The Deer Comes Up Roses
Transcendental Texans serenade the seasons in song premiere
By Kevin Curtin,
10:45AM, Mon. May 23, 2016
Ben Franklin’s adage, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” has little credence for the artist who stays up late and sleeps in later, tempting moonlit moments of inspiration.
“Into the night I’m staying/ It’s getting later, later/ I wake up on the farm / And I get made fun of,” sings Grace Park, the hummingbird-voiced songwriter behind local indie folk herd the Deer, on “Up Into Roses.”
Park lives, works, and creates at Thigh High Gardens, a 28-acre permaculture farm outside of San Marcos. The night owl can be found hooting in her home studio until the wee hours, then – in very un-farmer-like fashion – sleeping into the afternoon. Those nocturnal experiences served as inspiration for “Up Into Roses,” a standout track on the Deer’s new album, Tempest & Rapture.
“Staying awake and waking up hours later than the rest of the household is pretty alienating, and [“Up Into Roses”] discusses the seasonal affection of this broken circadian rhythm,” offers Park. “The farm workers and my husband think it’s real funny when I wake up at 1 or 2pm because I was up until 6am the night before.”
Feeling the tilt of planet Earth, Park spins those lonely feelings into a serenade of the seasons:
“Wintertime tells me lies/ Shows up then passes by/ Before I know it’s rounding summertime/ Enter the rite of spring/ Stripped down to stocking feet/ Tied to a fledgling tree and set alight.”
“Up Into Roses” blooms on the Deer’s brand-new third album, which bassist Jesse Dalton describes as the “soundtrack for doing the dishes after your brother’s and sister’s mass ascension.” Throughout the LP, Park, who fronted contemporary folk trio the Blue Hit before forming the Deer in 2012, sings her calls of the wild with melodic latitude reminiscent of Regina Spektor. Musically, the Austin quintet continues to evolve, fertilizing their earthy folk with elements of chamber music, psychedelic surf, and dream pop.
As spring runs into summer, the Deer will be in the headlights, touring nationally on Tempest & Rapture. On Thursday, they appear at the Kerrville Folk Festival’s mainstage alongside Matt the Electrician and Jimmy LaFave. Locally, their next stop is South Austin hangout Radio Coffee & Beer on June 11, where they’ll welcome a surprise sixth member you won’t want to miss.