• René Cobar

Flying Together: The Lovely Sparrows, Music, and Adaptation.

Here in Austin, TX we surely are spoiled for live music choices; the city lives up to its moniker indeed. Over the last couple of weeks, I have spent time combing through e-mails of artists looking to get coverage from another music publication I am currently involved in (more on that in a later post) and it dawned on me the number of times Austin is listed in tour schedules from rising stars all over the country and beyond. This is a major artery of musical traffic, blissfully saturated with talent, which makes local groups like The Lovely Sparrows just one of the many in the fray but they shouldn't be.

Two weeks ago to the day, I was enjoying the festivities of the Side One Track One vs. Austin Town Hall event with my brother when I found myself inside The Volstead Lounge for the first time and listening to a group with a musical finesse that stood out and made you listen. The combination of jazz, electric pop, and indie-folk that The Lovely Sparrows blended so skillfully was precisely what was called for at the moment, a few hours into the showcase, a couple of drinks in, with the vintage feel of the lounge surrounding, and a pleasant breeze creeping in from the front door—a memorable listening experience unfolded.

Shawn Jones leads the way. Photo by Angel Cobar.

It was no surprise to me once I caught up with Shawn Jones (guitar/vocals) and Lauren Gould (sax/flute/vocals) that both of them are highly trained and skilled musicians who have dedicated their lives to the craft, teaching it at different levels for the better part of the last fifteen years. With the help of Gray Parsons (drums and percussion), Lindsay Greene (bass), and Danny Piccuirro (synth), they spread their musical wings with splendor and showed their love for music that afternoon inside the lounge.

Lauren Gould plays some smooth sax. Photo by Angel Cobar.

"We aim to find where we fit in the musical landscape of today," said Shawn about the group who is always observing the changes around them and within themselves both as musicians and as people. With so much live music in Austin and so many groups jockeying for a moment in the sun, it can be challenging to find a place. The music scholars, however, seem to understand the process and respect it.

"I feel the more I learn about music, the expression changes, it's cool that we have evolved together, but yes the soundscape is denser," said Lauren who also touched upon the different scenes in Austin and the importance of keeping live music accessible to those who wish to listen. Lauren makes a good point as it appears that while places like Austin won't have an issue anytime soon, other areas are getting less live music per year.

Danny Piccuirro is electric. Photo by Angel Cobar.

I do not doubt that Shawn and Lauren will continue to adapt and keep their eyes firmly on their trajectory; they are born musicians. For all the changes that the industry brings and all the saturation, there are always those who had truly dedicated their lives to the craft long before the word "industry" was part of their vocabulary, for them the waters can be calm or turbulent, but they will swim all the same.

Listen to The Lovely Sparrows here.

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