RIVER FALLS, Wis. — You wouldn't think many bands that formed just before the pandemic began would be successful. After all, live performances are how many bands get their start. But one Wisconsin trio found success in a place they never anticipated. In fact, they played for some of their biggest audiences without ever seeing a single fan.
"We decided to start writing our own music just right before the pandemic hit, and so we are a relatively new band," Laura Farley, of the band High and Rising, said.
It's an acoustic trio that consists of a stand-up bass, guitar, and drums. They describe themselves as 'groovy grass' incorporating groove, folk, and bluegrass elements into their songs.
With no way to play their original songs in front of crowds, the band turned to the internet.
"We decided to start sharing our music online, and we did the live streams," Laura said.
The band, which consists of Laura's husband Jym and their drummer Ben Rohde, never anticipated the kind of response they would get.
"We saw at least a couple thousand viewers on every live stream that we had. Whereas at a cafe or bar, we'd sometimes play for two people or ten or twelve," Laura said.
Plus they got hundreds of comments, shares, and likes. People were watching. So they continued to do more and more live streams.
Sometimes the stream would be at their River Falls home. In another instance, they performed at Wildcat Mountain State Park in Ontario, Wisconsin.
In total, they did 20. It all culminated in a joint concert venture with other Wisconsin artists that was live-streamed at the Barrymore Theater in Madison on April 9.
"We were able to reach a much larger audience than we would have been able to accomplish in the smaller shows that we were previously doing," Laura said.
The live streams created a loyal fan base that Laura said is eager for the debut album that is dropping in the fall.
"We’ve got a love of people waiting for it to be completed," she said.
IDK why strings on a bass/guitar look like this on camera and not in person, but I am here for it.— James Groh (@JamesGroh_) April 12, 2021
*Billy Mays voice* But wait there's more! pic.twitter.com/jxeHrEpNeZ
What's more, Laura and Jym have many other responsibilities on top of their budding music career. They have full-time jobs and are raising four kids aged 5 to 18.
"It's a lot of juggling," Laura said.
That's basically three full-time jobs. However, they said they manage and wouldn't do it any other way.