What began as the solo recording project of singer/songwriter Grace Rowland Park, the group formed its core membership in 2012 under the band name Grace Park & The Deer, and released An Argument for Observation. The songs have a dark, folky feel; eerily lilting melodies with unexpected subjects like stalking, mysterious neighbors, and violent clashes. Through the recording process they found a spark lit by natural chemistry, on and off the stage, and they began performing and touring together with alternating guests – some of whom ended up becoming permanent members. Grace’s screen-printed cover art would later be a finalist for Austin Music Industry Awards’ Best Album Art for 2014.
In 2013, they suffered the devastating loss of dear friend and band member Stephanie Bledsoe to an accident on her farm. The group rallied under the name The Deer, and collaborated on songs dedicated to her memory for their second release, On the Essence of the Indomitable Spirit (2015). Dark with a tinge of hope, it features special guests Dennis Ludiker (Asleep at the Wheel), Roger Sellers (Bayonne), Trevor Smith (Wood & Wire), Karl Kummerle, and Noah Jeffries (MilkDrive). With a maturing sound, The Deer were runners-up for the Austin Music Awards’ Best Performing Folk Band that year, and began touring more frequently.
The group won the 2018 Austin Music Award for Best Performing Folk Band, and were recent recipients of a major grant from Austin music patron organization Black Fret, and are currently nominated for an Austin Music Award for Best Folk Band. They have played their hometown Austin’s Moody Theater and the Legendary Stubb’s, as well as The Boulder Theater, The Fox Theatre (Boulder), and The Rex Theater (Pittsburgh). They’ve played Kerrville Folk Festival, Old Settler’s, Utopiafest, WinterWonderGrass, Oregon Country Fair, Campout for the Cause, Americanafest, SXSW, Northwest String Summit, and more. They have co-billed with Elephant Revival, Big Thief, Bayonne, Fruition, Wild Child, and Calliope Musicals. The Deer are currently recording a new album, while simultaneously touring across the universe.