The intimate setting of people gathered together for a backyard concert is the kind of gig Arrow & Ember loves to perform, but on big stages or small, their passion for connecting with the audience through the music shines through. After playing together for thirteen years, the husband and wife duo easily draws audiences into their songs like a familiar embrace. Their upcoming debut EP, Eyes on the Prize, delivers with melodic folk/alternative songs about grace, hope, and faith.
Of Creativity & Real Life
Ben & Marla Kruse indeed have a passion for music, but what sets them apart is their resolve to create beautiful and compelling songs while juggling the responsibilities of raising a family. With 4 children and day jobs—Ben is a teacher and Marla is a part-time CPA—the two still manage to write, record, and produce songs that dig deep lyrically and melodically. The couple has also led worship at their local church for the past ten years.
It was through playing classical guitar in college that Marla found her voice. Lead vocalist for Arrow & Ember, Marla is also the principal songwriter for the duo. Combining her passion for songwriting with her passion for Christ, she crafts beautiful songs that share her heart and soul.
“Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.”
Referencing a quote by D.W. Winnicott, Ben describes both the tension & freedom he and Marla find in collaborating as Arrow & Ember. Through many challenging circumstances and life stages they’ve kept their eyes on the prize - writing and sharing songs together in front of an audience. But, like most creative endeavors, it hasn't been simple or easy. When studio recording didn’t fit in with their budget, family or jobs, the couple purchased audio equipment and created their own recording space. In the process, Ben discovered a love for recording and mixing. When a hand injury forced Ben to put down his guitar for a time, he discovered a talent for piano and music production. Now, the two often work together at night while the kids are sleeping or during "recording weekends" when Grandma takes the kids.
But the obstacles they’ve overcome go beyond a hand injury and finding time to record together. “As a couple, we’ve also walked through some painful relational difficulties,” says Ben. “All couples do, of course, but we've slowly persevered through significant financial difficulty, fear, relational isolation, and bouts of depression. God is still bending us toward himself through trials, but we always come out on the other side more whole and with a greater intimacy with each other and Him. It's God's grace and promises that have buoyed and supported us beyond these things. We want to share our story of grace through our art and music.” Symbolizing their commitment to rely on God through hard times, Marla was inspired to create a rendition of the classic spiritual, Eyes on the Prize, title track on their Spring 2017 EP.