Although the crowd at District Coffee House was small on Aug. 4, the sound from husband-wife team Gabe and Myra Gleason—a.k.a. pop duo Stereo RV—was big enough to fill every corner of the spare space. By the end of the night, it was hard to tell what captivated the audience more: the combination of Gabe’s beatboxing, which stands in for a rhythm section, and Myra’s powerful, emotional vocals, or the real-life stories behind their inspiring lyrics.
- Lex Nelson
- Myra and Gabe Gleason, a.k.a. Stereo RV, performing positive anthems at District Coffee House.
The performance at District was the second stop on a national tour to promote Stereo RV's debut EP, Human (Watersound, 2017), which features catchy songs about loving and living in the face of adversity, most of which are based on Myra’s personal experiences and her work with Oregon foster kids.
“I really wanted to share their hearts,” Myra told the crowd, explaining the album’s title track. “I wanted to write stories through their eyes, and ['Human'] was the first song that came out of that.”
Like many tracks on the album, “Human” explores the struggle for home and identity, and how positivity can help overcome it. With Myra’s rich, butter-smooth voice as a vehicle, the message of lyrics like “I’m a free spirit proving I exist” and “I’m just trying to be human” hit home for even the most well-adjusted listener. Songs like “Runaways,” “Who Am I,” and “The One”—which chronicles Myra’s emotional journey after Capitol Records turned her down because she couldn’t become “a Carrie Underwood size two”—echo the same sentiment.
- Lex Nelson
- Myra Gleason of Stereo RV pours emotion and personal experience into her powerful voice.
The evolution of Stereo RV has been rocky for the Portland, Oregon-based couple: After meeting at a singing competition, they formed a duo called Pending Black, a name they left
behind after a confused crowd of bikers—expecting heavy metal, not Justin Bieber covers and original love songs—roared away mid-performance. After a re-vamp of both their image and approach, the Gleasons chose the moniker Stereo RV as an homage to the home on wheels they’ve been practicing in since getting hitched.
The way Gabe described Stereo RV song “Free”—as “controlled emotion: joy or something darker”—seems like an accurate portrayal of the band overall, and Stereo RV's cover of the Gloria Gaynor hit “I Will Survive” was a smashing and appropriate end to the set. If you know someone who lives in one of the cities Stereo RV's tour, send them to a show. They'll thank you for it.