Glowing House is a Denver-based folk-rock band piloted by husband-and-wife duo Steve Varney and Jess Parsons. The band makes thoughtful, intricate, and fun music, which has led to blogs and publications using phrases like “hauntingly-hopeful” and “raw beauty” to describe their sound. Settled in a firm belief that songs are awesome, Glowing House writes, records, and performs unique music that will stay on your mind.
“We like sad songs that sound happy and happy songs that sound sad.” – Jess Parsons
“I know we’re a married folk duo, but you won’t hear a bunch of love songs. Love songs tend to suck.” – Steve Varney
Michael John McKee – drums
Neil McCormick – bass
Phil Parker – cello
Jess Parsons – vocals, keyboard, accordion
Steve Varney – vocals, guitar, banjo
And if you’re interested in further details…
Steve and Jess met in 2008 on a Denver college campus just before the first day of songwriting class. To this day, they are baffled by how much their musical tastes align. To not at least try to write music together seemed foolish, and so they began combining their talents and backgrounds – Jess a life-long singer, pianist and practiced performer, and Steve a diligent writer and guitarist with leanings toward song structure and imagery. Their styles have been fusing into Glowing House for nearly five years now.
Steve was born in Indiana, but his oldest memories are to the backdrop of Colorado. Music was a part of life engrained by his parents. When interest in one instrument seemed to fade it was decreed that a new instrument must be adopted. He was not allowed to quit music. This would take Steve to and from many musical scenarios: kicking and screaming on the way to piano lessons because all he wants to do is play baseball with his friends, leading the alto saxophone section in the Columbine High School marching band, finally getting a guitar after begging and begging to not do marching band anymore… As a result, Steve lives by the idea that instruments are fascinating and endless and frustrating and perfect. A long time stutterer, he first found singing through a discovery that it somehow derailed stuttering, and the thrill of being able to communicate important ideas without worry of embarrassment quickly joined with a newfound love of the guitar. He started writing and soon found a home in the surrounding open mics of Littleton and Denver, Colorado. For reasons still very unknown, a simple vocal take during a recording session years later revealed that stuttering isn’t always tamed by singing and he was suddenly unable to properly sing his own songs. For nearly two years, performing and recording was dicey and intermittent. The mysterious impediment, which is still stubbornly present from time to time, proved to be generally controllable, so everything’s cool now.
Jess is a native of Liberal, Kansas. In her earliest memories she is already singing. Her first vocal solo was at age 6 singing “Little Boy Blue” in her 1st grade musical. After conceding that Jess would not be an athlete, her parents had it pretty easy – their daughter had a naturally wonderful voice, so they let her loose to take part in every major musical endeavor she could find: choirs, musicals, bands, do-it-yourself national touring, open mics, songwriting classes. These ventures put her in venues as simple a living room and as elaborate as the cathedrals of Europe. While at home, she milked all the music she could from her industrious hometown, putting on concerts and even starting a venue with her best friend, a venue that was beloved by the local youth until some crotchety old lady complained. Her time at university in Wichita was filled with vocal performances and an evolving knowledge of many musical instruments. As her skills on piano and guitar became evermore serious, so too did her talent for arrangement and melody, which of course led her to songwriting. It didn’t take long for her to pack up her hard-earned first car with music gear to share her songs all across the U.S. Her extensive touring has given her a hunger for new experiences, among those being songwriting classes at University of Colorado Denver in 2008, where she met Steve.
The two of them were married in Liberal, KS and live in Denver, CO. They had a baby girl named Ayda in October of 2013 and they have an Australian Shepherd named Banjo.