Members: Derek Porter (vocals, guitar, keys), Erika Porter (vocals, guitar, ukelele), Stephen Allbritten (guitar, vocals), Nicholas Frampton (drums, vocals)
Genre: Folk Rock
ENDLESS SUN TRACK LISTING
1 Wonder Why
2 Don’t Stop the Rain
3 All That Sin
4 Beautiful (Caught up in the Moment)
5 But You’re Happy
6 When I Feel Like Giving Up
7 It’s Your Love
Siblings Derek and Erika Porter are the heart of Nashville folk/pop-rock 4-piece Pageant, who are preparing to release their forthcoming sophomore EP Endless Sun, set for release on CD and digital formats on November 13th.
Lead singer-songwriter Derek Porter’s rich, pointed vocals and guitar intermingle with his sister Erika Porter’s lilting vocals, guitar and ukelele to create a lush call-and-response of moving and playful music. Additional songwriting and instrumentation from Stephen Allbritten and Nick Frampton (Field Division, The River Monks) rounds out the lineup to create a compelling blend of stomping guitar rock, piano-based indie pop, classic country and 50’s girl group pop. Working out of their own Best Friend Studio in Nashville, Pageant employs loop pedals and sample pads to build and refract sounds discovered in the moment with their traditional acoustic instruments, developing an interplay between organically- and technologically-produced sounds. Hiding beneath a slick veneer of catchy hooks is a melancholic ethos where bright, poppy verve meets thoughtful reflection.
“The word ‘pageant’ has a broadness to it that felt appropriate for these folky, tragic, epic songs I was writing,” explains Derek Porter about the origin of the band’s name. Indeed, Pageant’s songs range from the nostalgic to the incisive, often painting a picture of a halcyon Midwestern past that hews closely to the Porters’ childhood in central Illinois. Pageant has been featured on Songwriter, a documentary from 6 Minor Films, and recently performed at a No Country For New Nashville ACME showcase. Pageant released their debut full-length Royal Blue in August 2014, following 2012’s Lost Ourselves EP, and put out a cover of The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” over the summer that premiered on Southern Manners.
Now, Pageant is preparing to release their 7-song follow-up EP Endless Sun on November 13th. Endless Sun — produced by Pageant, mixed by Stephen Allbritten of Pageant and mastered by Brooks Edwards — exhibits an evolution from debut album. “Royal Blue was so textured. We had varied, evocative sounds flooding every track – sometimes to the songs’ benefit, sometimes not,” said Derek. “I feel like Endless Sun is a more direct statement. We still, thanks to Stephen, have ambient textures, but the songs punch harder and get to the point a little quicker.” The forthcoming record incorporates strings on four of the tracks, and although horns were contemplated, the Porters ultimately decided that it wasn’t a good fit for the release. “However,” says Derek, “I did play a saxophone lead on ‘All That Sin’ so I’m pretty happy that particular timbre was represented.”
Endless Sun reflects the Porter’s desire for balance. As Derek says, “I was picking at what I see as a dichotomy of everyday life where we often feel like we want the best ideal version of something – the weather, a relationship, a new car, whatever – but by desiring that, we miss the unspoken benefits of it’s opposite – the rain, a bad relationship that can be educational, an old beater that we learn to fix up.” The most recently penned song on the release, “But You’re Happy,” particularly reflects the main theme of the record: happiness and the tricky business of fully considering oneself happy. “I ended up writing what I would call a placated love song,” Derek says. “The lyrics describe someone who doesn’t always have things work out for her, but she’s honest enough with herself to know that things still really aren’t that bad.”
Pageant recently released the EP’s first single, the poignant “Beautiful (Caught up in the Moment),” premiering the song on GroundSounds. The music video, which premiered on Songwriting Magazine, features actors from Chicago’s legendary improv enterprise Second City, Casey Whitaker and Tim de la Motte. Jeph Porter, Head of Digital Media Production at Second City and brother of Pageant siblings Derek and Erika Porter, directed the video, putting a decidedly comic spin on a song that was written as a straight-ahead love song idealizing a romantic partnership.
About the song, Derek says:
I wrote it as a straight ahead love song – I was in between relationships at the time… I wrote the song “Beautiful (Caught up in the Moment)” after ending a relationship and reflecting on what I wanted from a partner. Many people who hear the song think it’s about this ideal love I was experiencing, but truthfully it’s about what I wished I could have experienced. I considered what I’d learned in the past and how I wanted to apply that to my future. The second verse epitomizes that – ‘Repetition’s taught me love / is a balance beam we walk.’ So to me, the song is very melancholy, although I can see how it could be taken the other way. In a way, I really enjoy that dual perception and I understand that, depending on how you’re feeling, you could see it as an honest love song or an ironic break up song.
“Featuring a sibling vocal duo atop acoustic-driven poppy choruses and building rhythms with splashes of auxiliary horns and strings, the EP is earthy and personal with universal themes of love and life.” – The Deli Nashville
“…more of the feel good, throwback vibes we dig” – No Country For New Nashville
“…a jaunty duet that draws heavily on indie-pop and folk…There’s some pedal steel and harmonica to counter the vocal focus, while the bass guitar does some admirable work keeping the tune traveling sprightly on.” – Independent Clauses
“Sly pop” – Bucket Full of Nails
“The semi-symphonic style mixes well with the more bold sounding guitars and rhythm section.” – The Music Enthusiast