Miles Landry, Morgan Bierlein, Colin Colby, and Justin Filor are the members of local band River Hymn, which frequents the venues Lucy’s and the Triple Crown here in San Marcos. Their sound is essentially jazz influenced, with a touch of rock and the gospel sound their name implies.
“We started playing in June of last year,” Colin Colby told Newstreamz. “Morgan and I had been playing together a lot before that in Fort Worth, and then she moved down here, then I did. We met Miles and Daniel, who was our original bassist.”
“It was probably about three or four months ago that our sound started to change a little bit,” Colin said. “Daniel had other things going on so he left the band and we got Justin.
River Hymn’s first album came out around August of last year, but they consider the one they are about to release more definitive. “This is our second album but really our first because we changed our sound a lot after the first record,” explained Colin. “We realized what we liked and didn’t like about it. This one will be released at Oxblood on October 31.”
Both vocalist Morgan Bierlein and guitarist Colin Colby hale from the Dallas/Forth Worth area. Miles Landry, the drummer for River Hymn, is originally from Houston. “I met Morgan when she moved here about two years ago,” said Landry. “We were friends for about a year. Then one night when they were playing, and she asked me if I wanted to step in. We started rehearsing after that and everything went really well.”
“We were practicing in our friends cluttered, no air-conditioning garage shed,” Morgan interjected.
“I really started singing jazz professionally when I was about 13 or 14,” Morgan explained. “I would say Billie Holiday was my first main influence. As I started writing my own singer-songwriter kind of stuff on the piano, Jeff Buckley was a huge influence.”
“I grew up traveling and singing with my mom, like on Opry circuits around Texas. We were a mother-daughter country duo,” laughed Morgan.
“I started playing when I was in the fifth grade,” commented Colin. “I went from trombone, to bass, to guitar, to piano. I think my favorite guitar player, ever, is John Frusciante from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I’m a huge Mars Volta fan, I also like Radiohead, At the Drive-In, and Fugazi. I’m a rocker.”
“I started playing about half a year before I moved here,” Miles said. “I’m completely self-taught, I just really like music. I like the drummers John Theodore and Trey Sullivan. As far as musically, I like Cinematic Orchestra”
River Hymn is a very active band. “We all want to tour really, really bad,” said Morgan. “That’s the next step; to start out playing a lot in Austin this year and the next and hopefully next summer organizing a month or two of straight touring, promoting the band, and writing.”
“I guess the main goal for me in this band,” added Miles, “is to make a living doing something creative, something I enjoy. Any message that I would want to send someone coming to see our show, would be conveyed by our show.”
“The whole point of playing a live show is to connect with people,” said Colin. “I’m constantly looking for people in the audience when I’m playing that I can connect with, that’s why I write music and that’s why I love to play it.”
“We really love playing Triple Crown. Everybody that works there is great and it’s a really cool spot, very intimate,” Colin Continued, “but I can’t say that that is the only place. I really like playing at Lucy’s also.”
The next chance to see River Hymn will be at the Oxblood Festival on Halloween. Newstreamz will be covering the event, and it’s sure to be a great show. For more information on River Hymn go to www.myspace.com/riverhymn.
by Sarah Stevens