The Nervous Eaters premiered its latest single and video over the weekend.
The band debuted its new single, ‘Wild Eyes‘ and its companion video Friday. The song is featured in the band’s forthcoming album, Monsters & Angels, whose release date is under consideration. The record is expected for release through Wicked Cool Records.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Wild Eyes’ is a light rock style composition. It is easily comparable to works from the likes of Bruce Springsteen and to a lesser extent, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
The song’s lyrical theme centers on a woman of high breeding, according to front man Steve Cataldo.
“Stevie Van Zandt chose ‘Wild Eyes’ as the first single from our new album Monsters & Angels,” he said. “A textured, melodic rocker that paints a portrait of a beautiful, complex woman who views life through the lens of her sophisticated imagination.”
The song’s video features that woman going about her life as the band performs its new single on a stage setting. Cataldo had the following to say of the video.
“Filmmaker Vincent Straggas created a compelling video for ‘Wild Eyes,’ he said. “His idea to give the actress a camera through which she can capture passing moments conveys the intent of the song extremely well. She has a distinct, idiosyncratic point of view and experiences the world through inquisitive, open, wild eyes.”
In other news, the band has a series of live dates scheduled for this summer and fall. The dates are all noted below.
JUL 15 FRI
Brighton Music Hall @ 7:00pm
Allston, MA, United States
AUG 11 THU
The Music Room @ 7:00pm
West Yarmouth, MA, United States
OCT 15 SAT
Geno’s Rock Club @ 7:00pm
Portland, ME, United States
NOV 5 SAT
The Burren @ 7:00pm
Somerville, MA, United States
More information on The Nervous Eaters’ new single, video, album, and live dates is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Musician/author Mickey Leigh and his band mates in Mickey Leigh’s Mutated Music are scheduled to release the group’s new album, Vairants of Vibe next week through Wicked Cool Records. Set for release Feb. 18, the 14-song record has already shown great potential through the singles that it has already produced. They have shown greatly, how the record’s musical arrangements and lyrical content make the record so enjoyable. They are just a small sample of how that content makes the record engaging and entertaining, too. The record boasts plenty of other songs that do just that, too. ‘Brave Old World,’ which comes late in the album’s 40-minute run, is another solid example of the record’s strength. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Loneliness,’ which comes a little earlier in the album, is another good example of what makes the album worth hearing. It will be discussed a little later. Much the same can be said of ‘Spanish Eyes,’ which comes even earlier in the record. It will also be examined later. Each song noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. When they are considered along with the album’s singles and with the rest of the album’s other songs, the whole makes the album overall the first truly great new independent album.
Variants of Vibe, the new album from Mickey Leigh’s Mutated Music, is a truly promising offering from the group. That is thanks to its featured musical arrangements, as its current singles have already shown. They are just a sample of how that content makes the album so engaging and entertaining. The record is full of interesting entries, not the least of which is the late entry, ‘Brave Old World.’ The musical arrangement featured in ‘Brave Old World’ is a great, catchy composition. Leigh’s vocal delivery alone conjures thoughts of Tom Petty and Billy Joel. Yes, that sounds like quite the odd pairing, but it really is evident here. The Billy Joel comparison builds even more with the introduction of the saxophones and the way in which the rhythm section is accented here. The subtle use of the piano alongside those elements builds even more on that comparison. The thing is that even with such comparison, the less than two minute arrangement still boasts its own identity. What’s more, even clocking in at less than two minutes, Leigh and company somehow manage to make the song feel more along the lines of a standard three-minute-plus work in the best way possible. The group really makes the song last, which is certain to leave any listener fulfilled. When the engagement and entertainment guaranteed by the arrangement pairs with the song’s lyrical theme, the song gains even more traction.
It is just this critic’s interpretation that the lyrical theme featured in ‘Brave Old World’ is that of someone just appreciating the world. This is especially inferred as Leigh sings that “Nothing ever changes/But something changes every day/So I ain’t seen nothing like this/Brave old world.” That brief statement speaks volumes. It comes across as that old adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Even as much as that is the case, the subject still seems to wonder at how much changes even as things stay the same. It is a positive viewpoint that will resonate with audiences. He continues, “Nothing’s here to stay/Except yesterday/And the day before that/Maybe true/But it’s not a fact/Still my heart/While you take another beat/Now don’t you feel smart/You better stand up/While you take your seat/They say that time is….But it never went away/I see the setting sun around me/In a brave old world.” All of this collectively, with that final statement, paints a picture of someone who just seems to appreciate being alive, despite everything. He is reminding others to make the most of each day. Again, this is just this critic’s own interpretation. When this seeming theme pairs with the equally upbeat, positive energy in the song’s musical arrangement, the whole makes the song a clear example of why the record’s musical and lyrical content makes it so enjoyable.
‘Brave Old World’ is just one of the many songs that shows the album’s strength. ‘Loneliness’ which comes a little earlier in the album’s run, is another example of how much that content has to offer audiences. The song’s musical arrangement is a stark departure from that of ‘Brave Old World’ and the album’s other entries. Where ‘Brave Old World’ presented a blend of influences from the likes of Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, ‘Loneliness’ presents clear influence from Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Leigh himself even somehow manages to make his voice morph into a blend of the two what with the drawl and gritty delivery style. That, paired with the reserved guitar line and steady, plodding tempo points the finger to the noted influences even more. When considered alongside the arrangement in ‘Brave Old World’ and in the album’s current singles, it is one more example of the diversity in sounds and styles in the album’s musical arrangements. It is fully engaging and entertaining, too because of its richness. When the depth in the arrangement pairs with the song’s lyrical theme, the song in whole becomes that much more engaging and entertaining.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘Loneliness’ is about exactly that. It is sung from the standpoint of someone who is all alone. Thanks to the drawl that Leigh incorporates into his vocal delivery, some of the lyrics are difficult to decipher sans lyrics to reference. However, enough can be understood that listeners can infer this is literally about someone who is alone. There is no direct reference about a broken relationship or anything of the sort. It is, plain and simple, about being alone and the mental and emotional impact thereof. The way in which Leigh delivers the seeming theme paints a picture of someone sitting alone at a table, glass and bottle in hand at one point. At others, images of people just being alone in various situations arise. It is all so rich, it makes for a perfect chance for a single and video. Yes, that is a blatant recommendation to Leigh and everyone at Wicked Cool Records. When the song’s lyrical theme and musical arrangement are combined, they make the song in whole yet another key example of what makes the album so enjoyable, and hardly the last, too. ‘Spanish Fly,’ another of the album’s early entries, continues to show the album’s strength.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Spanish Fly’ is another change in sound and style for the album. The arrangement, in this case, finds Leigh morphing his vocals yet again, this time making himself sound like none other than Billy Idol. The production and the instrumentation adds to that comparison to works from the famed rocker, especially the pairing of the bass and drums with Leigh’s vocals. The mid-tempo composition is another change in style, too. It further adds to the arrangement’s overall uniqueness and in turn interest. When the engagement and entertainment ensured through the song’s arrangement pairs with the song’s accessible lyrical theme, the whole becomes that much more enjoyable.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘Spanish Fly’ comes across as being sung by a man who is rather entranced by a woman. This is inferred as Leigh sings, about the woman looking at him “with those Spanish eyes”. He even sings in this song about the woman being his first love and being breathless from that first kiss. In other words, this song is a love song. It is just presented musically in a unique way that makes the all too familiar theme bearable. When the song’s musical arrangement and lyrical theme are paired together, they make the song yet another example of just how much the song has to offer. What’s more, when the song is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the album’s singles and other songs, the whole makes Variants of Vibe in whole a complete success.
Variants of Vibe, the new album from Mickey Leigh’s Mutated Music is a solid new offering of rock for fans of said genre. The album’s success is due to its musical and lyrical content. All thee of the songs examined here do well to make that clear. When they are considered along with the album’s current singles and with the rest of its songs, the whole makes the whole makes this record the first truly great new independent album of 2022.
Variants of Vibe is scheduled for release Feb. 18 through Wicked Cool Records. More information on the album is available along with all of the latest news from Mickey Leigh’s Mutated Music at:
Alt-rock act The Nomadic took on the role that mistakes play in our lives in its latest single this week.
The act, founded by Robert Gaylard, debuted the single, ‘Grand Mistakes‘ Friday. The premiere of the song by itself more than four months after Gaylard debuted the song’s video. The song’s musical arrangement is a gentle, flowing composition that is grounded in its piano line. Gaylard’s vocals and performance on guitar build on the appeal generated through that piano line. The whole lends itself to comparison to works from the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan.
Gaylard talked about the song’s musical arrangement in a prepared statement.
“‘Grand Mistakes’ is, along with ‘Under a Georgia Sky,’ one of the first songs I wrote on piano,” said Gaylard. “I am excited to see what Nomadic fans think of it! It is probably a little different to the singles we have put out so far. And I hope it moves and inspires people in different ways.”
Gaylard also talked about the message in the song’s lyrical theme in the statement.
“It is really a song that captures the essence of the fact that we learn and grow from our greatest mistakes, and also, if we choose to, we can stop family trauma and repeat mistakes from continuing in a vicious cycle,” he said.
Added Gaylard, “This is a song that addresses the theme of conflict, reconciliation and learning from mistakes. for most of my professional life, I have worked in situations of conflict, including Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, and Israel and Palestine. I have often paused to reflect on the damage such conflict does, not only on those who directly participate, but the trauma that gets passed on, to families from generation to generation. That is, more or less, the theme of Grand Mistakes!”
More information on The Nomadic’s new single is available online along with all of the group’s latest news at:
Independent singer-songwriter Ryan Hamilton made a big splash last year with his album, Nowhere To Go But Everywhere alongside his band, The Harlequin Ghosts. Now more than a year after the record’s release, Hamilton is scheduled to return Friday with its follow-up, his new solo record, 1221. With barely more than a month left in the quickly aging year, most critics will agree the 12-song record has shaken up their lists of the year’s top new independent albums. That is proven from the beginning to end of the 42-minute presentation through its musical and lyrical content alike. ‘Déjà Vu I Love You’ is a prime example of the strength of that collective content. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Babies’ is another way in which the record’s overall content shows the album’s appeal. It will be discussed a little later. ‘Ready To Love Again,’ is yet another example of how much this record has to offer audiences. It will also be discussed later. When it is considered along with the other two songs noted her and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole shows the record to be unquestionably one more of the year’s top new independent albums.
More than a year after the release of his then latest album, Nowhere To Go But Everywhere (which made its way to this critic’s list of 2020’s top new independent albums), Ryan Hamilton is set to go two for two with his new solo record, 1221. Composed of singles that he released over the course of 2021, the record is yet another example of Hamilton’s talent as a singer, songwriter, and musician. This is proven from beginning to end of this nearly 45-minute presentation from early on in its run. ‘Déjà vu I Love You’ is a prime way in which this is proven. The song’s appeal comes in part through its musical arrangement, which takes audiences back to the 90s right from its outset. The combination of Hamilton’s vocals and the song’s instrumentation immediately lends the arrangement to comparison to works from the likes of Weezer, Marcy Playground, and so many other pop rock acts that rose to fame during the mid-90s. The vocal harmonies and those crated by the bass and guitar are infectious from the song’s opening notes to its end. The production that went into the song gives the whole, including the work on drums and bass, such a rich presentation. Again, the whole is certain to completely engage and entertain audiences throughout the song’s three minute-plus run time. The upbeat energy and positive vibes established through the arrangement work well with the song’s lyrical theme, which is the familiar topic of love found.
The theme of love found is obvious in ‘Déjà Vu I Love You’ right in the song’s title. It is even more so as Hamilton sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “A slow dance/In the fast lane/The romance/The pleasure and the pain/You put your heart up/But then it fell/Because it feels right/Man, it’s heaven/But it’s how you make a promise/And you keep it/You wanna shout it/But it’s a secret/Hey, you got it wrong, man/But it’s right now/You can’t help it/You’re gonna shout it out loud/Baby, I love you/Baby, I love you/You give me déjà vu/Baby, I love you.” If that is not proof enough of this song’s theme, then nothing is. The rest of the song follows similarly in its lyrical theme, so there is really no need to continue from there. Again, this so excited mood that is exemplified here matches so well with the energy and mood in the song’s arrangement. When all of this is paired together, it makes the song a clear example of how much the album overall has to offer through its content. ‘Babies’ is another example of the impact of the album’s content on its appeal.
‘Babies’ is quite opposite of ‘Déjà Vu I Love You’ both musically and lyrically. Where the prior song is so optimistic and happy, this song’s musical arrangement is more of a folk-pop style composition in its musical arrangement. In listening to this song’s arrangement, one can’t help but wonder if Hamilton perhaps took some influence from John Lennon and/or The Beatles or maybe even some from Bob Dylan and/or Bruce Springsteen here. The arrangement has that sort of neo pop-folk approach in its light, contemplative mood and mid-tempo energy. There is a sense of melancholy here, but it is not so strong that it will bring anyone down. Rather, it is a contemplative melancholy that matches its lyrical counterpart well in its own right.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘Babies’ is a social commentary, despite what its title might infer. It is a commentary about the state of the world today. This is made clear right from the song’s outset as Hamilton sings, “Little babies/In bathrooms/Getting high/Little babies/In little cars/Flying by/Geneation X/Generation Y/The world’s so hard sometimes/It makes me cry/And where we are/That’s where we will be/Everything changes as far as I can see/But one thing stays the same/Everybody’s always looking for someone to blame.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Little babies holding whips/Sinking boats and building ships/And bright, blue buildings in the sky/And never wondering/Why/God made it all to be destroyed/Every baby girl and every baby boy/Everything you do is safe/The only thing you’ll ever have is today.” The added notes of “little babies looking for flags to burn” and everybody being afraid adds even more to that commentary. The fully, straight forward fashion in which Hamilton delivers the commentary avoids any preachy nature while still presenting so much depth. It makes the song so much more accessible even with the theme being so familiar across the musical universe. That, considered along with the song’s arrangement, makes for even more accessibility and in turn shows that much more what makes 1221 in whole such an enjoyable presentation. It is hardly the last of the record’s most notable songs. ‘Ready To Love Again,’ the record’s closer is yet another of the most notable of the album’s songs.
‘Ready To Love Again’ is notable because as with the other songs examined here, its arrangement does so well to engage and entertain audiences. The arrangement’s sound and instrumentation does just as well to help translate the mood and wording in the song’s lyrical theme. As the song’s title infers, this is a song about someone who is apparently coming off of the heartbreak of a breakup. Everybody who has ever been through a breakup knows the emotional difficulty of opening his/her heart back to love. The somber tone exhibited by the simplicity of Hamilton’s vocals and the piano here does so well to translate those mixed emotions that one feels when they “might be ready to love again.” The gentle tone from the cello alongside the piano adds even more emotional depth to the arrangement and translates that mood and mindset that so many people feel in this situation. Kudos to Hamilton and all involved for their work here. It made this arrangement so beautiful and powerful in its simplicity.
As noted, the lyrical theme that accompanies the musical arrangement in ‘Ready To Love Again’ is in fact about that very topic, being at that point of being cautiously ready to give love a chance again. He translates that moment so well here lyrically, too as he sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Built a big wall/One that won’t fall/I hope you’re real strong/Good luck getting’ through here/I’ve got a big heart/It’s covered in big scars/We’ve all got our reasons/And sad stories to tell/I think I might be ready/Think I might be ready to love again/I think I might be ready/Think I might be ready to love again. He continues in the song’s second verse, “No more small talk/Let’s go for a long walk/Take my hand/And hold on tight/Broken hearted/But just getting started/I know you’ve got questions/And to tell you the truth/I think I might be ready/Think I might be ready to love again/I think I might be ready/Think I might be ready to love again.” The cautious optimism that Hamilton’s subject expresses here will connect with any listener. The manner in which he delivered that optimism through the song’s lyrical presentation is just so moving, along with the song’s musical arrangement. When the two items are joined, they show even more clearly at this point why this song stands out among the album’s entries. When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of 1221 becomes a work that is a complete joy and success from start to end. It is a presentation that as with its predecessor, is among the best of the year’s new independent albums.
Ryan Hamilton’s new, forthcoming album 1221 is another strong new offering from the singer-songwriter-musician. It has much to offer audiences both in its musical and lyrical content. The songs examined here do well to support the noted statements. They openly exemplify the accessibility of that content and the entertainment that said accessibility generates, too. The same applies to the record’s other songs, too. All things considered, the content examined here and that which makes up the rest of this album makes the record another successful offering from Hamilton that is among the best of this year’s new independent albums.
1221 is scheduled for release Friday through Wicked Cool Records. More information on the album is available along with all of Ryan Hamilton’s latest news at:
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Overnight Smash’ is a classic rock-infused composition. There are hints of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and others interspersed throughout the course of the approximately three-minute opus. Listeners can even argue there is a slight influence from The Rolling Stones in the mix, too. The energy in the straight-driving composition is certain to keep audiences engaged and entertained in its own right.
The lyrical theme that accompanies the new song takes on a rarely discussed matter, but one that is relevant to everyone, and Conte talked about that topic during a recent interview.
“‘Overnight Smash’ is about professional jealousy,” he said. “Once somebody starts ‘getting somewhere’ in their career, there is always that crowd that, for whatever reason, got left behind in the dust, and then they like to s***-talk about ya.”
More information on Steve Conte’s new single and album is available along with all of his latest news at:
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Marc Ribler has made quite the name for himself over the course of his career, having worked with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zant, and Paul McCartney. Now this Friday, Ribler is poised to take a big step forward in his career, going from a supporting role to that of front man with his new solo album, The Whole World Awaits You. The record, which has already produced three successful singles, could make Ribler a star in his own right given the right support as those singles show. They are just a few of the songs that serve to support the noted statements. ‘Without You,’ one of the album’s late entries, serves in its own way to show the album’s strength. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Manzanillo,’ which comes just past the album’s midpoint, is another example of how much the record has to offer. It will be examined a little later. ‘This Is How The Song Goes,’ the album’s finale, is another example of the album’s appeal. It will also be discussed later. Each of the songs noted here does its own part to show why The Whole World Awaits You is appealing. When they are considered with the album’s existing trio of singles and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album a “whole” win for Marc Ribler and audiences alike.
Marc Ribler’s forthcoming solo album The Whole World Awaits You is a wholly successful new offering from the veteran singer/songwriter/guitarist. The album’s existing trio of singles goes a long way to support that statement. They are only some of the songs that show how much the album has to offer audiences. ‘Without You,’ which comes late in the album’s 12-song run, is also of note. The song’s musical arrangement is an instantly infectious composition that lends itself to comparison to works from Train just as much as from Tom Petty. Yes, those are two completely opposing acts, but are more alike than not, as this song shows. That is evidenced through the light use of the organ alongside the vocals and the equally subtle guitar, percussion and drums. The whole is a composition that is one of the album’s most radio ready works.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Without You’ does a lot to make the song appealing, and is just part of what makes it engaging and entertaining. The lyrical theme that accompanies the musical arrangement builds on that appeal even more. While the song’s title and some of its lyrics make it seem like a love song, the rest of the song proves to be more than just that. It also presents a social commentary of sorts in the song’s chorus that shames people on both sides of the aisle so to speak. That is evidenced as Ribler sings, “I don’t want to live in a world where everyone has an empty heart/I don’t want to live in a world where it still matters what color you are/I don’t want to live in a place where they watch every thing you say and do/I don’t want to live in a world without you.” On the one hand, yes, the romance aspect is there. At the same time, Ribler uses the opportunity to comment on the negative place that the world has reached; that place where we have to be so careful about every single thing that we say and do, and where our skin color still sadly matters so much. The romance aspect becomes more pronounced in the song’s lead verse, in which the song’s subject pronounces his/her love for that other person. This is made clear as Ribler sings, “Your love runs deep for me/Shows up in most everything/You lose your way and you fall down/I’ll be the one that you can count on/Help you understand/I’ll always be right there/You can let your feelings flow.” This is Ribler’s subject saying that things are bad in the world, but he/she will be there for that other person. It is a familiar lyrical topic in pop music, and is just as familiar in this case. The adoration for that other person continues in the song’s second verse and bridge, as the song’s subject praises and thanks that other person for being there. That accessible lyrical them and equally accessible musical arrangement is just as much of a positive addition to this album as the record’s singles. It is just one of so many examples of how much the album has to offer audiences, too. ‘Manzanillo,’ which comes just past the album’s midpoint, is another example of the album’s strength.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Manzanillo’ makes the song stand out because it stands out in itself. Whereas so much of the music featured in The Whole World Awaits You blurs the line between neo-classical, Americana, pop and rock, this song’s arrangement is a distinctly Latin-tinged composition. The dual guitar line, horns, and drums work with the claves to take listeners to Cuba from years ago. Meanwhile, Ribler’s vocal delivery maintains a more American pop sound and stylistic approach. The whole here is so infectious in its own right. When it pairs with the song’s lyrical theme, the two elements make the song even more engaging and entertaining.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘Manzanillo’ itself comes across as a tribute to the history of the Latin culture. This is inferred as Ribler makes mention of the ancient Mesoamerican peoples and their culture. He even makes mention of history repeating itself if we are not careful, perhaps making reference to how those cultures were wiped out and how our current world is doing itself in, too. This is all this critic’s own interpretation of course. His mention of his mother coming to him in a dream and warning about thing happening “in this land” lends itself even more to that inference. Considering all of this, the song’s lyrical theme definitely stands out from its counterparts in this album. That originality and identity pairs with the unique presence of the song’s musical arrangement to make the song stand out even more, as a key addition to the album. It is just one more way in which the album shows its strength. ‘This Is How The Song Goes,’ which closes out the album, is yet another example of what makes Ribler’s new album stand out.
The musical arrangement in ‘This Is How The Song Goes’ is just as unique as those in the songs addressed here and the rest of the album’s songs. To a certain point, the blues, almost psychedelic approach and sound here conjures thoughts of The Doors. At the same time, listeners can also argue that there is a hint of influence from The Beatles in the song’s arrangement, considering the strings and vocal harmonies. Once again, it is completely unlike anything else featured in this record, making even clearer the importance of the album’s musical content. The song’s musical arrangement is just one part of its identity. Its lyrical theme is just as unique.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘This Is How The Song Goes’ is just as thought-provoking as the song’s musical arrangement. It opens with Ribler singing, “A tree fell in the forest with no sound/Some things go up/But don’t come down/Tomorrow’s just a day we’ll leave behind/Only precious time…” What follows is difficult to decipher sans lyrics to reference considering the overly subtle way in which Ribler sings here, but what is understandable shows the deep metaphorical language that Ribler uses here. The mention of things being “in your dreams” in the song’s chorus is just as metaphorical even when the song’s lyrics can be deciphered. That what little can be deciphered is itself cryptic is interesting enough. When the rest of the song can be deciphered, the whole proves just as cryptic, ensuring even more engagement and discussion. That engagement and discussion pairs with the song’s equally interesting musical arrangement to make the song in whole yet another clear example of why The Whole World Awaits You deserves so much attention. When the song in whole is considered with the other songs examined here, the album’s singles, and the rest of its works, the whole makes the album a powerful new outing for Marc Ribler that could be the start of a very big career for him, given the right support.
Marc Ribler’s forthcoming solo album, The Whole World Awaits You is a presentation that is awaiting and deserves attention from audiences and radio stations nationwide. It is a unique presentation that shows Ribler, who has spent so much of his career as a supporting musician to bigger names, is ready to take his own place in the limelight. That is proven through each of the album’s singles and the songs examined here. The album’s remaining songs serve just as much to support the noted statements. Between the record’s unique (and accessible) musical arrangements and equally accessible lyrical content, the whole offers audiences much to appreciate. All things considered, the album proves itself to be among the best of this year’s new independent albums. It is scheduled for release Friday through Wicked Cool Records.
More information on Marc Ribler’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:
Veteran rock/Americana rock band The Wallflowers released its latest album Friday to kick off the weekend. The band’s seventh album, it ends a nearly nine year wait for new music from the band. The band’s established audiences are the most likely to find the record appealing. That is due in part to its featured musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. The album’s lyrical themes are also certain to appeal to a very targeted audience. They will be discussed a little later. The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later. Each item noted here is key in its own way to the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make the album a work that will find most of its appeal among The Wallflower’s established audience base.
The Wallflowers’ latest album Exit Wounds is a presentation that will appeal to a very targeted audience. That audience in question is the band’s established audience base. More casual listeners will find the album more appealing only in hearing it only occasionally. That is proven in part through the album’s featured musical arrangements. The arrangements are largely everything that audiences have come to expect from the band throughout its life. The same folksy/rock hybrid style sounds and arrangements are just as evident here as in the band’s existing catalog. The thing is that most of the songs, which are also easily comparable to works from Bruce Springsteen, are also noticeably melancholy in their sound and approach. That is also something that is normal from the band. However, there are some variants, such as the more pop rock style ‘The Dive bAr in My Heart’ (one can easily infer what this song is about just from that title) and in the much more Rolling Stones-esque ‘Who’s That Man Walking ‘Round My Garden?’ Of course the prior, with its more pop style sound and approach, is still akin to existing works from The Wallflowers in its own right, too. For the most part though, the record’s musical arrangements are mostly everything that audiences have come to expect. The surprises are few here. That is not to say that the record’s musical arrangements are a fail, but rather that they will appeal to the noted targeted audience.
Just as the musical portion of Exit Wounds will appeal to a specific audience base, so will its lyrical themes. The songs’ titles make relatively clear that the majority of those themes center on the topic of relationships. Case in point is the title ‘Darlin’ Hold On’ and another title, ‘The Daylight Between Us.’ Titles are just one thing, of course. A deeper look into the songs’ lyrics make this even clearer. The very lead verse of the album’s opener serves even more to support the noted statements. The song opens with front man Jakob Dylan singing, “There’s no fire beneath the smoke/No one’s got you up by the coat/Not a razor up to your throat/You can go anytime through the door/Maybe your heart’s not in it no more.” This is a clear, straight forward message. It is one person telling another that no one is making that second person do anything, and it just looks like that second person just doesn’t want to make the relationship work. The song’s second verse adds to the statement as Dylan sings, “It’s gone quiet/It’s gone cold/Acting like someone you don’t know/Used to rumble/Used to roar/Whatever it’s doing, it didn’t before/Maybe your heart’s not in it no more.” This is simple in its own way, too. The subject is saying things just aren’t what they were anymore. The song’s third verse follows in similar fashion, making even clearer, the song’s lyrical theme. That revelation serves even more to prove the statement that this record generally presents one specific theme.
As if that is not proof enough, a song, such as ‘Wrong End of the Spear’ hints at the theme of a relationship, too. Without a lyrics sheet to reference some of the content is difficult to decipher. However, just enough can be understood in this country-western style song that it can be inferred that the song is also centered on that noted topic. Dylan sings here about a person who apparently runs away at the first sign of trouble, leaving the song’s subject “on the wrong end of the spear.” In the song’s finale, the subject even mournfully makes note of that second person being gone, nowhere to be found. All of this again points to someone who is in a relationship that is anything but healthy.
Even in the aforementioned Rolling Stones-esque ‘Who’s That Man Walking ‘Round in My Garden?’ audiences get a song that seems to be about a relationship. In this case, the song’s subject sings in the lead verse about coming home after a long day, doesn’t expect any complaints, but he has to wonder “who’s that man walking ‘round in my garden?” This is a man who is seemingly wondering if his woman is cheating on him. He even adds in the song’s second verse, “under my nose/The lock is undone/Who is that man walking ‘round in my garden?” Again, this certainly comes across as a song about a man who suspects his woman is not being faithful. This after he mentions, “taking names.” This sure doesn’t seem like anything about anything but a relationship near its end. It is one more way in which the album’s lyrical themes show that they are apparently mostly about relationships. This is, again, something that will appeal more to the band’s established audiences more than casual listeners.
The musical and lyrical content featured throughout Exit Wounds’ body makes clear why it will appeal to a specific audience. Even with all of that examined, it is just part of the record that deserves examination. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements. The sequencing is important to examine because of the noted general sense established through the arrangements. The arrangements are, again, mostly very melancholy in their sound and approach. This means that those behind the boards had to pay special attention to each work so that audiences would not be left feeling completely depressed by the album’s end. Luckily, that painstaking effort paid off for the most part. The song starts off in quite melancholy fashion in ‘Maybe Your Heart’s Not In It No More’ but then picks up noticeably in the decidedly Tom Petty-influenced ‘Roots and Wings.’ This is important to note because lyrically, even this song focuses on a relationship that has reached its end. That energy continues on even into the obvious breakup song that is ‘The Dive Bar in My Heart.’ It is not until ‘Darlin’ Hold On,’ the album’s midpoint, that the album pulls its energy back again. Things pick right back up from there in ‘Move The River’ but then pulls right back again in ‘I’ll Let You Down (But I Won’t Give Up).’ The ups and downs of the album’s energy continues from there right to the album’s finale, ‘The Daylight Between Us.’ Looking back through all of this, is obvious that much time and thought was put into the album’s sequencing. The changes in the songs’ moods (and energies) is just subtle enough from one to the next to keep things interesting for the noted audiences. This aesthetic element works with the album’s content to even further solidify the album’s appeal among those listeners as a result. Keeping all of this in mind, the album proves worth hearing at least once among the band’s established audiences and more casual listeners.
The Wallflowers’ latest album, Exit Wounds, is a presentation that the band’s established will appreciate. That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements. The arrangements in question largely display a familiar sound and stylistic approach that is evident in the band’s existing catalog. The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements seems to follow one central topic, that of relationships. That centrality ensures even more, appeal among a very set audience. The record’s sequencing ensures that even with all of this in mind, its mood and energy remains as stable as possible. This even considering the melancholy nature of so much of the album’s content. The changes in the moods and energies are just subtle enough from one to the next that it keeps audiences just engaged enough. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this record. All things considered, they make the album worth hearing at least once, but sadly not much more, unless one is among the band’s established audience base. Exit Wounds is available now through New West Records. More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Marc Ribler offered audiences another preview of this new album over the weekend.
Ribler, who has worked with legendary music acts, such as Steven Van Zant, Bruce Springsteen, and Paul McCartney, premiered his new single, ‘Fly Away’ Friday. The song is the third from Ribler’s forthcoming album, The Whole World Awaits You, which is scheduled for release July 16 through Van Zant’s Wicked Cool Records. The song’s premiere follows that of ‘Who Could Ask For Anything More‘ and its video, and of the album’s lead single, ‘Shattered.’
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Fly Away’ is a gentle, semi-acoustic ballad. Its sound and stylistic approach bears a blend of southern rock with elements of Eagles, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen. The blending of those influences and sounds makes this composition interesting if only for this reason.
No information about the song’s lyrical theme was provided in the press release distributed about the song’s premiere. A close listen leads to the inference that the song centers on the all-too-familiar topic of a broken relationship. That is only this critic’s interpretation.
The full track listing for ‘The Whole World Awaits You‘ is noted below.
Early this month, independent music collective Royal Horses released its debut album A Modern Man’s Way To Improve to the masses. The 10-song record is a strong start for the band. It is a presentation that makes this band one of the next big names in the country and southern rock communities. That is proven in no small part to through the musical arrangements that make up the album’s 37-minute body. They will be addressed shortly. The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical content adds to the album’s appeal. It will be addressed a little later. The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation and will be addressed later, too. Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make the album a positive start for the up-and-coming outfit that is certain to appeal to a wide range of audiences.
Royal Horses’ debut album A Modern Man’s Way To Improve is a powerful start for the collective. It is a presentation whose appeal is far-reaching. This is proven in part through its musical arrangements. From start to end of the album, the band refuses to stick to just one sound and stylistic approach. There is some rock influence, such as in ‘Rattlesnake Smoking a Cigar,’ which comes late in the albums run. The song’s arrangement and sound is psychedelic. There are times in this four-and-a-half-minute opus that conjure thoughts of Jimi Hendrix while at others, there are hints of Clutch. Yes, it’s one heck of a combination, but it is balanced surprisingly well here and works just as well. On a completely different note, ‘Leave A Light’ presents an old school country music approach that will appeal to fans of Hank Williams, what with its vintage honky ton sound and style. On yet another note, a song, such as ‘Valley of the New’ will appeal to fans of the modern country rock band Reckless Kelly. There is even a welcome bluegrass element in ‘Call It War’ and an equally enjoyable blues-based rock presentation in ‘Who Do You Know’ that will appeal to fans of Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band. ‘Ruby Do’ gives audiences a sort of rockabilly approach that fans of Rev. Horton Heat and the Legendary Shack Shakers will enjoy. Between these noted arrangements and the others featured throughout the album, the whole of the record’s musical content shows great diversity. That in itself ensures the album’s noted wide appeal. It is just one aspect of what audiences will enjoy about the album. The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s diverse range of musical arrangements adds to the record’s appeal even more.
The lyrical content that is presented throughout A Modern Man’s Way To Improve adds to the album’s success because it is just as accessible as the album’s musical arrangements. Case in point is the lyrical content featured in ‘Valley of the New.’ Front man Shelby Kemp sings here, “give me a reason to be here/Give me something to lose/Sing me a riddle/And I’ll give you a good answer/And I’ll hold you ‘til the sun comes shining through.” From there he sings later, “If I die here/There is something you must do/March me down/In a field of golden roses/March me down/to the tune of something blue/hang my hat/On a yonder mountain/Lay my heart/In the valley of the new.” This is as old school country as a song can get. On another note, the addition of the claves to the song’s arrangement gives the work a little bit of a Jimmy Buffet influence. Getting back on track, the song follows lyrically in similar fashion as that presented in its lead verse and chorus. Simply put, this is vintage country in which someone is singing about life gone by and what is to come. It’s one of those classic introspective songs that one could so easily hear in an old, dimly lit honky tonk bar. Its introspective lyrical content and equally moving musical arrangement makes for so much enjoyment.
‘Valley of the New’ is just one of songs whose lyrical theme shows the overall importance of the album’s lyrical content. ‘Rattlesnake Smoking A Cigar’ presents its own interesting lyrical content. It is just as psychedelic as the song’s musical arrangement. The subject sings here about going for a drive with his dad. The duo meets a group of women *allegedly* and one turned out to be not quite what she appeared. It is the most unique lyrical presentations featured in this album and will certainly have listeners talking.
‘Bottom of the Chart’ presents another unique lyrical theme that is worth noting. This song finds the song’s subject singing about being there for someone else when all of life’s negativities happen. From everything dying to “mother earth closing her eyes”, to even rivers being dammed up by trees, the song’s subject says he will be there for that person “at the bottom of your chart.” This is just this critic’s interpretation, but it comes across as someone saying, even when I’m the last on your list, the least important to you, I’ll be there. If in fact that is what the song’s subject is saying, then it is powerful. Most people who realize they are at the bottom of someone else’s priorities will do something to change things and perhaps just walk away from that situation. For this song’s subject to seemingly say he will be there, devoted as ever, no matter what, is a powerful statement. On one hand, it is moving. On another, some might say not so smart. The seeming lyrical theme in itself is certain to generate plenty of discussion. Building on the noted discussion, if in fact this critic’s interpretation is right then it takes listeners in yet another distinct direction. It shows even more, the record’s lyrical diversity. The result is that it shows even more, the importance of the album’s lyrical content in whole. The rest of the record’s lyrical content supports the noted statements just as much as that examined here. Between all of that and the album’s musical content, all of this more than makes this record worth hearing. All of that content is just a part of what makes A Modern Man’s Way Of Improving such a strong start for Royal Horses. The production of the noted collective content rounds out the record’s most important elements.
The production of A Modern Man’s Way of Improving is important to note because of how much is going on in some of the album’s entries, and how little is going on in others. ‘BLD’ for instance, which closes out the album, is one of the entries that has very little going on. It is grounded in a very simple, light guitar line. The echoing effect in the guitar’s melancholy approach is a credit to the production. It really serves to help set the mood in this song. The lyrical content is very limited here, which means the music takes center stage. Those behind the boards are to be credited for their work here. That noted echo effect and just the simplicity in the guitar line here supports the old adage that it is possible for a song to be heavy without being heavy.
By comparison, the album’s title track, which comes very early in its sequence, has a little bit more going on. The poppy approach and sound in the song again lends itself to comparisons to works from Reckless Kelly, but in this case, also to works from Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen. That’s one heck of a collection of influences, but it works so well here. It is also a credit to those responsible for the album’s production. That upbeat but still light guitar line works so well with the song’s solid time keeping and catchy vocal delivery style to make for so much enjoyment. On another level, the subtlety in the lead guitar line against the lighter rhythm guitar line adds its own richness to the presentation. The bass line pairs with that aspect to fill out the arrangement even more. As the song progresses, an increasing amount of action takes place. Each element within the song is expertly balanced throughout, to the end that the song offers listeners full enjoyment and engagement from start to end. It is just one more way in which the album’s production proves so important and hardly the last. ‘Call It War’ is another example of the importance of the album’s production.
‘Call It War’ crosses elements of bluegrass with southern rock and country into one whole for its foundation. The very crossing of the elements into one whole makes for an interesting presentation. That the banjo and electric guitar get equal attention here thanks to the production enriches the song’s arrangement in its own right. That the drums are used to tastefully here to add accents in all of the right points adds even more to the song’s enjoyment and engagement. The whole conjures thoughts of the Jerry Reed/Dick Feller hit song ‘Eastbound and Down’ from the timeless Burt Reynolds movie Smokey & The Bandit. That the whole can conjure such a comparison and that everything is so well-balanced here is one more example of the impact and importance of the album’s production. The production clearly brings out the best aspects of each song, in turn making each song so enjoyable and engaging. When this is considered along with the album’s musical and lyrical content, the whole of these elements makes the album in whole a successful first outing for Royal Horses.
Royal Horses’ debut album A Modern Man’s Way To Improve is a positive first outing for the up-and-coming band. It is a presentation that is sure to appeal to a wide range of listeners. That is proven in large part through its musical arrangements. The record’s musical arrangements offer elements of southern rock, country, bluegrass, and even blues-based rock. The arrangements never stay on one track for too long a period of time, either. That ensures in its own way, listeners’ enjoyment and engagement. The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements is just as diverse as the album’s musical arrangements. It ensures even more that enjoyment and engagement. The production that went into the album’s presentation brings out the best elements of each arrangement, making the album even richer in its presentation. Each item noted here is important in its own right to the album’s presentation. Al things considered, they make the album a promising first outing for Royal Horses. The album is available now.
More information on A Modern Man’s Way To Improve is available along with all of Royal Horses’ latest news at:
Country music, bluegrass, folk, and Americana fans have had a lot to be happy bout in 2020. That is because the genres, which are so closely related to one another, have seen a lot of enjoyable new albums released. Bluegrass fans saw Steep Canyon Rangers release its new album Arm in Arm. The country music world saw Chris Stapleton’s new album Starting Over, which is some of his best work to date in his still young career. Steve Earle and his fellow musicians The Dukes released a new album that audiences can easily put into the Americana category while the folk world while Delta Rae’s new album The Light can just as easily be added to the folk/neo-folk category just as much as the Americana category. All three albums are featured in this year’s Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Country/Bluegrass/Folk/Americana Albums list along with lots of others, including Chatham County Line’s new album Strange Fascination and the recently released independent band Royal Horses’ new album A Modern Man’s Way To Improve. That album crosses the border of country, bluegrass and Americana.
As with each year’s past lists, this year features the year’s Top 10 best new albums from the noted genres along with five additional honorable mentions for a total of 15 albums. Without any further ado, here is PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW COUNTRY/BLUEGRASS/FOLK/AMERICANA ALBUMS.
PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW COUNTRY/BLUEGRASS/FOLK/AMERICANA ALBUMS
Chris Stapleton – Starting Over
The Okee Dokee Brothers – Songs For Singin’
Josh Turner – Country State of Mind
Delta Rae – The Light
Reckless Kelly – American Girls/American Jackpot
Steve Earle & The Dukes – The Ghosts of West Virginia
Chatham County Line – Strange Fascination
Jack The Radio – Creatures
Royal Horses – A Modern Man’s Way To Improve
Steep Canyon Rangers – Arm in Arm
Brothers Osborne – Skeletons
Bruce Springsteen – Letter To You
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – Reunions
Mile Twelve – Roll The Tapes All Night Long
Special Consensus – Chicago Barn Dance
Next up from Phil’s Picks is 2020’s Top 10 New Rap & Hip-Hop Albums. Stay tuned for that.