PREMIERE | Owls & Lions Release Exquisite ‘God Bless You & Protect You’
Meet Owls & Lions, the Northern New Jersey indie/folk/pop outfit premiering the music video for “God Bless You & Protect You,” a track from their latest EP, There’s A Light.
According to guitarist Jay Della Valle, “We chose this to be our first single because we felt it had a special charge that needed to be emancipated. The story and the vision for it was clear from the start because the inspiration was so powerful. For us, it’s a song about the unconditional love a parent can have for a child and how that is shared and passed down as legacy. “God Bless You & Protect You” is something our dad never missed a chance to say to us before saying goodbye or saying goodnight. We wanted to celebrate him with this song and touch some hearts. We also hoped that Kleenex might want to license it.”
Made up of Jay Della Valle (guitar, vocals), Nicole DeLoi (violin, vocals), and Kevin Walters (drums), Owls & Lions arose from a chance meeting at a wedding. Musician, actor, and filmmaker Della Valle was the DJ, while DeLoi was the violinist, performing as a gift to the bride.
Impulsively, Della Valle concluded his rock band would benefit from a violinist. He asked DeLoi if she’d ever played in a rock band. She had not; she played with a symphony orchestra. But she agreed to check the band out. She did, and without further ado, the band added a violinist to the lineup.
DeLoi explains, “We just have a special, unusual chemistry. When you feel like you have something special, then it changes your goals.”
Eventually, the rock band fizzled out. So Della Valle and DeLoi formed an indie-folk duo to perform at weddings. The idea proved to be a brainstorm of monumental inspiration. According to Della Valle, “We went from original rock band just trying to get 30 people in the door, to all of sudden, we just steered into this lucrative wedding thing.”
Owls & Lions’ success stems from the duo’s exquisite harmonies, as well as a secret ingredient — passion. “We perform this material with a level of conviction that one seldom expects in a band they experience at a wedding. We make it personal. We genuinely want to give people an experience they won’t forget.”
As Owls & Lions gathered momentum, they needed help. Enter Kevin Walters, who was hired as sound engineer and DJ. Then, as Walters says, “I just kinda sat in one day, and Jay realized we can up the ante a little bit.” Initially, Walters played cajon, followed by drums, which raised the songs to a whole new level.
Inspired by televion’s This Is Us, the video for “God Bless You & Protect You,” directed by Della Valle, shifts from the present to the past, as a father sings to his daughter, infusing the visuals with the absolute power of love.
“God Bless You & Protect You (Lullaby Version)” opens gentle gleaming guitar riffs flowing into a gorgeous folk melody topped by DeLoi’s deliciously delicate voice. Della Valle’s rich tenor enters on the next verse, followed by the beautiful chorus, where the two voices harmonize with glorious sonority, exuding cashmere textures and burnished surface colors.
The warm flow of the harmonics combined with the charming vocals, tender lyrics, and warmhearted images transform the enchanting lullaby into a musical prayer pregnant with mystical symbolism. Put simply, “God Bless You & Protect You” is sonic confection of pure elegance.