Juniors Tyler Meacham and Jacob Lenz are no strangers to performing for the Elon University community. They have been doing so as part of the co-ed a cappella group, Twisted Measure, for the last two years. But now, Elon will get to see them in a new musical capacity as the musical duo Cracked Vessels.
Meacham and Lenz have always shared a love of music and songwriting. Meacham said living together sophomore year in the Twisted Measure house brought their music-making connection to another level.
“Freshman year we played music together, and last year we spent more time [playing together],” Meacham said. “We started writing early fall and carried it on throughout the entire year. We had individual pieces of something, and it became easy to come together and finish it.”
Their work as a duo differs from their work with Twisted Measure, partially because they have fewer people to bounce energy off of.
But, Meacham said their natural musical chemistry makes their Cracked Vessels performances easy and organic.
“Our voices blend and pick up each other’s cues almost too well,” Meacham said. “We will be performing, and we’ll look to each other, and we’re about to forget the same words. We play off each other really well.”
Senior Stanley Dowell, president of Twisted Measure, isn’t surprised by Meacham and Lenz’s endeavor. After watching them collaborate before, Dowell said the pair’s chemistry and passion for music makes this move an understandable and encouraged one.
“When it comes to performing, they really know what they’re doing. I think one of the best parts about watching them is seeing how much they really love what they do,” Dowell said. “They’d typically hate being in front of that many people at once, but being able to share their music with people makes it all worth it for them.”
At this point, Cracked Vessels has had a number of Elon gigs, including performing on Elon Local News’ morning show and opening for their friend and fellow Twisted Measure member Powell Mansfield’s stand -up comedy show. Lenz says they are always looking for new ways to bring their music to more people.
“We’re up for anything,” Lenz said. “There are a lot of places in the area on and off campus that are looking for this kind of coffee shop duo to play. So we’d love to expand our opportunities to perform, or even record an EP. We’re taking baby steps.”
The name, Cracked Vessels, comes from a mutual love for John Green’s novel, “Paper Towns,” and was inspired by a line from the novel — “But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.”
It is this kind of openness that Lenz and Meacham explore in their songwriting. Lenz said he hopes they can continue to get their music into the community, because audiences might find what they perform relatable.
“I would love to find some way to get our music even more out, because our music speaks for itself,” Lenz said. “Most of the things we write are pretty personal. All of our songs have pretty specific meanings to us. From an outside perspective, I connect more to someone’s songs and lyrics when they portray something important to them.”
Dowell said his peers can make a huge impact on Elon’s musical climate because they are a talented, down-to-earth musical act.
“People know that they’re talented but are always pretty blown away when they see them for the first time, and it’s always great to watch that reaction,” Dowell said. “Their songs cater to a large variety of audiences, and most importantly, they’re really relatable. It’s really easy to feel like you’re friends with them, on and off stage.”