Introducing: The Gray Havens

The Gray Havens have been making music together as a husband and wife acoustic duo since 2013, releasing one EP and two albums in this time. Hailing from Illinois in the United States their work has been praised nationwide and is garnering increasing recognition across the seas.

Although The Gray Havens are billed as a folk duo, the use of the word ‘duo’ can be applied very loosely. Whilst the pair are the primary leaders of the project, they are joined periodically by musicians across the country on their tours. Their albums are some of the most vibrant and grandiose collections that we have ever had the pleasure of listening to. The duo are always clearly at the forefront of the music but at all times in their music it sounds as though they have a monster orchestra sat playing behind them. This creates a wondrous blend of music that is simultaneously raucous and classical in nature. This creates an amazing collection of songs that are totally immersive, enveloping you and transporting you through their deep poetic songs like the turning pages in a story.

The Gray Havens albums feel as though that have been picked apart time and again at every twist and turn, leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that each and every element in their songs are totally perfect and without compromise. They surround themselves with what can only be described as a maelstrom of music and they stand at the epicentre with you at their sides as you watch the world swirling around you. Like watching ships swirling in the vortex, there is something that is completely arresting and transfixing about their music. This goes hand in hand with the wonderfully nautical theme that seems to ebb and flow through their music like the tide. Songs such as Silver are wonderful nautical tales from the sea that sing of victories and crashing waves. Listen carefully and you might even hear the creaking of the ships hull in the odd song.

Their music is simply the beginning of their immeasurable talent however with the lead vocals being provided by David Radford – a man with one of the most versatile and vibrant voices we’ve heard in years. Rich, smooth and warming, Radford’s vocals are strong and animated, bursting forth with a wonder and energy that brings his stories to life with a flourish. Add this to their bubbly, vivacious and you have a winning combination to make the heart of any man soar. Backing him up is the equally stunning vocal work of Licia Radford and when you first hear the harmonies that they are able to produce together you will understand how it is that they are married. Everything about their performances is a natural flow, like they were always meant to be together making this music.

The Gray Havens are a pair of the most lively musicians you are likely to meet on the folk circuit today with a tremendous collection of songs that are grandiose, uplifting and even soothing by turn. These are the kind of songs that you simply cannot listen to without getting a spring in your step. Their EP is currently available on Bandcamp for a ‘name your price’ option meaning that you can introduce yourselves to their work for mere pennies. So what are you waiting for?

Shadows of the Dawn – The Gray Havens (Live Acoustic)

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Review by Joe Knipe

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