• René Cobar

For the Good of the World Listen to Munn.

The critical characteristic of all folk heroes is that their deeds, regardless of how big or small, become a part of the collective memory of a people through music. In a little and well-lit corner of Austin, TX, I found six heroes—Munn (a group that channels all that makes communal listening experiences beautiful). The band was playing at the Swan Dive on a Friday night.

The chance pairing of Jeff Munn (acoustic guitar/vocals/banjo/organ) and Alyssa Hicks (vocals/keys) along with the support of their bandmates: Marcus Bennett (bass), Daniel Kapulkin (drums/vocals), Paul Cook (electric guitar/vocals) and Daniella Covarrubias (vocals/percussion) has created a sound that takes you to a place where good triumphs.

Alyssa's vocals are pure paw power. Photo by Angel Cobar.

The music is laced with lyrics about science, animals, and love for all creatures; this evokes an honesty, selflessness, and goodness that is hard to find. These same components led Jeff and Alyssa to discover three years ago Munn's ego-free formula for success: respect for self and all. Their band is championing more than just a good time.

Marcus' sticky bassline in "No, No, No, No" opened their set and from then on the band never looked back, pounding out one tune after another that each echoed through the venue and had the half dozen people in the crowd dancing, kissing, drinking, holding hands, and just enjoying being together. A festive feel swept through the dive bar.

"I want this band to promote good things about the world," Jeff said to me after his set and boy does he mean it. Jeff volunteers for Science in a Suitcase, an organization that partners with non-profits around the world to ignite children's passions for technology, science, and the arts, providing them with the confidence and skills for a better future.

For her part Alyssa works closely with horses and other animals, promoting respect for their environment. The rest of the band work as engineers during the day. The group is filled with individuals changing the world, making it a better place for everyone, and if that doesn't make them folk heroes, I am not sure what will.

Jeff is a man of the people. Photo by Angel Cobar.

You see when bands have honest and clear intentions from the start it reflects in their music, and that is why Munn's story is worth sharing. I expect to see great things from them in the future and can say with certainty that the city of Austin and beyond will be better for it.

"I feel it was our best show," Alyssa said after the gig, commenting that the band has started to hit their stride. The group certainly has captured lightning in a bottle, and they are wasting no time in recording their second album due out this fall—their first album Hydrogen is up on their website for your enjoyment now.

When I asked Jeff about the performance, and what he wants out of this group in the long run, he said to me: "As long as there is love and fun and happiness that is all we can ask for."

Listen to Munn guys; he has a point.

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