Vacation Manor returns to Lynchburg after move to Nashville
- Local band Vacation Manor returns to perform at the Riverfront Concert Series after moving to Nashville to continue networking in the music industry.
- With a strong following and music featured in Starbucks and Banana Republic, the band is working on their second EP.
Indie rock band Vacation Manor was born in Lynchburg—a fact of which lead singer and guitarist Nathan Towles wasted no time reminding the crowd of when he took the stage at the Riverfront Concert Series.
“After all this time, you guys are still our home,” Towles told the cheering crowd on Saturday evening, Sept. 30. “You guys are our biggest supporters and our best friends.”
But the band—which features Liberty University alumni bassist Dane Spearman and drummer Cole Young, along with new keyboardist Carson Cody—has come a long way from jamming out at the occasional music festival under their original moniker, “Native Spirit”.
Since its inception in 2014, Vacation Manor has released its 2016 debut EP “Girl, Say,” and toured the eastern seaboard with bands like Colony House and Dawes. Their music can be heard in Starbucks and Banana Republic. On Spotify, their profile has amassed a loyal following of over 57,000 monthly listeners.
“We’ve had some really cool opportunities along the way,” Towles said.
The band recently made the monumental decision to pack its bags late last spring and relocate to Nashville, Tennessee. According to Spearman, the band outgrew Lynchburg with their gradual success. Years spent networking with Nashvillians only made relocating more desirable.
“We knew Lynchburg wasn’t going to be forever,” Spearman said. “Nashville seemed like the best place to go next. We already had friends and ties there, so it already felt like a second home.”
Although this technically marks the first time any of the band has lived together, Spearman said miserable days on the road had long prepared them to be roommates.
“Being crammed in a van for a week, it’s a very strenuous situation,” Spearman said. “You really go through the fire finding out who people actually are with no sleep after 32 hours. We already know the quirks of each person’s personality and how to sidestep certain things.”
Towles added that there are areas that need improvement.
“There weren’t any dishes on the road,” Towles joked. “We need a chore wheel.”
The four of them share a house in the eastern part of the city where they occasionally perform at venues like The Back Corner and Mercy Lounge. Their last show in Nashville was a Sept. 6 benefit concert for victims of Hurricane Harvey.
And though the band members are never opposed to showcasing their original hits like “Careless” and “Falling Back” — along with the occasional Earth, Wind & Fire cover — they’re now more focused on expanding their portfolio.
“We’ve just been in a period of writing,” Spearman said.
Towles, the main contributor to Vacation Manor’s lyrics, spent the summer co-writing with [PENDING]
After a few cryptic posts on Instagram, Vacation Manor just released a new single “Fading” on Sept. 29. It’s the band’s first new content in over 18 months — but won’t be its last.
The band is currently working on developing their second EP, which Towles hopes to release in the next nine months. At the moment, the band is talking to a few producers to find someone to publish the new work.
While most of the songs on “Girl, Say” were inspired by what Towles calls a “complicated relationship,” the band wants this EP to revolve around the central theme of figuring out post-college as a young adult.
“It’s so easy to think you have it all figured out after college,” Towles said. “But you start wondering, ‘Who am I now that I’m in this new place?'”
This uncertainty is the inspiration behind “Fading.” It’s a catchy, upbeat tune, but the lyrics are not so lighthearted. Towles spends the duration of the track fighting hard “the instinct to get up and run.”
“It’s [about] the idea of when you start to feel anything slipping away,” Towles said. “You’re out of the honeymoon phase of a band or a relationship or a new job. It’s about that moment of fight or flight.”
And doubts like these are not unfamiliar to Vacation Manor. Despite their solid following, the band has yet to become successful enough to provide sustainable careers.
Towles works shifts at a local restaurant. Young moonlights as a barista. With a degree in graphic design, Spearman runs his company Sick! Design Co. on the side. Cody, a fulltime musician, performs with another band, Devon Gilfillian.
All the while, they work towards a dream that isn’t guaranteed to come true.
“There have definitely been times where we’ve been like, ‘Do we keep going or do we stop?'” Towles said. “But every band goes through that, even if they don’t say it.”
The lyrics of one of their earlier songs, “Magic”, manifest the band’s recognition of the sacrifices that come with this sort of dedication.
Vacation Manor understands just how hard committing to music can be. It means giving up normal careers and relationships. It means leaving home to face nothing but uncertainty.
“It is hard with music,” Towles said. “It’s not always clear cut. You don’t know when the next paycheck is coming, or what the next three years are going to look like.”
So what makes it all worth it?
“Nights like tonight,” Young said, an hour before they went on stage last Saturday. “We’re in a special place and people want to see us. We love what we do and people want to come hang out and have fun. And that makes the sacrifice worth it.”