• René Cobar

Music for the Brave and the Bold: Desert Medicine Is Real.

Strings of resilience and threads of belief weaved into a sonic blanket, covered the walls of Dozen Street in East Austin, and then gracefully unraveled: melancholic chords, and leads, pulsing basslines, subtle touches, melodic riffs, and pretty vocals healed the weary spirits of men and women putting the work week behind them. A year-long road toward existence culminated in revealing Desert Medicine, the group you had been waiting to hear.

On an unusually warm February evening, I had the privilege to watch Desert Medicine perform inside the fun and eclectic bar that witnessed a local band enjoying the fruits of their labor. By scattering delicate fibers of music that caressed the ears of the audience, these authentic musicians became the perfect prescription for a much-needed Friday wind down.

Thom Blain heals the audience. Photo by Angel Cobar.

For Natalie Yoder (keys/vocals), Thom Blain (rhythm guitar), Timothy Yoder (lead guitar), Nicholas Navarro (drums), and Brandon Fawks (bass) the road to their self-titled EP—released February 1st—has been anything but simple, yet you wouldn’t know it from the music whose serene sounds inspire anything but turmoil. Their first record, however, was indeed tricky and filled with doubts, breakups and more. The band persevered, and thanks to their talent and the great engineering and mixing of Trent Langley of Homeward Sound Studio the reward is more than what any of them expected.

“When you don’t have anything released you don’t really exist,” is what Thom told me about the importance of this record which he believes will yield more opportunities for the band who are already booked at Dozen Street again for SXSW. The group is empowered and thrilled to see the reflection of their sacrifice in a record that mirrors all that the quintet believes in, and shows them what is yet to come.

Brandon and Natalie shine brightly. Photo by Angel Cobar.

The experimental group is right to believe in good things as they have great admiration and respect for the music they create and desire nothing more than to share it with others, which is a winning formula. "We are very niche, but we love it and will keep going, ” said Thom while Brandon followed up with ”You can release something, and no one may listen to it but perhaps one or two people will and it will resonate with them, it's what we want.”

”The bands I listen to, for me, are so important even if nobody has heard of them. If I could be that for someone else that is all I want, ” said Natalie with a conviction for what the group has created and now released onto the music melting pot that is Austin. For what it's worth their elegant musical style and great respect for each other has made a fan out of me. I see a group who knew from the start what type of people they wanted in it and who seem to constantly lean on each other, persevering, for the sake of something they all believe in: a sound and company that enriches all of them. ”We started this to meet like-minded musicians, and now we have, we hope the music reflects it, ” said Timothy with ease.

Nicholas and Timothy let the music speak. Photo by Angel Cobar.

In songs like "Garnet" and "Inside" written by Natalie and Thom respectively you find a harmonious balance of melodies and rhythms, a serenity that demands contemplation from the listener, and eventually moves the same to the most still parts of its mind, to remain there, at peace. Each song has boldness in its tranquil feel because those who play it dare to be different and even relish it. With every pluck of a string, hit of the snare, and crooning of a lyric they weave the next chapter of the adventure, with daring emotion, with impeccable finesse.

Listen to Desert Medicine on Spotify now!

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