One of the most amazing things about music is how beautiful harmonies can elevate a great song to an exceptional one. When it comes to harmonies, you won't hear better than those from the American band Athens Creek. They are based in South-East Michigan, although they tour widely, and so have fans from far further afield.
Their musical style spans the country, folk and rock genres but always with a heavy emphasis on male/female vocal harmonies. Although they began as a cover band, they inject their own personality and sound into every cover, so even if you've heard a song hundreds of times, they make it seem new.
As is common nowadays, Athens Creek has a YouTube channel so fans can see them perform even if the band isn't playing in their area. One video, in particular, has swept the internet. They performed a rendition of The Animals' mega-hit House Of The Rising Sun.
The original is mournful and throbbing with emotion, but Athens Creek takes it to another level. Male vocalist Nate Jones has a gravelly voice that echoes the pain of the lyrics, while Taylor Haring's higher pitch blends beautifully to turn it almost into a choral lament. Oscar Sosa gives them superb backup on guitar.
In a twist, the sadness and regret of the original is redeemed at the end of the video. They break into the classic hymn Amazing Grace with its message of redemption and rebirth. It's a wonderful contrast, and the internet loves it! YouTube viewers have watched this video more than 18 million times with 137,000 likes. The comments have come pouring in and are full of nothing but praise for Athens Creek. One commenter explained why he loves the cover so much:
"In my 76 years, I have heard many renditions of "House of the Rising Sun", but this rendition is quite possibly the best that I have heard, at least in my opinion. Your voices meld together yet remain separate, and blow the roof off the joint! Impeccable lead guitar playing, also!" If you only watch one YouTube video today, make sure it's this one.
So, who are Athens Creek? They were formed in 2014 as a cover band with the three members you see in the video. Nate Jones is a singer-songwriter and guitarist, Taylor Haring is a classically trained vocalist, and Oscar Sosa, a talented guitarist. Oscar left the group a few years later, but Jones and Haring are still going strong.
They tour extensively, but unfortunately for their worldwide fans, it is mostly in the US. They have also released five singles and an EP called The Road Home in 2020. The EP was originally supposed to contain just five songs, but following the success of their Rising Sun / Amazing Grace medley, they decided to add this song too.
Currently, the duo are touring and working on new videos and songs for their fans. Let's hope they soon receive the worldwide recognition they deserve. If you would like to see more from this talented band, subscribe to their YouTube channel or you can follow them on Facebook or Instagram. You can also visit their official website for more information.