4 Proches have just released their most aniticipated debut album "Wayfaring Stranger." Consisting of Beecher (age 20), Ezra (17), Lisa (14) and Asa Proches (10), don't let the youthfulness of these siblings belie you of their rich harmony driven style of bluegrass/acoustic music. We are honored to be able to chat with this talented family for this Hallels' exclusive interview:
Hallels: How long has the 4 Proches been singing together? Were your parents singers too?
Two things happened when each of us turned six years old: We began choir, and we started piano lessons. That went on for quite a while, and then in late 2012 we realized "Hey, we should sing and play together!" (By then we had branched out into various instruments.) Officially we've been together since 2013. Our Mom took piano lessons until 8th grade, but our Dad never did any music (he did lead music at our former church). We all say though that if Dad had taken an instrument and learned to read music, he would have mastered it - he has a fantastic musical ear. We have always sung together at home and of course, road trip singing in the car together.
Hallels: I have read that all of you are classically trained, so why did you choose to record a folk/bluegrass record?
Classical music is a great genre to begin with. But we've also always listened to Allison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs, Nickel Creek, and Lyle Lovett, and simply love the Folksy/Rootsy music those musicians have. You can make so many sounds with Folk music, which is something we really love - throw in a piano, drums, banjo, dobro - you name it and it all can sound good together in an eclectic sort of way. Another big factor was when Ezra began taking Banjo lessons in 2012... It's hard to get Mozart out of a banjo, although, if it is possible, Ez could probably figure it out.
Hallels: How did this new album "Wayfaring Stranger" come about? Tell us about the some of the joys and challenges in making his album.
We'd been playing music in public for a while, and people were always coming up to us and asking "do you guys have an album? When you make one, let us know!" Originally we were just going to go into the studio and make a demo album to send out to people and venues. In July of 2013 though, some friends came to us and said "we really want to support you guys in making an album when you decide to do so." They got behind our family and kept asking about making a CD. Not only that, but they connected us with a studio engineer who said he would record us - to make a long story short, we started out thinking we'd make a demo CD, God redirected our steps, and we came out with an entire album! The lessons we've learned along the way have been countless. We've all been able to see each others' gifts and personalities, and have seen firsthand God provide incredible team members for the album project. Many people donated their time to help with Wayfaring Stranger. We're still blown away by the generosity we've been shown. It's an encouragement and inspiration for us to invest in others just like we've been invested in.
Hallels: You have included some originals on this record, I am particularly fond of "Sandcastles" and "Love What You Do." What are two of the original songs on the record you are most proud of? And why?
Oh man that's a hard question. Each one is special to us, but "Sandcastles" and "Love What You Do" are our favorites, too, and the most commented on ("Ferris Wheel" is a close third). "Love What You Do" was only our second song we'd written together and a blast to write. Beecher had just read John Maxwell's "The 15 Laws of Invaluable Growth" and the phrase "Love what you do" had jumped off the page at him. He took it, wrote lyrics for the song, and then showed it to the rest of the family. We had a blast putting it to a tune and figuring out fun harmonies and effects. The message is one that is so true in today's culture; so many people just settle for less than the best and give up on (or worse, never pursue) their dreams. Seasons in life come and go and dreams change. At times we'll have to do what's necessary and we may not love it. But we can always find something to be grateful for and appreciate. "Sandcastles" is our next favorite because it's such a blast to play, and when we sing it, we're singing it to ourselves, not only our audience. Each of us has a limited number of days, hours, minutes, seconds. Why waste them? We need to be investing in others and enjoying what God has given us right now and making memories! The missionary Jim Elliot once said "wherever you are, be all there." This is so true. "Sandcastles" challenges the listener to make the time count with those they're with. It's such a blessing knowing that people have been touched by this song - one of our favorite stories is hearing of a Mom who put the CD to play in her car, and her son beginning to cry because he was convicted by the message. It's amazing that God uses little people like us to accomplish big things for Him.
Hallels: You have cited Alison Krauss as one of the singers you love. Who else has influenced you in terms of helping you shape your sound?
We do love Alison Krauss. Others artists who have influenced us are Ricky Skaggs, Lyle Lovett, Nickel Creek, The Mavericks, The Von Trapps, High Valley (a sibling group who sing Country music), and, more recently, Rend Collective. Yep, this is an eccentric group of musicians! It might explain our wide variety of musical taste. We don't want to be confined to just one sound of music; we always want to be creating new sounding material. A wide variety of influence is a part of keeping it diverse in our opinion.
Hallels: I have read that the four of you are home schooled, so you must spend a lot of time together. Besides singing, what else do you enjoy doing together?
We do spend a lot of time together! It's been such a blast being in a family with people who love each other and the best parents ever. We love traveling together, watching The Andy Griffith show together, reading great books, and making any sort of memories. Ezra is an actor, so when he gets a role we love traveling to his sets and being on set together. Our favorite recent thing we did together was in Charleston, SC. Runs on the beach, great meals, and exploring the city together made some unforgettable memories!
Hallels: On the album you do sing about faith, prayer and God, what does faith in Christ mean to you?
Our faith is the most important thing we possess. It's lived out in our everyday lives and our music, and we strive to point people to Christ, whether we're on stage or walking down the street. Jesus Christ is the answer to all of life's questions...He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We know that nothing we've done so far would have been possible without him. Faith in Him is crucial in life - if we don't have faith, we're not going to realize that God has a plan for our lives, and he's using us in others' lives.
Hallels: Where can our readers purchase your new album "Wayfaring Stranger" and find out more about you?
Wayfaring Stranger is on iTunes (here's the link) or our website (where you can also read more about us). We're on Facebook or Twitter as well. Or you can keep up with our life through random pictures via Instagram!
Thanks so much to the Hallels team. This was such a pleasure!