Lavendine ‘Opens Up a Window’ into their heart and presents it ‘Here to You’

There is something beautiful about artists whose insight into the human condition allows them to create – some might say, divinely channel – works that perfectly meet the moment in time when we most need their inspiration. Though Oklahoma-based twin sisters and multi-talented singer/songwriters Jacy and Jana Ayers – collectively known as indie pop/rock duo Lavendine – wrote new alt-pop single “Here To You” from a personal empowering experience of breakthrough after a deeply challenging and traumatic time, the infectious, vocal harmony-driven track offers up exactly the hope and optimistic spirit we all need moving forward through and past this anxiety-ridden pandemic era.

We first introduced you to this amazing duo back in September of 2020, and they have only gotten better. They have the most perfect harmonies and their lyrics truly touch the heart in a way that is unheard of in today’s pop music.

Lifting their dreamy, soulful vocals over a jangling guitar vibe and mid-tempo pop/rock groove, Jana and Jacy share what it’s like to open up to the proverbial light after too long in the darkness: “Opened up a window in this heart of mine to see what’s going on outside/I never dreamed I would be so surprised.” 

The chorus, which we will no doubt be singing along with for awhile, is the perfect fusion of the duo’s heartfelt personal emotions and a universal call to unshackle the chains of malaise and realize that life can not only be good again, but maybe even better than before. They sing: “It’s time to tell the new day, it’s good to finally see you/It’s time to tell the heartache, you’re not mine, go away/It’s to find the reasons to smile. . .see the good that’s been around me/Don’t you see the change in me…”    

“Here To You” follows Lavendine’s impressive success with several singles from their debut album Feel My Way. Their signature song “Rapture” hit both the Mediabase AC Top 25 and BDS/Billboard AC Top 25 and #1 on the Mediabase AC Independent Artist-Song Rankings. The track had 250,000 feature insertions on Adult Pop radio digital streams in multiple major markets across the U.S. Before that, their single “Maybe I Might” hit the Top 30 on the Mediabase AC and BDS/Billboard AC charts, and “You Can’t Change My Mind” reached #36 on the Mediabase AC chart. The national buzz around these tunes also led Lavendine to be featured in the Artist Spotlight on the Jim Brickman national radio show.   

As women of deep faith, Jana and Jacy’s lives are inspirational testaments to the power of never giving up on life, love and musical dreams no matter the trials thrown at us. Jana and Jacy wrote “Open Up A Window” to claim a hopeful victory over a traumatic series of extreme health setbacks that might have derailed most people. Not long after releasing Feel My Way, both were deathly ill from the after-effects of root canals, later explained to them as a possible allergic reaction to the metal instruments used. Both felt heavy flu-like symptoms for several years. Attempts at implants were rejected. At one point, the infection got so bad that they went to Baylor University Medical Center to get both jaw joints replaced. 

These issues were on top of previous medical problems Jana and Jacy had experienced as they were working as an esthetician (Jana) and hairstylist (Jacy) while working diligently on developing their artistry and overcoming the many obstacles involved in pursuing an indie music career. Having led worship at church for years and being part of ensembles that won prestigious state competitions in middle and high school, they trekked to Nashville in their late teens to pursue their passion – but found that most producers and executives were more concerned with the marketing and creation of the duo rather than allowing them to pursue their own vision. 

When Jana began having debilitating migraines, she saw specialists, had test after test done to no avail, until one day when she went to her vocal doctor for a problem with her throat. It wasn’t until he looked in her ear that it was discovered she was experiencing the effects of trauma to her eardrum from back when she was just eleven years old, diving off a high dive. The incident had caused a tumor to grow over time backwards towards her brainstem and she was rushed into emergency surgery. Since then, she has struggled with managing her chronic nerve pain and as well as surprising everyone in the music industry that hears her sing with the fact that she has 80% hearing loss in one ear.

Meanwhile, Jacy spent ten years in and out of emergency rooms due to her own medical troubles, as well as recovering from ten different surgeries, ranging from kidney stones to gall bladder problems. Especially difficult during this time was having an ectopic pregnancy and the emotional recovery that followed.

Jana and Jacy speak like a tag team, complementing each other’s thoughts as they reflect on their intense journey of overcoming obstacles and share the resulting forward-thinking mindset that drives the music and lyrics of Lavendine. “A year and a half ago,” Jana says, “when we were coming out of all this and doubting our path forward in music, our husbands and mom told us, ‘You can’t not do music anymore. Many people in our lives were encouraging us, and deep down, we knew it was what we were called to do. No matter how relentless it felt like there were forces opposing us with one nightmarish situation after another, we wanted our positive messages to get out there. 

Jacy adds, “Particularly with ‘Open Up a Window’, there’s an underlying message of hope in our music and we want to give listeners the sense that things may look bleak, but they will get better. Bishop T.D. Jakes has talked about the trap of getting caught up in the hateful middle of a difficult circumstance and not seeing that God can open us up to the end so that we can step into the promise. We don’t always hear people talking about the hope part of it. But Jana and I have kept moving forward and those underlying themes of perseverance come out in our writing.” 

Jana continues, “Looking outside the window of your pain helps us see that we might be our own problem, and when we stay positive through all of our struggles with doubt and negativity, God will open us up to change. You can open up to that little glimmer and give yourself one more chance to believe in something good. You can crack that part of your heart open and give yourself a chance to believe in the possibilities of love and dreams again.”  

Because of their deep cultural and spiritual roots in church, it would seem that Lavendine’s natural genre in the industry would be in Christian Contemporary Music (CCM). But every time they pursued that route, the doors closed emphatically while others in the secular music world seemed to open. While Jana and Jacy were happily surprised at the mainstream success of a faith-based song like “Rapture,” that seems to be a manifestation of their belief that they were given these outlets for a reason. Rather than preach to the choir, they can share their uplifting mesages with those who need to hear them more – and bring the gospel spirit to recording sessions helmed by secular producers and engineers in their midst. 

The creation of “Open Up a Window” offers evidence that the song, as Jacy says, is “God-kissed.” She, Jana and Jacy’s guitarist husband Daniel, one of their co-writers, were in the studio one night just hanging out. Daniel felt prompted to go over to the keyboard in the room, and while he was “dilly-dallying” on it, he started playing a melody. Daniel is not a keyboardist and had never done anything like that. But as he captured that riff, Jacy suddenly said, “open up the window’ and they wrote the first verse in less than ten minutes. After the song was written, every time they asked Daniel to play it on the keys, he said he was unable to replicate what happened in that beautiful moment of inspiration.

“There are so many details Jana and I have struggled with on other songs we have written,” Jacy says. “But on this one, it was as fi we were vessels and God said, ‘Move over, I’m writing this one.’ Just like the title says, it’s opened us up to a new season of creativity and we’re excited about the new songs we’re working on that we plan to release soon. We don’t know the future, but we’re grateful and humbled to be back making music.”   We have a feeling they will be around for quite a long time.

Get it or forget it – KG Music Press

Having a great PR firm is critical for indie artists, since they don’t have the power of a label behind them to promote their material. One of the better PR firms that we have worked with is Kim Grant’s KG Music Press. This edition of Get it or Forget it will highlight four of her recent clients’ releases.

compliments of Pleasant Valley Ranch

Artist NameWest of Texas

Album NameHeartache, Hangovers and Honky Tonks

Label:  Pleasant Valley Ranch

Genre: Country/Folk

Track Listing:  1. My Whiskey Life; 2. Foolin’; 3. The Cost of Lovin’ You; 4. Darlin’ How You’ve Changed; 5. This Fool; 6. Whatcha Drinkin’ (explicit); 7. Dead End Job Blues 8. Bayou Boy; 9. Cheatin’ Drinkin’ Hurtin’ Song; 10. Fixin’ to Love You; 11. Sign of a Broken Heart; 12. If You Were in my Shoes; 13. You’re Still the One I Dream Of; 14. 12 Steps to Drinkin’; 15. Sound of my Heart Breakin’; 16. Whatcha Drinkin’ (radio edit)

Publicist: KG Music Press

Review:  In a world where “country music” is more rock than country comes a breath of fresh air. West of Texas provides a more traditional approach to country music that is pure Texas in its sound, incorporating more blues, folk and swing into the mix. This is the music you want to hear in a dance hall as you two-step, waltz and swing around the floor. What makes it even more interesting is the story behind the album, which began more than 10 years ago as a 3-song EP. Lead singer and songwriter Jerry Zinn developed health problems and was unable to sing from 2010 until 2019. Just as he was getting ready to return to the studio to complete the album, the world got shut down because of the Coronavirus. Fortunately, the final product was worth the wait, and allowed Zinn to work with some of the best players in the Southern California country and Americana scenes. We can hardly wait to hear what comes next.

Recommendation: If you love country dancing or just want to hear some good music with your beer, then this one is perfect for you. Go get it.

courtesy of Belltown Records

Artist NameHilary Scott

Album NameKaleidoscope

Label:  Belltown Records

Genre:  Alternative/Country

Track Listing:  1. Just a Shame; 2. Almost Home 3. Too Much is not Enough; 4. And Just; 5. Free Country

Publicist:  KG Music Press

Review:  It’s been a few years since we last reviewed Hilary Scott, and her latest EP was worth the wait. Her musical sound has developed since then and is so much more than typical modern country, with a more alternative pop-rock sound. It truly showcases the eclectic musical taste of a seasoned artist, and is one of the best we’ve reviewed in quite a while. All five songs are different and we think the best is yet to come. We recently featured “Just a Shame” in our Monday Mashup column, but every one of these tunes could potentially be highlighted. We are truly looking forward to seeing which direction she takes in the future, and believe she will continue to be a shining light on the indie music scene. The EP closes with “Free Country,” which belongs on Top 40 radio.

Recommendation:  Rush out and get this one.

courtesy of Young and Sick

Artist NameBen Reddell Band

Album NameLA Baby!

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Roots/country

Track Listing:  1. My Baby; 2. Cocaine; 3. Tumbleweed; 4. Love her & you need her; 5. 12 bar blues; 6. Good Thing

Publicist:  KG Music Press

Review:  If you’ve spent any time around the LA roots scene, you’ve undoubtedly seen Ben Reddell. He is the promoter of the weekly The Grand Ole Echo indie-roots music show and general manager of Bedrock LA Studios. He is also the unofficial “Mayor.” His last album was released in 2012. However, with the shutdown of the live music scene, Reddell found himself with a lot of time on his hands, so he turned his knowledge of the scene and his contacts within the scene into a fun, no-holds-barred album that will make you want to listen again and again. We really love the zydeco feel of “Love her & you need her” and “Good Thing” and the Jimmy Buffett influence of “12 bar blues.” This is an album that will definitely stand the test of time, and we already want to see it performed live. Please don’t make us wait another nine years for the next one.

Recommendation: , Definitely worth whatever it costs to add this one to your collection. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

courtesy of Justin Largent

Artist Name Tylor & the Train Robbers

Album NameNon-Typical Find

Label:  Self-released

Track Listing:  1. Equation of Life; 2. This Town; 3. Worth the Wait; 4. Jenny Lynn; 5. Non-Typical Find; 6. Lemonade 7. Something Better; 8. Staring Down the North; 9. These Eyes; 10. Back the Other Half; 11. Silver Line

Publicist:  KG Music Press

Genre Roots/Country

Review:  This is our first exposure to the music of Tylor & the Train Robbers, and we guarantee it won’t be the last. They have a classic country sound that reminds us of such hitmakers as Sawyer Brown and Confederate Railroad. Lead singer Tylor Ketchum‘s vocals are reminiscent of a cross between another famous Ketchum (“Hal“) and Bob Dylan. The band is composed of Ketchum, his brothers Jason and Tommy Bushman, his father-in-law, Johnny “Shoes” Pisano, and his wife Jennifer. Other musicians who contributed included Bernie Reilly, Cody Braun and Brian Davies. Nashville needs to stand up and take notice of this band, as we believe they have what it takes for lasting success. The songs are designed to get you on on the dance floor, and the lyrics are memorable and fun.

Recommendation:  This one is a definitely Get. Don’t waste time if you love great classic roots country.