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Friendship provides a heartbeat for Ark Life

Iowa City band will make an appearance at the Englert Theatre for a homecoming performance

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UPDATED: 21 January 2014 | 4:15 pm   ::  

It’s not about the money, or the fame, or the competition, for one particular band, music is what brought them together and continues to propel them as they enter the world of music.

Americana folk blues rock music with poppy elements blended into the mix, Ark Life, has naturally come together with a number of fortuitous event. With a few songs released on Daytrotter, the band embarks on their first tour to introduce themselves as a close-knit, alluring emphasis on what it means to truly play music for what it is. Traveling around the nation, the band will make an appearance at the Englert Theatre in Iowa City for a homecoming performance.

The details: 


  • Ark Life

  • Friday, June 21 at 8 p.m.

  • The Englert Theatre

  • Tickets: General Admission $10 in advance and $12 day of the show


The rugged frontman Jesse Elliott, 2003 University of Iowa graduate—known for his leading role with the rock & roll band These United States from 2007 to 2012—was passing through Denver with intentions to stay for a short visit then move up to New York City in January. But then his departure to New York was forgotten as he became fully immersed within Colorado’s picturesque landscape, eclectic appreciation for the arts, and uniquely inventive music scene.

“Denver has an amazing music scene, everyone plays with everyone really,” said Elliott. “I could get together with 15 or 20 people and we would just hang out and play each others songs just to have a good time.”

Friendship, he explained, provides a heartbeat for Ark Life. Naturally, this group of musically talented friends happened to be in the right place at the right time, and things fell into place from there. Logistically, Elliott explained, the band has learned from past experiences to recognize what works and what doesn’t. A band living in the same place at the same time, Elliott explained it as a luxury to just get together with a bunch of friends to play rather than finding time to schedule when to play with the band.

These United States, has not been forgotten but rather, left on the back burner for now as Elliott and the other members take a break from touring and the countless hours spent traveling.

“Because I had been touring the past seven years I wanted to stay and try it out,” said Elliott.  “For me, I didn’t plan on starting another band but I just wanted some time for myself, I wanted to be part of a community.”

Similar to the band’s unpredicted beginning, the show at the Englert transpired from Elliott’s connection to the Englert Theater. Unbeknown to him, a few of his old friends happened to be running many of the events. Andre Perry and Nathan Gould saw the genuine talent from each member of the band and welcome Ark Life with open arms.

As part of the Englert’s Intimate Series, both the audience and performers share the stage. With only 100 tickets to be sold for the event, Gould expects the show to provide a remarkable experience for audience members.

“Ark Life is an incredibly talented group, and I expect to see audiences fall in love with them as they travel around,” said Gould, the Marketing Director for the Englert Theatre. “I think people will relate to the music. The songs are genuine, catchy, and really dynamic.”

Ark Life—a name chosen for its combination of word choice— is a band comprised of members who each came from a solid career in music. Which add to one of the unique components of this band’s overall sound. The alternately stern and alluring three part harmonies from pianist Lindsay McWilliams, bassist Anna Morsett, guitarist Natalie Tate, blended with the seasoned drummer Ben DeSoto’s catchy beats and Elliot’s, touching lyrics and charismatic guitar performance to create recognition for brilliance within life’s mundane occurrences.

“The three part harmonies are my favorite part of the band,” said Elliott. “I don’t have a good voice in any technical sense. Those three ladies are great singers and can articulate what’s going on in my head. They hold down the core musicality of the band.”

Perhaps the phrase, “home is where the heart is,” rings true for the Colorado band. Said to be domestic in nature, each member of the band is able to establish a firm connection within the community. It feels like home in a sense for Elliott. Playing a mix of 12 to 14 songs depending on the vibe of the venue, Ark Life hopes the historic ambiance of The Englert will add to the creative freedom within their music to allow for each audience member to feel a connection to their music.

“In his old band, I think Jesse delivered a compelling and awesome persona on stage and also through each recording," said Perry, the Executive Director for the Englert Theatre. "He has his own voice. It’s a cool sound and brings about a different vibe."

Ark Life’s journey of friendship, long-lasting melodies, and unforgettable performances, have only just begun.

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