Phoebe Cryar says the members of The Vespers have a common goal.
"We've always said we want to be parked outside the Ryman in a tour bus — sold out for two nights in a row," says Cryar. "That's just been a crazy dream that we've wanted."
She says the group isn't looking for major fame and fortune, just enough to become a successful act and support their future families. But the quartet, made up of sisters Phoebe and Callie Cryar and brothers Bruno and Taylor Jones, might do better than that. Over the past three years the Nashville-based group has amassed a solid following mostly from friends turning on other friends to the act, and the band's second album, "The Fourth Wall," has earned excellent reviews.
"It's been pretty crazy," says Phoebe. "I never would've imagined that I would've been here in my teen years. Things have really started to pick up lately. The ball's been rolling really, really well and things are starting to pay off. It's been rewarding in a very healthy way just to see how everything is panning out. It's really cool. Now is a good time to do this because we're all really young. None of us are married or anything like that."
At 20, Phoebe is the youngest of the group and, at 23, Taylor is the oldest.
Musically, the group fits into that same loose category that Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show fall into — young artists writing original material with a nod toward old-time string band instrumentation and style.
It probably should be no surprise considering the what Phoebe cites as the first music that had a deep impact on her.
"I was probably 11 or 12," says Phoebe. "I remember having the 'O Brother Where Art Thou?' soundtrack and the soundtrack to that French movie 'Amelie' and then the first Eisley record. I remember how different they were and how much I loved them."
Put all three of those albums together and you might come up with the Vespers — although all of the members have their own influences.
Phoebe, who contributes to most of the band's songs, began writing in her mid-teens. The band's first single, "Not So Nice," was one of the first songs Phoebe completed just as she turned 16.
She and Callie both learned a variety of instruments and began performing as a duo.
The two met Bruno and Taylor Jones at a party hosted by some mutual friends. The gathering turned into a campfire jam. Both sets of siblings were impressed by the other, and the Cryars and the Joneses later attended each other's musical shows and decided to try playing together.
Phoebe says working together has taken some getting used to.
"We've been together for three years and it's taken every little bit of that time," she says. "There's more to it than just playing music together. You've got to get to know people and it took a long time for us to get to know them. That comes from traveling with somebody and being there for them when they're going through really hard times. It's been a long hard journey, but I think we've reached a truly sweet point in our friendships and our musical relationships."
Of course, sibling groups don't have the best record for harmony. From the Everly Brothers to the Black Crowes and Oasis, popular sibling acts are known to be volatile.
"You might get that impression from us," says Phoebe. "We certainly do fight. We're two sets of siblings. But we still love each other. Actually, that kind of brings us together. There's a loyalty there that makes you more likely to speak your mind and be honest, which sometimes causes problems, but not insurmountable. You're not going to throw your sister under the bus!"
Even though she enjoys it, Phoebe says touring can get old, though it has made her appreciate being home more.
And while she doesn't foresee ever leaving The Vespers, she says might like to explore other musical projects as well, including an album of original worship songs.
"I'd like to spread my roots a little deeper."
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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