Artist to Watch: Join The Get Ahead's Soulful Family

Vortex Music Magazine

The five-piece have only grown together as they've tackled tough times, documenting their development on their second LP 'Deepest Light.' Out now, don't miss them at Vortex's free, all-ages #PDXmusic showcase at the Bloodworks Live Studio on May 23 with Haley Johnsen or at Eola Hills' Summer Uncorked series on August 10.

Photos by Lindsey RickertPhotos by Lindsey RickertGENRE: Soulful Americana
ESSENTIAL TRACK: “Deepest Light”
FOR FANS OF: Son Little, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Lake Street Dive

Each album by the five-piece outfit The Get Ahead contains an Easter egg.

“Everything I’ve done [since Volcano, their 2015 full-length debut] has a love song for Juliet on it,” says Nathan Earle of his wife and bandmate, Juliet Howard. For their sophomore release, Deepest Light, produced by Raymond Richards at B-Side Studios and released on April 26 via Jullian Records, that song is “Peach Tree.”

It’s an origin story for the couple, written and recorded in secret as a surprise for Howard while she was newly pregnant with their daughter, Freyja, who was born in December 2018. It was an avenue for Earle to honor Howard, who he credits as a driving force for the band.

The Get Ahead and Haley Johnsen will be sharing new music on the Bloodworks Live Studio stage at our free, all-ages happy hour session on May 23! CLICK for more deets and to RSVP!The Get Ahead and Haley Johnsen will be sharing new music on the Bloodworks Live Studio stage at our free, all-ages happy hour session on May 23! CLICK for more deets and to RSVP!“She was in her first trimester still,” Earle recalls. “We had started calling Freyja, before she was born, our little peach. So, Juliet also became the peach tree.”

In a multitude of ways, Deepest Light became an album through which the band would explore the most tender and difficult pieces of their lives. “We tackle some serious emotional themes and play very heartfelt and raw music together,” Earle says.

It is perhaps the composition of the band that allows them to be so vulnerable and find such a unique kismet. In addition to Earle and Howard, the band is comprised of their longtime friend Sean Farrell on bass along with another married couple, Danny Johnson on drums and Angie Johnson providing sax, violin and backing vocals.

“We are very real with one another, for better or for worse,” Howard says. “That type of intimacy allows for a lot of honesty.”

Without that openness, Howard recognizes that certain songs may never have made it to the album. When approaching the song “Break,” which was Howard’s first effort to write about the death of her father at 17, she remembers, “It wasn’t landing right... the band didn’t know what the song was about.” Howard adds that with Earle’s support, she was able to share the song’s subject. “That little bit of insight, me opening up to them, allowed it to flow better. They understood the gravity of it.”

Together, the band would support each other through the artistic expression of many such endeavors to compile Deepest Light. Of the title track, Earle recalls, “The song is written as a letter to a dear friend.” After feeling a chasm of emotional space grow between them, Earle remembers taking a precious opportunity to reconnect during a chance encounter over lunch, which stretched long into the afternoon.

“I called in sick,” he says. Throughout their conversation, Earle struggled to express how much he cared for his friend after being met with resistance. “[They felt] I couldn’t love them because I’d never known them,” Earle tells.

“This song is kind of a rebuttal to that,” he says. “It is an argument that regardless of how much someone close to you chooses to keep hidden from you, this concealment doesn’t mean that that person wasn’t seen and loved... I don’t know if you can ever know someone wholly.”

Left with no phone and no forwarding address, all Earle could do was bring the song into the studio and share it with his bandmates, who held space for him and helped him create this last love letter.

Side by side, The Get Ahead share great loss and great joy, leaning on one another and moving forward thanks to the musical family they’ve nurtured.

MOST RECENT RELEASE: Deepest Light out now

Don't miss The Get Ahead alongside the incredible Haley Johnsen at Vortex and KINK's free, all-ages #PDXmusic showcase at the Bloodworks Live Studio on Thursday, May 23—both will be celebrating new releases! Then get ready for Eola Hills' Summer Uncorked series because The Get Ahead rock the vineyard with Dead Lee (featuring Brian Koch of Blitzen Trapper and Kara Harris) and Haley Johnsen on Saturday, August 10!

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