so early in their career, it’s something that seemed would never be matched. Yet making quiet but powerful waves, coming out of Atlanta, is a band that people need to get ready for. Ladies and gentleman if you don’t know about them yet, it’s my great pleasure to introduce you to Von Grey.
Von Grey is a band consisting of four sisters: Kathryn, Annika, Fiona, and Petra Von Grey. Four of the most talented and creative musicians I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot). But before I jump into hyping up their talent, I first want to tell you a bit of their story. Since they were old enough to pick up an instrument (around 3) their parents have encouraged them to practice playing. Their mom found it to be helpful with the growth of brain development and musicianship. Smart lady. Starting out being classically trained, the girls found themselves playing instruments like cello, violin, and piano. However, it wasn’t long till they started branching out to other instruments. By the time Kathryn (the oldest) was 12, and Petra was just 7, the sisters were already performing at weddings. Not too long after that they were writing their own songs and Kathryn was just 14 when the girls had started recording their own music. Getting closer to that 10,000 hour mark faster and faster.
[caption id="attachment_1335" align="alignright" width="246"]
[caption id="attachment_1336" align="alignright" width="246"]
[caption id="attachment_1337" align="alignright" width="246"]
[caption id="attachment_1338" align="alignright" width="246"]
So now, as 2014 comes to an end, Kathryn is 19, Annika 18, Fiona 17, and Petra 14. (Remember estimated 10 years to master a craft.) Each girl has quite the resume of instruments under their belt. Kathryn plays cello, Moog bass pedals, and Mandolin. Annika does lead vocals as well as plays violin, synth, and Banjo. Fiona shares lead vocals with her sister while playing guitar, violin and percussions. Finally there’s Petra, an amazingly impressive young lady. Playing percussions, keyboards, and lap steel guitar. I MEAN WHAT 14 YEAR OLD IS UP ON STAGE KILLING IT WITH A LAP STEEL GUITAR? It’s amazing.
Having already released two different records, and working on a third, they clearly have a writing process down, and trust me it works. I saw a show of theirs just last week and it blew me away. Their ability to blend different styles of music to create something of their own leaves you in awe. A true mix of classical, folk, pop, and indie that is just one of a kind. You can also see the huge amount of growth they’ve had over the years. Before each song they would introduce it as either old or new. While the old stuff is fantastic, I listen to it all the time, I am extremely excited about their new stuff. Its seems like they are working toward an edgier sound and have a much more creative way of adding in their impressive string skills. To add on to their mind blowing ability to play instruments, is their vocals. I would pay to just see them sing for 2 hours. Fiona and Annika both deliver powerful performances as lead vocalists. Yet, nothing is more gorgeous than the three part harmonies between Fiona, Annika, and Petra. In fear of making them sound too good, I still must talk about their stage presence. Taking a role as the front ladies, at least of the show I was at, were Annika and Fiona. Both charming, funny, and sarcastic, they had your attention throughout each song and each break; true entertainers.
There are a few other unique things about this band that I’d like to mention before wrapping up. First is their covers. There are two types of ways to cover a song. One is play it back the same way as the original. While this can be impressive it’s sometimes boring. The other is the way Von Grey does it. Taking songs and making them your own. Putting their own twist and style into each song they cover. Trust me it’s so damn entertaining. The second thing I want to discuss is how they went about funding their new record. Using a website called loudfund.com, they allowed people to donate toward or even purchase royalty of their upcoming album. An interesting way to let their fans be a part of the music. Finally I want to mention the way these girls push the envelope. They can crush a stage performance and have you jaw dropped but why stop there. At the beginning of the new year, Von Grey is performing with the Kennesaw State University Orchestra, AN ORCHESTRA!?! How many bands do you know putting together a full orchestra version of their show? For this band its the perfect way to highlight what they do so well, as well as showcase just how close they are to being masters of their craft.
At the beginning of this blog I poked at the idea of this band having the ability to become something huge. Playing around with the comparison of them to the Beatles. Though almost impossible to reach that level of success, talent and creativity will not be what stands in their way. Von Grey has the ability to appeal to the vast majority of music lovers. A style of their own that I believe can be appreciated by the pop craved tweens, all the way to the stubborn rock heads still holding on to their Woodstock days. Mostly though, a perfect band for the indie-alt rock fans looking for something different, and a group that can deliver. If Malcolm Gladwell ever need more research into his 10,000 hours theory, look no further than Von Grey. Be on the lookout for these girls. Don’t regret not seeing them when they are in your city. You will want to be able to say, “I saw Von Grey way before they were the mega super stars.” And trust me, it’s going to happen.