Storytime: Michelle and David, A Love Story

April 27, 2014

alex_janglinsouls_372x225Dear Sharpies,

What a year it’s been!

We created in July 2013 because we wanted spread the love of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and build an online community where ESMZ fans could gather, interact and share their stories. With support from so many wonderful people, the site has grown and evolved into something bigger than we had ever dreamed.

During the past year, we have been fortunate to meet so many amazing ESMZ fans and hear some incredible stories: Sarah Moumblow and her ESMZ-inspired artwork; Emily High-Fash and her jewelry and flower headbands; the inspirational Ryder Buck; Austin Bennett and his gold jacket; the selfless and courageous J.R. Gibbs, who is currently battling cancer; the mega-talented photographer Andy Twyman; Adriel Angeico and his journeys; and so many more. We’re excited about building an even stronger community of the best fans in the world.

We are often asked how we became ESMZ fans. Our love affair with ESMZ began on May 4, 2013 – almost a year to this day, when our copy of “Big Easy Express” arrived from Netflix in our mailbox. Our next-door neighbors knew we were fans of the Mumford & Sons, and told us we had to check out this documentary about three folk-rock bands on train tour across the country. Unfortunately, we had never heard of the Zeros before.

DSCN0275a About 30 seconds into the documentary, we see this young, beautiful free spirit strolling and skipping through the train, wearing a backpack around her shoulders, her brown hair with bangs, in a pony tail tied with a ribbon. We both looked at each other. We were intrigued. Minutes later, Alexander Ebert appears in a white blazer, white terry-cloth pants, long hair, beard and cowboy hat, barefoot snapping his fingers and belting out a soulful tune with nine bandmates behind him. A pretty blond accordion player, a guitarist with a thick beard and even larger hat, and a drummer with a cool, hipster mustache, a bassist wearing a white t-shirt and shades, a mysterious looking trumpet player in suspenders.  We were hooked. We had to know more about Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

We set out to find out everything we could about the band. We downloaded all their songs, started following the band on Twitter and spent hours watching YouTube videos. For the next several months, all we listened to was Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It was our drug. Our eight-year old daughter knew every word to every ESMZ song, and could tell you the names of every song within the first 5 seconds (Her favorites are “Om Nashi Me” ‘2and “Fiya Wata”). We decorated our home with rad ESMZ concert posters. Whenever we’re having a bad day, we throw on “If I Were Free” and everything is all better.

In June, we drove two hours from our home in Kansas to see the Zeros perform on a bridge in Des Moines, Iowa. We’ve heard people describe their first ESMZ concert as a “spiritual” or “life-changing” experience. For us, every ESMZ show has been like that.

That night in Des Moines was magical.  A few hours before the show, we met Alex Ebert on the bridge; he was shirtless and had just woken from a nap. We asked him about the meaning of “Mayla,” one of our favorite ESMZ songs. He explained to us that Mayla was the young daughter of friend and former ESMZ pianist Aaron Embry. Mayla (“Mayla, long time, Mayla, sunshine”) had overcome a battle with leukemia when she was just 3 years old; she was diagnosed in August 2012. “Hmmm, maybe we’ll play that tonight,” Alex told us.

big_top-janglinsouls-600There was a certain aura in the air in Des Moines – from the foot stomping and clapping during “40 Day Dream” to Alex’s mad dancing throughout “Up From Below” (and Alex ranting something about assholes and James Dean). The crowd was feeling it. The energy, positive vibes and uplifting music left us wanting more. It was something we had never experienced before… Oh yeah, and they even played “Mayla.”

We have now seen ESMZ nine concerts, including all four days under a Big Top tent in Los Angeles. There’s nothing like seeing them in concert. Our friend Ryder Buck perhaps described it best when he told us at Big Top:

“I think that’s the most powerful thing you can possibly do with music is just move people and bring them up. It’s not about being a rock star. It’s about bringing people in. You see Alex dancing around with the crowd and bringing people together, and that’s what it’s all about. That’s what music should be used for. It’s a powerful tool and a gift if you use it for the right thing. And I love it, I love everything they do.”

Today, we are getting married on a beach in sunny Sarasota, Fla., and we have ESMZ to thank for bringing us even closer to together.  We will be thinking of ESMZ during the ceremony when we walk (or skip) out as husband and wife to “Om Nashi Me” and take our first dance to Alex’s “A Million Years.”

Our nephew and nieces will be reciting the words to “That’s What’s Up,” a song that has special meaning in our hearts.

“Love will lead us all. Love, it is our honor.
Love, it is our all.
Love goes on forever.
Yeah, love it is our home.”

Our story is just getting started!

We’d love to hear your stories. Please email us at and tell us why you’re a fan of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

Peace and love,

David and Michelle


  1. It was such a pleasure meeting y’all at Big Top! So many congratulations to you both and I can’t wait to see y’all again!

  2. Perfectly stated, a lot of your thoughts & feelings towards ESMZ resonates equally with myself. So much love!

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