Playing transcendental Texas folk, cosmic Americana and stargaze surf-western, The Deer weave psychotropic soundscapes and tranquil, vivid dream-pop. The quintet won Folk Band of the Year at this week’s Austin Music Awards, and nabbed runner-up in the Best Austin Band category.
The Deer will perform at The Palms Playhouse for the first time on Friday, March 9 starting at 8 p.m.
Members include frontwoman Grace Rowland Park, upright bassist Jesse Dalton, guitarist Michael McLeod, drummer Alan Eckert and fiddler and mandolinist Noah Jeffries. Frequent collaborator Roger Sellers contributes to the band’s songwriting and production.
The group grew out of a solo recording project for singer/songwriter Park. It formed its core membership in 2012 under the band name Grace Park & The Deer, and released their first album “An Argument for Observation.” Park’s screen-printed cover art was a finalist for Austin Music Industry Awards’ Best Album Art in 2014.
Galvanized by a natural chemistry on and off the stage, the group began performing and touring together with alternating guests, some of whom ended up becoming permanent members.
When the band suffered the devastating loss of friend and band member Stephanie Bledsoe to a farm accident in 2013, the group rallied under the name The Deer, and collaborated on songs dedicated to her memory for their second release.
“On the Essence of the Indomitable Spirit” (2015) features special guests Dennis Ludiker (Asleep at the Wheel), Roger Sellers (Bayonne), Trevor Smith (Wood & Wire), Karl Kummerle and future member Noah Jeffries (South Austin Jug Band).
With a maturing sound, The Deer were runners-up for the Austin Music Awards’ Best Performing Folk Band in 2015, and began touring more frequently.
The Deer’s 2016 album “Tempest & Rapture” marries their brand of moody Southern Gothic with symphonic psychedelia. The 17-track double LP is split into two stylistic realms, one rooted in muddy folk and surf country and the other wandering far out in a dream-pop and psych-rock wilderness.
Park’s cut-paper artwork jacket design was named to the Austin Music Industry Awards’ Top Five Best Album Art category last year, and were again runners-up for the Austin Music Awards’ Best Folk Band title.
The band tours nationally, and has co-billed with Elephant Revival, Hot Buttered Rum and others. Individual members have worked with Alejandro Escovedo, Peter Rowan, Tony Rice and Tim O’Brien.
The Deer recently received a major grant from Austin music patron organization Black Fret, and are working on their next album in between tour dates.
Tickets for The Deer’s Friday, March 9 show at The Palms Playhouse are $15 and are available online via The Palms’ website and through Eventbrite, as well as at Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters, Armadillo Music in Davis, Davids’ Broken Note in Woodland and at the door if the show is not sold out.
For more information, visit palmsplayhouse.com and thedeermusic.com.