The bags were packed, equipment stowed away, arrangements were made. Have Mercy was going on a full U.S. tour, filled with the promise of introducing more people to their music. Maryland indie rockers Brian Swindle (vocals/guitar), Nick Woolford (bass/vocals), Todd Wallace (drums/vocals), and Andrew Johnson (guitar/vocals) looked forward to taking their show on the road. Then it was cancelled.
A blessing in disguise. It was a devastating blow to four musicians who had just decided to give it their best shot. Johnson had so much faith in the upcoming tour, he gave notice to his employer that he would not be returning to work. They felt they had let their fans down. Without a headlining act, the tour was gone, but Have Mercy was not finished yet. Thanks to incredible booking agent, Jason Parent, an alternate tour was booked in one week, and Have Mercy would headline the shows. It was a gamble that paid off, because the shows on this tour have been sold out or packed houses at every stop.
Music for life. Have Mercy is compelling, in that the songs are about our lives. Listening is a heartfelt journey for both the musicians and the audience. Lyrics from the song, “Inch by Inch” say, “I fear I’ve lost myself/Forgot the meaning of true wealth/But hey, I’ve got my family and my health/I forgot all the feelings that I felt when I’m with you”, describing a scenario we all relate to. It is essential to focus on what you have in your life and not waste too much time on what is missing. Ultimately, the real ‘wealth’ lies in the people you love and the ability to push forward—even if it is against all odds.
The crowd is in control. A good show for Have Mercy is all about the audience reaction. Music is their job, and they take our enjoyment seriously. Johnson says, “If the crowd is really vibe-ing, I’m going to have a good time.” He went on to explain, “It’s kind of like anything you do. Say you work in retail (or any job) and your boss doesn’t really appreciate what you are doing (at work). Then you’re not going to do well at your job.” Approaching each performance with a strong work ethic allows Have Mercy to ensure the fans will have as much fun as they do. And it works! Have Mercy songs resonate with their audience featuring music so poignant that listeners become participants as they sing along with every tune. The music winds around the lyrics to tell epic tales of life that touch your heart and stay there. It is virtually impossible to walk away without feeling something.
Push forward. Have Mercy hit the ground running on their first headlining tour, but they have no plans to slow down yet. Their current release, A Place of Our Own, is climbing the charts and available now. This summer, they will play Warped Tour from beginning to end, a fall tour is in the works, and they will continue to work on their third full-length album.