For members of the Vineyard, music is in the blood. Sibling songwriter duo and Jonesboro natives, Andrew Pierce (guitar and vocals) and Amber Pierce (vocals) can trace their musical heritage back to the 1800's with pictures of their ancestors holding instruments.
Music was seen as an event in their home, "Our dad would pile us in the truck and turn up the music," says Andrew. It seems fitting then that their band name was chosen because Amber was looking for a plant that leaves its roots and continuously spreads. For the members of the Vineyard, this beautifully describes the role music has played in their lives.
Originally a sibling duo, The Vineyard has had a variety of different lineups throughout the years. Even their sound has undergone a metamorphosis moving from more rock and blues influences to its heartfelt singer-songwriter/American sound today. Amber and Andrew, as founding members, have experienced the ups and downs that seem to walk hand in hand with those changes, even enduring the loss of an original band member that caused them to take a step back from music for a time. Therefore it can only be seen as serendipitous that when Amber met Sean Cargile at Gordon College, both studying music performance, The Vineyard finally secured its' third official member.
Sean, from Monticello, got his start on bass guitar when he spontaneously took up the instrument to join a band in high school. A natural at the instrument, he fondly remembers his father beating out the drum parts on his chest. Sean contributes more music theory and even composes on his computer. "Every chord wants to go somewhere and there are multiple places it could go."
With its fresh start and new member, The Vineyard felt free to move forward with their first performance at a New Year’s Bash in 2009. A gig they laugh about now, Amber remembers, "They kept asking me to call out about a red car after every song." Shortly after, they played their first show at Smith's Olde Bar. “We always feel very at home at Smith's Olde Bar," says Amber. Perhaps their favorite gig was the second Big Bird Bash, "I was very proud of that performance because we had had a lot of setbacks with other people in our band who just didn't care about it as much as we did. It had all of our spirits down. We worked really hard."
The Vineyard brings a sea of individual influences to the plate. Amber names Patsy Cline, musical theater and Johnny Cash. On the other end, Sean loves Red Hot Chili Peppers, Led Zeppelin, and Mars Volta. Andrew has respect for singer-songwriters such as Buck Owens, George Strait, and John Prine.
Their writing styles and inspirations tend to be as varied as their influences. When asked what his main inspiration was for writing, Andrew jokes, "Being young and wild and crazy!" Amber's response is a bit more serious exploring topics such as homelessness and domestic violence, but she proclaims, "I always try to end each song with a resolution or some kind of lesson learned. I think it's very important to not develop a victim mentality."
Each member seems to share a common sense of intuitiveness when it comes to their writing styles, "There are times where I have sat down at the piano and I feel like I am being moved 'cause I don't know how I find the right chords," remarks Amber. This same faith in music is what seems to open the audience to the meaning of each song, whether it is their feel good "Beach" or the heart-wrenchingly beautiful, "Letting Go," that tells the story of a family's financial struggles. It is no surprise to the listener that, as Sean states and the Vineyard believes, "Songs are very powerful."
The Vineyard loves sharing these songs with the city of Macon. As Amber rejoices, "I do feel like we are a part of a movement to help restore Macon. Once we got our foot in the door here, it has just taken off, and we've been very accepted and embraced." In addition to their self-recorded album with Love Sic Recordings, Sean's new recording studio, they also lend their voices and opinions to "Never Decaf Radio," a talk show they produce via pod cast. Check out episodes here: neverdecafradio.com/episodes
They hope to complete their untitled album shortly, tour the Southeast, and shop their record to country labels. Whether or not they perform their songs, they still hope to continue doing music and have an interest in writing for others as well. No matter which way the Vineyard twists and turns, they continue to pay homage to their firm musical roots and to the city of Macon for helping them on the way.
TASTE OF MUSIC
Which local restaurant is your first stop when you're in town?
Andrew: Nu-Way Weiner
Amber: Lemongrass and Dolce Vita
Sean: The Rookery, nothing like a good burger and a beer.
What do you eat while you write songs?
Andrew: My pen
Amber: I love Andrew's answer to this
question, so true!
Sean: Hmmm…I don’t ever think I’ve eaten while working on a song.
What is your favorite cooking or food sound?
Andrew: Sound of fire from the grill
Amber: I love the sound of a campfire cracklin' when I am roasting marshmallows or hot dogs!
Sean: Sizzling Fajitas
Favorite late night snack?
Andrew: Milk shakes
Sean: Oreos or Thin Mints and milk…and I don’t even really like sweets.
What's your drink?
Andrew: Sweet tea
Amber: Sweetwater Blue or PBR
Sean: Bloody Mary. Especially the Bloody Mary bar at Dolce Vita for Sunday brunch.
Andrew: Peach cobbler
Amber: Peanut butter/chocolate anything
Sean: I don't usually get dessert but I guess it would be cheese cake.
Andrew: Long Island Iced Tea
Amber: My mother's recipe for meat loaf
Sean: Anything my Mom makes!
What is your comfort food?
Andrew: Milk shakes
Sean: Anything my mom makes! Although I don't think I really use food for comfort.
If you could eat dinner with three other musicians, living or dead, who would they be?
Andrew: Amber, Sean, Louise Warren
Amber: Loretta Lynn, Janis Joplin, and Edith Piaf
Sean: Only 3!? George Harrison John Frusciante and Omar Rodriguez Lopez
Where would you take them out to eat?
Andrew: My place on the grill
Amber: I would take them to a Moroccan Restaurant complete with hookah bar and belly dancers. I can only see us in an exotic setting, sitting barefoot on top of red oriental rugs.
Sean: I'd take them to Lemongrass for sushi and beer.
If you were to write a song about food, what would you write about?
Amber: The fondue from Dante’s Down The Hatch
Sean: Steak and how awesome it is!