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The Deer’s Cry is a Nashville based band named after an old Irish prayer. We play and sing original music inspired by Irish, Bluegrass, Jazz, and other world traditional genres.

Our debut album, Rise with the Dawn, is both a haunting invocation and joyful praise, expressing the power of light in the darkness.

This album has been a journey of the soul. Over the past two years, it has expanded from a small collection of original songs with harp into a larger, more diverse collaboration!

The Deer's Cry band is Karen Ballew (Vocals, Celtic Harp, Portative Organ), Bryan Brock (Percussion), Patrick Atwater (Double Bass), and Will MacLean (Banjo), but we also collaborate and record with other artists.


The soundscapes on this album are enriched by the unique voices of our collaborators: friends here in the US, Iceland, England and Ireland. Together, we journey through various hues of light and dark which culminate in our final track, The Deer's Cry prayer.


The Deer’s Cry is incredibly grateful to our album producer Ren Renfree (Sound Catcher Recording) and to all the friends and family who contributed to this project! Our debut album is not just about the music; it’s also about community and a celebration of friendships, both old and new.


Working with Icelandic folk musicians Bára Grímsdóttir and Chris Foster on “Oh Blessed Light” was a wonderful experience, and it was an honor to have Owen Ó Súilleabháin record and produce our spoken word track!


The title track, “Rise with the Dawn,” is a collaboration between Karen and three long-time friends from the Texas Irish music community. Joseph Carmichael worked with Karen on the arrangement, adding his incredible guitar, whistle, and flute playing while Heather Carmichael and Cierra Brannies recorded beautiful vocal harmonies!


“The Child of Glory” was recorded with former members of the Gaelic Youth Chorus Karen directed in Dallas from 2013 - 2017, and “The Deer’s Cry” song includes the church choir she sang with there. Others in Texas and many Nashville artists contributed as well—We hope you enjoy our creation! 


"Rise With the Dawn" Album Producer / Recording Engineer


Peter "Ren" Renfree has been involved in music since the late 1970's in Orange County, California. He learned production and recording at Saddleback College under the instruction of Disney's famed Don Dorsey (co-creator of the Main Street Electrical Parade and a host of other international Disney park spectaculars). He was blessed to intern at IAM Studio where he worked with Stevie Wonder and Kenny Loggins to name a few. Ren owned Studio Orange and recorded with many of the top So Cal artists of the day.

Fast forward to 2010, Ren and his wife Andi formed Texas Music Trio 2-Bit Palomino who went on to be twice awarded as Vocal Group of the Year by the Texas Music Awards. This trio also released four albums over the course of six years, with their final album, "Things I Dream About," being recognized as a #5 Americana album, # 45 Americana Album for the year 2015, #3 and #5 Americana single, all on the roots Americana radio charts.

Ren has continued to be a skilled recording engineer and producer, having produced dozens of projects over the span of his career. He's had numerous songs that he has produced played and charted on radio in many different genres. He and Andi recently moved to Hermitage, TN, along with their company AREN Creative and recording studio The Sound Catchers where they strive to provide artists with the highest quality services in recording, production, artist development, web design, graphic design, photography, career coaching and much more.  You can visit them at ,

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Album and Website Artist

A Birmingham native, Madison Thames graduated from Auburn University in May of 2018 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, having concentrated in painting. Now she has moved back to her hometown and is planting the roots of her painting career locally. She currently works from her home studio, and her subject matter is inspired by the views, architecture, and landmarks of Birmingham, in addition to a variety of subjects and places found worldwide.

     Whether she is painting a portrait, a landscape, or an abstract, she always aspires to capture the sublime in her work. William Turner is one of her biggest influences. The vibrant colors, energetic brushstrokes, and powerful atmospheres found in his paintings are qualities that she incorporates in her own pieces. 

     Throughout her life, Madison has been profoundly influenced by The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars films, as well as The Legend of Zelda, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age game series. The memorable characters and thrilling narratives crafted by companies like Lucasfilm, Marvel, and Bioware continue to inspire her.

     Many of Madison’s digital pieces draw heavily upon elements of the fantasy genre, incorporating themes of magic and wonder, mythical creatures, and epic struggles between flawed heroes, their antagonists, and supernatural forces.