Everyone in the band contributes to the songwriting, and the only outside track is influential bluesman Son Houseâ€™s â€œGrinnin In Your Face,â€ but the most prolific writer is Phoebe who contributed to nearly every song, including â€œBetter Nowâ€, the recordâ€™s opening track. â€œI came up with the melody and Bruno pounced on it, writing the bridge that completed the song,â€ she shares. â€œIt was drawn from the biblical story about the man blind from birth who was healed, and no matter how much he implored - they wouldnâ€™t believe it was possible.â€
â€œWe all grew up listening to a little bit of everything, but roots music didnâ€™t come in until more recently,â€ says Bruno. â€œFolk and roots music tend to draw from spiritual themes. We donâ€™t run away from our faith when writing, because that's where our hearts are planted.â€ On â€œLawdy,â€ the song starts out sounding like a swampy old mountain tune before growing into a full-bodied Sunday morning spiritual. â€œWe were originally playing it really fast with drums,â€ says Callie, â€œbut we slowed it down to be more bluesy. I wanted to hear that sound of Johnny Cashâ€™s â€œGodâ€™s Gonna Cut You Down.â€
The Vespers also offer a full share of effervescent pop songs like â€œWill You Love Meâ€ and â€œFlower Flower.â€ Callie and Bruno wrote the latter when he said he needed a â€œsummertime jam.â€ Callie hummed a melody, and the tune quickly sprung up on the banjo, ukulele, drums and bass. â€œMost of our songs come about really organically like that, without planning to write. It just happens and we try to let it flow,â€ says Bruno.
â€œGot No Friendsâ€ is a tip of the hat to the bluegrass genre. â€œWe cut the first half live around one microphone, which was a first for us,â€ says Taylor. â€œThat song was written right after the Nashville flood, and right as I learned to play mandolin after our family business flooded. Our world was really shook up after that May (2010). The flood eventually inspired us to quit our other day jobs, school, and pursue music full time, on a leap of faith.â€
Most of the songs have the energy of a live show because the band polished them on the road, where they also came up with the album title. The fourth wall, in theatre terms, is the invisible wall between the audience and performers. â€œOur music reflects that. We decided to go on tour shortly after we joined forces and we really learned what our band was all about while playing to the people at our early shows. It shaped us and thatâ€™s how we really became â€˜The Vespers.â€™ It's all about connecting with people and breaking down that invisible wall,â€ Says Callie.