One of the first bands I truly felt like I discovered after becoming CL’s Music Editor was The Grecian Urns
. The Pinellas area ensemble crafted a particularly bright, exuberant and instrumentally lush brand of folk pop that tugged the heartstrings and brought an instant smile to the face.
You’d never think their rather impressive debut LOVEDREAM
(available now for free download on Noisetrade.com
) was recorded in a living room, the 10 tunes written by musicians who played and recorded together over the summers and the odd holiday breaks, when all members were home from school and able to coordinate. The multi-voice boy-girl harmonies sounded like joyful chorales, the sparkling piano melodies were adorned with brass and strings, the toe-tapping rhythms were boosted with percussion, whistling and hand-claps, and lyrical passages about friendship, family and the band’s Florida home evoked youthful sun-drenched nostalgia. The Grecian Urns parted ways in 2011 because according to lead Urn Bryce McGuire, “everyone was pursuing really unique careers.” Currently, he says, “I'm in LA doing film stuff. My brother, Brandon, is making a documentary. LB and Trevor are in nursing. Jared is an English teacher. And Katherine is one of the finest bakers this side of the Republic of Zubrowka.”
Conversations about reuniting have come up numerous times over the past few years. “Finally, we got tired of talking about it and decided to pull the trigger. I miss playing music with The Urns all the time. It's like a family reunion whenever we're jamming together.” And Green Bench provides the perfect reunion backdrop. “Good vibes. Great beer. And plenty of room to spread out and dance. I'm looking forward to some gang-vocal-love-jams. Singing those big harmony parts with that many people is an almost spiritual experience.”
They’ll be playing all the old favorites but McGuire says, “There are going to be some fun surprises as well.” They'll also revive the BYOP tradition. “Anyone who's seen us play knows we like to do this jam at the end where other musicians play with us. This show is an open invitation. Anyone who ‘Brings Your Own Percussion’ is invited to join us on stage. I'm talking pots, pans, spoons, rice in a bottle. Get creative and get your asses up there!”
A Grecian Urns show is a truly special experience. These are musicians who charm and captivate with seeming ease – make you wanna dance like Muhammad Ali (“Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee”). And while McGuire is hopeful about another reunion one day – “I'd love to be like the Backstreet Boys who cried wolf. Keeping coming back for more.” – he insists they have no definite plans. So, do you really want to chance missing out on this? Trust me – you don’t.
The Grecian Urns Reunion with Alexander & The Grapes, The Happiness Machine, Sat., May 31, 7:30 p.m., Green Bench Brewing, St. Petersburg, free admission.
Videos for three Grecian Urns tracks, circa 2010 below.