"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

The Barons are back in town

A deep dive into Wake Forest’s favorite band
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Josh Satterly
Peyton Alley, lead singer of The Barons, performs at Wake Forest.

The sun was blazing when Peyton Alley woke up in the Walmart parking lot in Winston-Salem on Saturday, Sept. 2. The lead singer of The Barons had played at Auburn University the previous night in southern Alabama and then drove eight and a half hours overnight with his bandmates in order to make it in time to play at the Labor Day weekend party hosted by Chi Psi, Lambda, SAE and Sigma Chi at Wake Forest.

It was 83 degrees by 3 p.m. when Alley and his fellow band members, Josiah Ragland, Kirtland Gray and Mathes Glymph, played through the grueling heat as students sported their red, white and blue attire. 

State-hopping isn’t unusual for The Barons. They have toured across America on their own and as a supporting group for artists such as Judah and the Lion, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Barns Courtney. Alley says touring has allowed them to experience so many different types of people and places, which has been a huge inspiration for their work, specifically their EP, “rock! or go to the association,” which was released June 2.

Their most popular song, “American High,” is an alternative rock ode to American youth culture that is in line with the band’s motif of exploring the ups and downs of mental health in your twenties through writing music. 

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“It’s purposefully written as a confidence boosting song,” Alley said. “Sometimes when we try to love ourselves, it can come across as prideful or arrogant. But at the end of the day, we all still need to love ourselves.”

The band has been performing all across the United States, especially at Southern Universities such as UVA, Clemson, UNC and, of course, Wake Forest. The band has been playing at Wake Forest since 2019 and frequently plays for Greek life events. Last year, The Barons played at Wake ‘N Shake and revived the tiring crowd in the event’s final hours.

Wake Forest students Kaia Paulsen and Mary Caroline McCormack originally saw The Barons together at a Greek life event off campus but then traveled to Charlotte to see them perform again. The band recognized them in the crowd and ended up giving them free band shirts and stickers for coming to the show.

“They’re just so genuine,” McCormack said. “They always are willing to stick around after shows to take pictures and just chat with everyone. They put so much into their music and give off such awesome energy.”

Bridging the Gap

The Barons have a way of bridging the gap between students involved in Greek life and those who aren’t. Their original songs ring true to the experience of being a young adult who’s confused about life, which resonates with their youthful audience. 

Sometimes when we try to love ourselves, it can come across as prideful or arrogant. But at the end of the day, we all still need to love ourselves.

— Peyton Alley

They’ve built a large fan base within the Wake Forest community that supersedes social divisions. Ultimately, after a long week at “Work Forest,” everyone just wants to hear some live music and be outside with their friends.

“There can definitely be that stereotype of fitting into different cliques or different groups,” Alley said. “I think that’s kind of misunderstood with us sometimes, because we do play a lot of Greek life stuff, which can be seen as cliquey and cliche for colleges. But I’ve really experienced a lot of love and support from students. They get along and all come to our show, which I think is really neat.” 

In an age where live music is on the decline, and the gap between famous bands and smaller bands is expanding, The Barons provide an environment where the focus is on rock music rather than just partying. Alley notes that the intimacy of smaller audiences is what enhances the experience for the band in a way that larger stadium shows can’t provide.

“There’s just something special about seeing somebody do their craft in the same way. Instead of going to a McDonald’s, you go to a nice restaurant where you can tell the chef takes pride in his work and in his food” Alley said. “You can taste that love in their food, right? And in that way, we want our music to be palatable to all types of people.”

Paulsen credits The Barons for bringing Wake Forest students together through live music. “It’s nice to see people coming out to support the arts and hear live music rather than just standing in a backyard and drinking,” she said.

The Barons look forward to continuing their tour of the East Coast with their newest band member, Jack Peacock, and showcasing their newest single, “Gator.” The Barons will return to Wake Forest on Oct. 21. Alley says their ideal gig would be to play at The Ramkat in Winston-Salem.

“Whoever is listening on the other side — get us there,” Alley said. “I think we’ll sell our tickets if we play there, and it’ll be a really good time.”

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About the Contributor
Virginia Noone, Photography Editor
Virginia Noone is a junior studying Critical and Creative Media. She grew up in Bridgeport, West Virginia but moved to Dennis, Massachusetts during the COVID-19 pandemic. She loves walking the Reynolda Trails, listening to her curated Spotify playlists and watching movies. She can usually be seen with her Canon camera, which she has named Lennon after the famous member of The Beatles.

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