Music We Love: "Be Still" by Young and Brave

A true labor of love, Young and Brave’s “Be Still” is being released concurrent with a show at Dan’s Silverleaf tonight. The album is five years in the making and while the band itself has experienced changes in both their output, lineup, and the available venues in town, their words still ring true to them as a group. 

Young and Brave is the brainchild of Sarah Lynn Fisher and Matt Shasteen, former high school bandmates. Jon McKnight joined, and the group started to hone what Fisher calls a “Fleetwood Mac kind of vibe.” The trio played the city circuit in the late 2000s, and are proud and happy to have been able to play J&J’s Old Dirty Basement, Rubber Gloves, and The Schoolhouse in their heyday. They also performed in 35 Denton, did a set as the E-Street Band one Halloween, and have a song featured in a Planned Parenthood North Texas video. They then took time off in 2012, and drummer Ramon Muzquiz and bassist Pablo Burrull formed Pageantry. At a time when all members’ personal and musical lives synced well, the group was able to come together to finish recording and release “Be Still.” 

The album is just as storied as their own career. Each track looks at the human condition and how it can add to deep relationships—or be a detriment to them. 

The first song on the album, “Choose Your Own Adventure,” is a poppy-Americana ballad that takes you through indecision and fear of the unknown toward an all-encompassing embrace of what will come with taking action. Its harried pace throughout perfectly captures both the anxiety and excitement of choosing one’s path so decidedly.

The title track features the harmonious vocals of McKnight, Fisher, and Muzquiz, and an 11-second heartbeat-like drum solo that will give you goosebumps. There is a focus on finding the present happiness and genuineness of relationships, giving it a hopeful yet presently-despondent feel. A powerful garage rock aesthetic drives the middle of the song, resolving into realization with the trio of vocals once again. 

“West Virginia” is one of my favorites off the album. It looks at a couple in a coal mining town, whose rushed love has led to infidelity, and the desire and inability to let go of a familiar love. Fisher’s lyrics mirror the faded love with the broken clock and dead sugar maple tree, and their hard, broken hearts with the coal that still has the chance to be something more. 

These songs take an in-depth look at the darkness and its vastness in our relationships, but some light is found in the refrain of the last song, “Everything Right (Has Only Begun),” reminding listeners that suffering is a learning experience that should be forgiven—especially if it’s self-inflicted. 

But you say to let go
You say to be smart
And stop telling myself
that pain is my art
And get it out of my head
Oh that it's all been said and done
Because everything right
has only begun

The release show begins at 8 p.m. at Dan’s Silverleaf. Admission is $5 and includes a CD copy of “Be Still.” Mother Tongues opens the show, with Wesley Jensen headlining.

Header image design by Brittany Keeton