Dec 10, 2009

A Lifetime of Music

by Jenniffer Wardell - The Davis County Clipper

DAVIS COUNTY — Music, and friendship, can last a long time if you’re careful.

Kevin Peay and Joel McCausland, the Davis County residents who make up the well-known LDS musical duo Afterglow, have shown that same care with both their music and their friendship. The part-time musicians have recently released their 18th album, the first original in about 10 years, and reflected on how their 30-year partnership has stayed strong enough that heading back into the studio again was a pleasure.

“Some people have said that Afterglow is back, but we’ve never really gone away,” said Centerville resident Kevin Peay. “We’ve been able to lead our own separate, balanced lives, and when we do come together for concerts or to head into the studio, it’s a magical time that we cherish.”

The duo, who first started performing together in 1978 (though 1976 and 1977 were both bandied about in a brief discussion over the specific year), both have full-time day jobs in addition to their musical efforts.

“For us, music was always more of an avocation than a career,” said Peay. “It was great to be able to walk away from the cares of the world and find a creative side.”

Though not being constantly connected has led the duo in sometimes different directions over the course of the last three decades – in addition to their careers, Peay has done some independent musical projects – the two feel that their friendship is as strong as ever.

“I’ve always appreciated having a partner in Kevin,” said McCausland, who was on a business trip in Florida. Peay had called and had him contribute to the conversation via speakerphone. “We can bat ideas around and always consider what’s best for the other person.”

McCausland found himself thinking about his and Peay’s partnership while reading a recent article about Brooks and Dunn, the country supergroup who recently decided to stop performing together after two decades together.

“It was interesting, because Kevin and I have been at it longer and we’re still together,” he said. The two have recorded at both the Beatles’ Abbey Road and the same Nashville stool where Elvis sang “Love Me Tender.”

“I’m grateful that we’re still able to remain friends and partners,” McCausland continued. “Being able to do that for so many years is really rare in any field.”

Their latest effort, “Mercyville,” marks their return to original albums after several years of compilation releases. Recorded in Bountiful, it’s a personal look at where the duo are at this point in their lives.

“We started to assess and think more about our current situation, and some ideas began to emerge,” said Peay. “The songs on the album are reflective of the things we’ve been thinking and feeling over the last 10 years.”

This is especially true of the album’s title track, which Peay describes as being about “the walk of individuals helping each other to a higher place.” A previously unperformed original by well-known songwriters Don Stirling and Brett Rawmond, the song was the last one included on the album.

“We knew we needed one more song to really complete the album, but we couldn’t find it,” said Peay. “Then I asked a good friend if he had something that would fit the theme, and he just happened to have ‘Mercyville.’”

Not that there weren’t still challenges. For McCausland, who hadn’t been in a recording studio since the duo’s last original album, it took a little time to remember the old rhythm.

“It took a little while to get into the groove again,” he said. “For the first couple of sessions, I had to really focus on what I was doing.”

Still, the effort to make it back to the music – and the fans that are waiting for it – is always worth it.

“The people who have bumped into our music over the years have been wonderful,” said Peay. “We’re grateful to those who still show favor for to what we have to offer.”

“Mercyville” can be purchased at all inspirational music stores or online at The site will also include information on concerts and tour dates for the group, which will be forthcoming.