Bethesda is the name of the sacred place in ancient times where people would flock in hopes of experiencing the healing power of the waters said to reside in the pools there.
Bethesda, the band from Kent, Ohio, also delivers an experience through consciously crafted songs, stirring live shows and the desire to create a community from the new believers that they meet.
Bethesda uses songs infused with uplifting messages, and on new album The Reunion, they drew inspiration from family and friends. "We wanted to focus on what we do well: embrace our storytelling side", says founding member and guitarist/vocalist Eric Ling. "This is the most thematic of our releases. The concept of reunion ties these songs together." Eric describes the challenge to compose a song at the request of his grandfather. "It was hard - nothing I wrote captured the richness of his life. Then he died... I had a breakthrough while at his funeral, meeting all these people from his past, men he had worked with in the coal mine - it was a reunion around his life. It made me think of a Civil War story, how widows went to the battlefields to search for the belongings of their lost husbands, sons, brothers. It was believed that if the articles were found, theyd be able to move on. Seeing my Grandfathers history on that day helped me find the words."
The Reunions ten tracks feature Shanna Delaneys crystal clear vocals joined with Eric Lings warm vocal harmonies, energetic guitar and banjo by Jesse Scaggs, richly interwoven fiddle from Christopher Black, knee-slapping rhythms from Justin Rife on drums and Dan Corby laying down the bottom on bass which, as an ensemble, crescendo into a indie-approved, Americana hipster-hootenanny. Bethesda traveled to Denver, Colorado to work with Tim Gerak at Mammoth Cave Studios, tapping into the local folk scene. "This album is an evolution for us - I feel we captured the energy of the live shows in a whole new way on this release. We want an album for our fans to re-experience seeing us in concert." describes Eric.
The six-piece band is led by Eric & Shanna, who met while studying at Kent State. "Our first date was a road trip to Cleveland for a Badly Drawn Boy concert. We got completely lost, missed the show and ended up at Ruby Tuesdays for dinner .. and she still wanted to see me after that!" remembers Eric. They did have to work out their musical differences - Shanna was in music theater, with roots in bluegrass music; Eric was into angsty singer-songwriters including Elliot Smith and Bright Eyes. "I gave up my desire to be dissonant, she started to open up to a more indie approach." remembers Eric.
It was in the healing waters of the Caribbean that they further committed to making beautiful music together. "I remember talking with Eric while we were swimming one day on our honeymoon, telling him that playing music needed to always be a part of my life." said Shanna. "Eric promised we would figure out a way for us to always be making music."
When they met Justin and bassist Dan Corby at a progressive, artsy community church, a casual collaboration soon turned out to be an epiphany, and they became a real band. As Bethesda grew, Jesse Scaggs was added for an even bigger dynamic with melodic electric guitar, and violinist and keyboardist Christopher Black joined to enhance a more traditional folk flavor.
Bethesda has released a debut full length album Love In The Time Of Tra La La (2010), and the EP Dream Tiger And Other Tails (2012). Theyre a prolific live band, having played Bonnaroo, South x Southwest and The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame festivals in 2012 along with dozens of other gigs. "Bethesda is all about building relationships to connect with our audience," says Eric. "We dont have to come up with schtick - we strive to be honest and original." In the tradition of their name, Bethesda will move you in many ways, brightly immersing their listeners in authentic, high-spirited good times.