BY BILL HEATH
“If you don’t have a soul child, you’re gonna’ have one by the time we’re done.” Jess Strantz, the founder and main vocalist of Von Strantz, declares between songs to the audience and band surrounding her. She exchanges glances with Kelsey Horton, violinist and multi-instrumentalist and then winks at the crowd. Von Strantz writes music, as Jess will say, “created for real depth and real community . . . what’s important is that we be humans and love each other.”
The sound of Von Strantz is described simply as folk n’ roll, akin to the tradition of Over the Rhine and the sacredness of The Vespers; the instrumentals stir the soul much like Mumford and Sons. Utilizing a variety of instruments such as the mandolin, violin, bass, and cello, Von Strantz unites harmonies strung together by commanding and soulful lyrics. With story-sharing as their passion, Von Strantz invites their audience into the emotion of each piece. Von Strantz is storytellers, an ebb and flow of two different musicians, exploring the dark and emerging with hope.
I was captured by the amazing chemistry between Jess and Kelsey, as was the entire crowd as they took us all on a musical journey, and yes, just as Jess had predicted, my soul felt it too! They have graced the Muddy Creek Music Hall’s stage several times, and will be a featured act on July 16th, as part of the “Girls in the Creek” music festival. They will be reaching for your soul!