‘The Road Ahead’ – National Park Radio has new EP for fans at home

‘The Road Ahead’ – National Park Radio has new EP for fans at home

For National Park Radio, life right now is a study in contrasts. The husband-and-wife duo of Stefan and Kerrie Szabo is used to being on the road much of the year, performing concerts across the United States. But when they’re not touring, they’re both “naturally anti-social,” Stefan says. “So we fit in perfectly with the quarantine. It feels normal to us.

“We do miss meeting our fans,” he adds. And Kerrie says she hopes a new camper will let them start traveling later this summer, just to get back on the road. “Hopefully, we can do some small house concerts or backyard concerts,” Stefan agrees. But right now, he says, the best way to support the Harrison-based band is to “listen and share our music,” and a new EP, titled “The Road Ahead,” makes for a perfect opportunity.

“The highway is my home; this heart belongs out on the open road,” Stefan sings in the title cut. “Although it seems our hopes and dreams were lost there long ago.” And in “The Things We’ll See,” they promise each other to leave without fear and doubt and “go, just you and me; you never know the things we’ll see.”

The heart of Americana band National Park Radio is comprised of Kerrie and Stefan Szabo (from left), but their new EP, “The Road Ahead,” includes last summer’s touring partners, Riley and Grace Slayden.
(Courtesy Photo)

The balance of the music on the EP — both instrumental and vocal — is provided by last summer’s touring partners, brother and sister Riley and Grace Slayden from Missoula, Mont. Stefan Szabo says they’d hoped to release a full album last fall, but then the Slaydens had to return to Montana. And that inspired Szabo to think differently about new music.

“I think five songs is about right,” he says of the EP. “Sometimes, in a full-length album, some songs get neglected. So I think smaller releases more often is the way we’re going to go — maybe a release twice a year.”

The duo have also done a Facebook Live concert since the coronavirus forced them to stay home, but Stefan isn’t keen on doing that every week.

“I know people want us to, but I don’t want to overdo,” he says. “Although we love the online concerts and interacting with our fans. But the best way to hear us right now is Spotify or other listening platforms.”

Szabo still sounds surprised that people all over the country have discovered and fallen in love with his music. The band has more than 40,000 followers on Facebook and more than 25,000 listens every month on Spotify.

National Park Radio has made two albums since its self-titled debut in 2013 — “The Great Divide” and “Old Forests” — and the EP came out June 26. But the band might be best known in Northwest Arkansas for its relationship with the Buffalo River, where they’ve played several years of free summer concerts. Szabo admits it did in fact inspire the group’s name.

“It was such a big part of our lives growing up,” Szabo says, “and [it reflects] our deep love and passion for exploring, preserving and glorifying all of the amazing national parks and landscapes throughout the country. Our hope is that our music will inspire others to explore and appreciate all the incredible places they’ve always wanted to experience.”

Until that opportunity returns, he says, “we’re used to spending every minute of every day together. We’ve been doing it so long, it doesn’t feel abnormal.”


National Park Radio
(Courtesy Photo)

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National Park Radio

Buy their new EP, “The Road Ahead,” and new merchandise at www.nationalparkradio.com.

Categories: Music