Single Release



“Simple Dream”

Organic Records




Asheville, North Carolina


Between a years-long break from the studio and a year of performance lost to the pandemic, Acoustic Syndicate’s reemergence as recording artists has proceeded in ways that inevitably mirror the world in which they live. After their first new single, “Sunny,” a character-driven study of emotional ebb and flow, and a nod to forebears in their second—a delicious reworking of the Grateful Dead’s “Bertha”—the North Carolina legends have dished up a masterfully rocking electric anthem with their third of the year, Bryon McMurry’s “Simple Dream.”

Like “Sunny,” written by acoustic guitarist bandmate and brother Steve McMurry, “Simple Dream” is the culmination of a songwriting process that included its own hiatus. Though Bryon is the group’s banjo player, here he switches to electric lead guitar, punctuating his lead vocals with slinky, often twinned lines that recall the sound of groups like Steely Dan. With Fitz McMurry’s punchy drums and Jay Sanders’ sinuous, pulsing bass drive underneath, the song maintains its sense of urgency even as it luxuriates in the room to stretch out for a full five minutes of groove.

Yet though the group’s live performances are famed for their ability to inspire throngs of dancing fans, here the music serves a higher purpose, supporting a narrative that unfolds as a study of humanity in crisis yet revels in the glimpse of a way forward, too. “Are you helpless? There’s no digging out from where you dug in,” Bryon grimly observes; “Gone are the selfless, as big egos shovel their big feelings in.” Still, each time the song turns to its more melodic chorus, a more hopeful note emerges. “To live a dream of love in the world, We’ve lived here before, oh but it’s been a while,” the lyric wistfully offers. “To dream of love in the world, a beautiful thing—a simple dream of love.“

“I’ve had this idea for some time,” Bryon says. “it’s somewhat of a plea for humanity, broken down to be as straightforward of a message as can be: Love. Love is better than hate.”

“The music originally was much slower,” he adds, “written for a New Orleans project with tuba and banjo and other horns that is still in its infancy. The message, though, is simple, given the past few years of turmoil in this country and globally. The song is a plea for us to take a look at ourselves and those around us and try to bridge the gaps. I’m sure I’m naive in my thinking,” he concludes, “but it’s worth a try.”


  • Acoustic Syndicate is a trail-blazing, seminal group that helped create and shape the genre of Jam Grass
  • In the group’s 25 years, they’ve headlined festivals throughout the Southeast, performed at Bonnaroo and Farm Aid, and influenced several of today’s most popular roots acts like Greensky Bluegrass, The Steep Canyon Rangers, Larry Keel, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon and more