Independent rock band Magnolia Bayou’s star apparently is on the rise. The band is scheduled to release its new album Strange Place Thursday. The album’s release is just one of the good things happening for the band. Its release comes on the heels of an announcement by the band that it has signed a new deal with The Kirby Organization to book its live dates. When live performances are allowed to return, it goes without saying that audiences will enjoy hearing the music from Strange Place just as much as they will in hearing it on record. That is due in part to the record’s musical content. This item will get is own attention shortly. The record’s lyrical content couples with its musical accompaniment to make for even more entertainment and engagement. It will be discussed a little later. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make Strange Place work that audiences will find anything but strange.
Magnolia Bayou’s new album Strange Place is a record that creates a place that audiences will enjoy visiting time and again. That is proven in part through its arrangements. The arrangements in question boast so many influences, yet at the same time still maintain each song’s own unique identity. From Lynyrd Skynyrd to Led Zeppelin to AC/DC and The Allman Brothers Band to some of the greatest names in the history of blues, the arrangements show such diversity in their influences. That applies both within the songs themselves and from one to the next. ‘Sleepin’ in the Doghouse’ is a prime example of how some of the noted influences come together in one song. The guitar arrangement and keyboards instantly lend themselves to comparisons to works from The Allman Brothers Band while front man Andrew Fulton’s vocal delivery style is more of a funky/bluesy southern rock style approach. It doesn’t have the same soulfulness of Gregg Allman, but that is not a bad thing. It presents its own unique style approach. All of that, together with the song’s rich bass and drums , makes the song a work whose bluesy southern roots rock presentation such an infectious work. Even with its noted influences, the arrangement in whole still boasts its own unique identity that audiences will enjoy time and again.
Where ‘Sleepin’ in the Doghouse’ presents a variety of influences within its arrangement, ‘Hands in the Dirt’ offers audiences a purer southern rock style approach and sound. What’s really interesting here is that the noted sound is more akin to modern southern rock bands, such as Black Stone Cherry, Moonshine & Outlaws, and Charm City Devils than to veteran acts, such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers. The guitar riff forms a solid foundation for the song. When it joins with the equally rich bass, drums and vocals, the whole becomes just as infectious as the arrangement featured in ‘Sleepin’ in the Dog House’ and any of the album’s other works. What is really interesting to note here is that while the comparison that is noted is to works from the band’s contemporaries, one can still hear how southern rock evolved from the works of Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band to works from the noted modern southern rock acts. So that end, the song shows even more why it helps to make Strange Place a strong new offering from Magnolia Bayou.
The arrangement at the center of ‘Sweet Magnolia,’ the latest single from Strange Place is another way in which the album’s arrangements prove so important to its whole. While the noted arrangements featured in ‘Sleepin’ in the Doghouse’ and ‘Hands in the Dirt’ exhibit southern rock and blues influences, this song adds in a certain country music influence. The influence from The Allman Brothers Band is audible here again. At the same time, one can also argue that a comparison can be made to works from country act Zac Brown Band. The juxtaposition of the reserved nature of the song’s verses and slightly lighter chorus sections makes for even more impact. When this is considered along with the impact of the other noted arrangements and those of the album’s other songs, the importance of the album’s arrangements is obvious. They are just a portion of what makes the album work as well as it does. The record’s lyrical content adds its own touch to that presentation.
The lyrical content that is featured throughout Strange Place is relatively accessible in this own right. Case in point is the lyrical content featured in ‘Sleepin’ in the Doghouse.’ This is a song sung from the standpoint of someone who has done something to really upset his woman. That is mad clear as Fulton sings in the song’s chorus, that the song’s subject is “sleeping in the doghouse/While the dog is sleeping in his bed.” If this isn’t a classic blues type line, nothing is. The rest of the song follows in similar fashion, too. Again, this in its own way shows why the album’s lyrical content is so important to its presentation. It’s a song to which plenty of men can relate. What’s more the classic blues style lyrical approach is such a welcome throwback. It makes the song that much more engaging and entertaining. It is just one of the ways in which the record’s lyrical content proves so important to its whole. ‘Hurricane’ is another way in which the record’s lyrical content proves so important.
The song whose musical arrangement is also comparable to works from the likes of Marc Broussard, finds Fulton telling a story about an elderly man telling the story of his life. At the same time, he relates his life story to how he was weathered so many hurricanes that have ravaged Louisiana. The old man goes so far as to tell in his story, “I was born in the rain on Lake Pontchartrain/underneath the Louisiana moon/I don’t mind the strain of a hurricane/That come around here…The high black water/The devil’s daughter/She’s hard and she’s cold and she’s mean…It takes a lotta water to wash away New Orleans.” Some of the lyrics here are a little difficult to decipher without a lyrics sheet to reference. However, between what is understandable here and a reference to a man who came from Chicago in order to start a company tells even more. The song in whole is a statement about the resiliency of people who live in New Orleans and Louisiana versus others who come in from other areas. In other words, the song is a tribute to the state and the famed old city. It is a presentation that will prove memorable for any listener and just one more example of what makes the records lyrical content so important. ‘Hands in the Dirt’ is yet another example of what makes the album’s lyrical content worth addressing.
The lyrical featured in ‘Hands in the Dirt’ comes across as a statement of personal perseverance. That is inferred right from the song’s lead verse, which finds Fulton singing, “Lost my heart/But I found my soul/Buried deep beneath this broken road/Drive those tears from my eyes/Before I ripped it up/And held it to the sky/I can hear the wind cry/Said I need to follow the path of hope is why/I put my hands in the dirt/Climb by way out of this hole…” The rest from there is a little difficult to decipher sans lyrics, but more than enough is able to be understood to know that the message here is that of pushing on through life’s bad times. It is a familiar message that is just as welcome here as it is from any other band in any other form. Fulton continues the message in the song’s second verse, noting, “Shallow people dig a shallow grave/Forget about ‘em…washed away my troubled waters/All that’s left is the slaughter.” Here he seems to be making a statement about not letting certain obstacles (including people) get in the way in life. That again continues the noted message of perseverance. Keeping that in mind, the song’s lyrical content is just as valuable to this record as that already discussed and the rest of the album’s lyrical content. When all of the lyrical content is considered together, it leaves zero doubt as to its importance to the album’s presentation. When it is considered along with the album’s musical content, that whole makes even clearer why this record is such a positive presentation from Magnolia Bayou. The collective content is just one part of what makes the record work as well as it does. The sequencing thereof puts the finishing touch to the presentation.
The album’s sequencing does its own part to keep listeners engaged and entertained as it ensures the record’s energy is balanced from start to end. The album starts out in high energy form in ‘Dig Deep’ but soon relaxes slightly as the stylistic approach changes in ‘Sugarspell.’ That song and its immediate follow-up ‘Preachin’ Blues’ are both laid back, bluesy compositions. The record’s relaxed nature finally reaches a breaking point of sorts as it transitions into ‘From The Other Side.’ While its arrangement is an overall brooding work, it breaks things up and really gets heavy in its second half, changing things up again stylistically. The energy changes up again from there, eventually picking up again near the end of ‘The Robber.’ ‘Hurricane,’ ‘Tupelo’ and ‘Sweet Magnolia’ pull the album’s energy back again before it closes out strongly in ‘Thieves.’ The short and simple of the record’s sequencing is that it starts off strong and never really loses its energy as it progresses. This is the case even as the stylistic approaches and sounds change from one song to the next. The energy is still well-balanced even in the more relaxed, bluesy works. That one moment near the album’s end when it really does pull back is only temporary. In other words, audiences will remain just as engaged and entertained by the record thanks to the sequencing of its content as for the content itself. When all three elements are considered together, they make Strange Place a record that audiences will find anything but strange.
Magnolia Bayou’s forthcoming album Strange Place is a strong offering that will appeal widely to fans of classic rock, southern rock and blues alike. That is proven in part through the record’s musical arrangements, which exhibit so many influences from the noted musical realms. The lyrical themes that are presented alongside the record’s musical arrangements are just as common from one of the noted genres to the next. That plays even more into the album’s appeal. The sequencing of the noted content puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation. Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of the record. All things considered, they make Strange Place a record a presentation that will take listeners to a fond, familiar place. The album is scheduled for release Thursday. More information on Strange Place is available along with all of Magnolia Bayou’s latest news at:
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