von Grey brought its folk-alternative sound to Eddie’s Attic Nov. 13, selling out the venue easily in their hometown of Atlanta. The band, comprised of four classically trained sisters, has steadily been on the rise, scoring appearances on both David Letterman and Conan O’Brien last year, as well as opening for the likes of Sarah McLachlan and Lindsay Stirling.
Wyatt Espalin kicked off the night, charming the audience from the very start of his set, performing songs from his debut album The Pardon. Hailing from Hiawassee, Ga., Espalin’s folk/country/bluegrass sound was interspersed with amusing stories about each song. His fiery fiddle playing was rivaled only by his unique vocals, accompanied by a backing banjo as he joked that “Contest the Will” was definitely not about his own family and reminisced about growing up on the Ocoee River before the gorgeous “Ocoee.” Espalin’s set was over much too soon with “Waterfalls,” and he left the stage to enormous applause.
Then it was on to the highlight of the evening; the von Grey sisters took the stage clad in the signature dark clothes that seem to reflect a certain darkness in their music, picked up their respective instruments and launched into “Keep It Cool,” the opening track from the band’s 2013 EP Awakening. The audience was clearly hooked from that very first song, just sitting back and taking in von Grey’s expansive sound that encompasses folk, alternative and just the right amount of bluegrass, along with stunning harmonies that are like no other. An exquisite cover of Damien Rice’s “Volcano” moved things along before the band returned to its own material, such as “Deliverance” and “All I Know.” Co-lead vocalists Annika and Fiona took turns wowing the crowd with their impressive range, while Petra and Kathryn provided percussion and cello, respectively. The four sisters displayed an amazing sense of musicianship throughout the night, from Annika’s violin and banjo to Fiona’s acoustic guitar and fiddle, Kathryn’s effortless switch from cello to mandolin and Petra’s keys and percussion, producing a sound that is von Grey’s own.
Another cover, this time Nickel Creek’s “When In Rome” was a highlight of the night and “Death” was a more uplifting song than it sounds. Before the song, Fiona joked, “We’re happy people, can’t you tell by our sunny wardrobe?” gesturing to her black clothes. “Reborn,” “Slipping,” and “Katie” came next before the sisters announced that they only had time for one more song, though the crowd was clamoring for more. “This song might be a bit sexist, but it works,” Fiona told the audience before an unexpected cover of Tom Jones’ “She’s a Lady” ended the stellar performance.