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New River Boys sail onto iTunes

Article Published: Aug. 16, 2012 | Modified: Aug. 16, 2012
New River Boys sail onto iTunes

The Boone-based New River Boys have released a single, ‘Sail Away,’ on iTunes, leading up to an album release Sept. 6.

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The New River Boys set sail on their musical voyage over two years ago in a dorm stairway and have temporarily dropped anchor – putting their single, “Sail Away,” on iTunes.

The Boone-based folk-pop trio released their first track on iTunes Monday for 99 cents, making this their biggest venture outside of their home in the High Country.

Mandolin player Aaron Simpson, the author of the song, calls “Sail Away” a sailor shanty of love lost, love regained and revenge.

“A murder ballad is, I think, the best way to describe it,” he said. “It’s a tale of sweet justice.”

The song is told by a young man from London, who looked for adventure at sea with his younger brother, who died in battle after the captain of the ship promised to protect his life. The narrator’s sister stays in London, working for the captain’s wife as a maid, but is treated poorly and paid very little.

In the third verse, the young sailor finds a woman, “A young maiden, blonde hair and blue-eyed,” who he asks to marry him, but the captain is jealous and threatens the narrator with his life if he does not let the woman be his. In return, the sailor kills the captain, avenging his brother, sister and wife, and takes the ship with all its wealth and settles on land.

“One of the redemptive and beautiful things about loneliness and sadness that you hear in some of our songs is that that is something everyone can relate to, and it’s kind of the only thing you can trust sometimes,” Simpson said. “You can be happy for the wrong reasons, but if you’re lonely, you know that’s honest. You’re just lonely or you’re sad. They’re hard emotions to deal with. It’s something that everyone can relate to, and I think that’s appealing to all three of us.”

This song was also the first one written for the band by Simpson.

“That was his first song that he brought to the band,” cellist Everett Hardin said. “He loves stories, he listens to a lot of folk ballads.”

Hardin and guitarist Andrew Jacobs contributed to the song by working with the lyrics to create most of the instrumentation to reflect the message of the story.

The biggest difference “Sail Away” brings to The New River Boys is that it is more serious and darker than their former, self-proclaimed folk-pop sound.

“Now, that’s not to say that we want to make everything lonely in our songs,” Simpson said. “But whenever we write a song about loneliness and sadness, we’re not trying to be super emo, and we’re not trying to complain about our lives. We actually think we’re singing and writing about something very beautiful, which is loneliness and sadness and this kind of darkness.”

But Simpson, who also wrote a darker song called “Three Soldiers,” is very “comical,” Hardin said.
“Aaron brings a, although he’s very comical, very serious, very raw sense of truth,” Hardin said.

He also said that Jacobs brings a heartfelt, positive sense of truth to the band’s work, as well as a feeling of sadness and reflection – all of which makes up the project to which “Sail Away is proceeding.

“Candor,” the group’s first full-length album, which features “Sail Away” and nine other songs, will release Sept. 6.

The iTunes release is the trio’s first big step toward getting its music past Boone’s city limits, and once Simpson and Hardin are through with school, their hope is to get their music out to more venues.

“I’m excited about sending this to record companies and sending this to radio stations and just trying to make a name for ourselves outside of Boone,” Jacobs said.

“Sail Away” is available for download on iTunes now, and the “Candor” release party is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 6, at Legends on the Appalachian State University campus. Opening for the band is Chapel Hill group Birds and Arrows.

For more information on the band and upcoming events and news, visit

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