The song title sounds like an exhortation and there is a strong quality of that audible throughout the entirety of the track. The Deer’s Cry’s “Rise With the Dawn” doesn’t resort to chest-beating theatrics to invoke some kind of call to arms but, instead, they adopt a more nuanced approach to the song that nonetheless captures the listener’s spirit. It is surprising to consider this is a single from the band’s debut release – there’s a level of polish present in this track that sounds much more seasoned and experienced. There’s sure-handed confidence you can hear throughout the entirety of the tune; they never place a foot wrong musically, lyrically, or vocally.
I am sure they stand out in the crowded Nashville music scene. The quartet configuration the band has is open-ended in the sense that The Deer’s Cry makes frequent use of guest contributors. This song is no exception. Guitarist, flutist and whistle player Joseph Carmichael’s work has a substantial effect on the song’s quality and there are excellent vocal harmonies joining Karen Ballew’s lead vocal courtesy of Cierra Brannies and Heather Carmichael. Joseph Campbell contributes to the musical arrangement as well.
The message of the song resonates with me. The song’s speaker hasn’t arrived at a new dawn yet but holds onto hope that it is right around the corner despite the challenges they continue facing. Ballew’s lyric writing has an unerring instinct for using just the right word and avoids overwriting; the same withering focus present in the musical arrangement bleeds over into the words as well. Any feeling and thinking adult can relate to this material.
The primary instrument coming through is Carmichael’s guitar and he has a deft hand for incorporating colorful lines around Ballew’s vocal without ever diverting attention from her voice. There are other instruments present in the mix as well but producer Ren Renfree does a five star job of tying these various strands together into a satisfying and coherent musical thread. If this first single is any indication of what we can expect, the rest of the full length Rise With the Dawn announces that a major new band with traditional music influences has landed on the scene.
The Deer's Cry | Rise With The Dawn