Rivers, Wide Eyes

Published on July 31st, 2015

Rivers, Wide Eyes

Rivers

Rivers

“The challenge of writing a full record that’s meaningful and consistent from start to finish is attractive to me,” says Rivers’ singer and guitarist Danny Brunjes. Last summer, Brunjes and Rivers took the bizarre first step of releasing a debut EP and performing their first live gig on the same day at Lake Worth’s Propaganda. A ballsy, if not somewhat unnerving first salvo for any band, regardless of experience or innate charisma. And while they haven’t won any beauty contests or appeared on primetime TV since, the Palm Beach quartet finds itself, a year later, releasing another album. It stands to reason that the steady rise in local support has its roots in his old outfit, Under Every Green Tree, a folksy and slightly more alt-country incarnation that stood as his solo platform with numerous locals assisting live.

ariverstaking“When we recorded our self-titled EP last March, all of those songs were written relatively quickly.  They were the first five songs we ever wrote together so there was a bit of navigating and figuring things out.” The band, now a full year old, has an infectious indie rock racket that is equal parts jangle rock and poppy surf imbued with the whispering nostalgia of dying summer days. The rhythm section of Jon Wagner and Brent Ray have gelled well with newer member, guitarist and backup singer Eric Blythe.


“Wide Eyes’ video inspired by A Trip to the Moon and Middle School plays created by Ates Isildak of StrangeWave Productions for Rivers

Brunjes is a talented singer and songwriter, and a bit of an enfant terrible who made waves locally with UEGT before vanishing somewhat from local stages. With Rivers, there’s a renewed focus and a musical maturity that has formed under the auspices of a muse that is more in line with classical poesy than with rock and roll. Marriage has done Brunjes some good and this past spring’s single “Wide Eyes” was inspired by her. While musical maturity might inform some depth of restraint, the opposite seems true for Rivers. It is with unhinged gusto that their songs become memorable and catchy.

8.28 at Respectable Street

8.28 at Respectable Street

“With the new material, we’ve felt a lot more comfortable with each other musically,” says Brunjes of the upcoming effort. “I think because of that, the songs have matured and we’ve been able to try some different things. I think the song dynamics are really interesting and you’re going to get a little bit of everything. The songs are in a way vastly different from one another, but they all find a home together quite nicely.” A boon to their sound has been the juxtaposing of simple melodies with the individual, technical aspects of the band members.

Maybe this freedom has come after that first blind step a year ago. Whatever continues to propel this rising quad and fuels their sweet and earnest recordings, is best left alone – the formula is working and if they trust each other enough to embark in whatever direction the music world takes them, the end result will be worth it. “We all live in or near downtown West Palm and we’ve all grown to seriously love it.  We take pride in our little city and the community that we have here is second to none,” says Brunjes of West Palm’s influence on their sound. “In most of the ways I create things, the people in my life influence me more than other songs or anything else does. The slow pace of life and the beautiful town we call home has a special place right in the heart of Rivers.”

Their EP release party will be at Respectable Street on 8/28 with Kids and Peyote Coyote.  Doors at 8, $10 at door, includes new EP. RSVP

~ Abel Folgar

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