Tragedy struck on May 17th, 2016, when vocalist Kevin Scheidt passed away suddenly at age twenty-one due to congenital health complications; family, friends, and strangers alike mourned the loss of the bright burst of kindness and humility he represented, and the outfit grieved for their friend while also hanging up their proverbial guitars and drumsticks in the wake of the disaster. Two months later, in the final days of the original North Avenue home of the historic Masquerade venue, previously defunct and presently arising bands from across the Southeast performed together to honor Kevin and support Tenth Row. To great acclaim and with a somberness matched only by the levity and joy Kevin had taught them, the living members were joined on stage by his surviving partner Jessica Michael as they played one last show. Or, so they thought.
Fast forward two years, and Kevin lives on in the words and around the edges of Rest Well. Haunting but beautiful, the songs were written during the original life of the band but take on much more meaning now, well after the original recording sessions were sadly cut short. After parsing through demos, the band preserved many of Kevin’s scratch vocal takes which are now paired with new contributions by Ian, Zak, Jonathan, and Jessica to round out this new era of Tenth Row. Even between the nostalgic echoes and prophetic imagery of the record, it’s still safe to say Kevin is laughing along with the band as they take the stage again and go back to the jokes, living room shouting, and sarcastic self-deprecating they were born into. Life may not be quite as easy as it had been when that first batch of songs was written, but life is still good and the music will continue. Kevin would be proud.
Tenth Row still sucks, after all.