Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Northland Native and Scattered Trees front man Nate Eiesland picked up a guitar at age 13. In just as many years, he has yet to put it down.
With music featured on MTV's The Real World, a solid fan base, and a trip to the coveted SXSW Music Festival in 2009... the sky was the limit.
But in the summer of that same year, Eiesland's Father passed away.
Losing the man that had supported and inspired him, led Eiesland to consider ending his musical career....but instead he channeled his grief into the band's newest album "Sympathy."
"You get to condense things into a page or 3 minutes of a song and put a beginning and an end on it that maybe you would pour over all of your life."
Performing music that transports him back to that day is no easy task. But he says it is all part of the process.
"I choose to revisit those emotions rather than they be something that would haunt me or that would be bigger than I am. You have to go there. It's rude to not go there when you're performing it for people."
Just a year and a half after almost losing it all, the group is as strong as ever.
This week, Scattered Trees is making their second appearance at SXSW.
"This time, we're going for certain people and we have a team getting the right people to our shows and multiple concerts that we're playing. We have the opportunity to play a million times better than we ever have before."
Now residing in Chicago, the band's fan base continues to expand.
Gone are the days of fliers and relying solely on word of mouth. In the digital age, the musicians have turned to facebook and myspace to get their music out. And people have been listening.
"Social media lets you connect to your fans in a really direct way and I love it. It's really cool."
And thanks to social media, when Eiesland and his wife Alissa, who plays the keys in the band, come back to Minnesota...the fans are waiting.
"To come here now is kind of a proving time. We haven't played here in a year and a half and the people who have stuck with us are the people who have been at every show before."
Being amongst friends is the force that drives Scattered Trees. Together for 7 years, the band that started out as friends have become a family.
And that family pulled together through tragedy to come out on top.
"I owed it to my dad to make this art now and I needed to prove him right because he believed in me more than anybody. We're about to step into SXSW really strong and I think this summer it's going to really start for us."
If you are traveling to SXSW this year, Scattered Trees will be playing March 17th and 18th in the Ghost Room.
Their newest album, "Sympathy" is set for release on April 5th.
Written for the Web by Chris Axelson