Five years ago, Quinn Sullivan burst onto the blues scene and took everybody by surprise with his debut album Cyclone (2011). Sullivan wasn’t even a teenager when he released that album. Fast forward five years. He followed up that album with Getting There two years later. Now three years after its release, Sullivan has already released his third full-length studio recording before the age of 18. The album in question is titled Midnight Highway and was released this past July. The ten-song record exhibits considerable growth from Sullivan, building on the material presented in his previous records across the board. Between the mix of musical stylings presented here and Sullivan’s own presentation of talent, the record shows that the sun has barely even begun to shine on this young musician’s career.
Quinn Sullivan’s third full-length studio recording Midnight Highway is a musical road that every music lover out there should ride. That is because it exhibits so clearly exhibits the growth that Sullivan has undergone ever since the release of his 2011 debut record. The record’s opener, ‘Something For Me’ is just one of the songs that serves to show that growth. In regards to its musical arrangement it is an infectious, Chicago blues style composition that instantly conjures thoughts of Sullivan’s mentor, Buddy Guy (yes, that Buddy Guy and his counterparts). It truly pays homage to the golden age of electric blues through its arrangement. That is just one part of what makes this song stand out as an example of Sullivan’s growth on this record. The song’s musical content plays its own part in the song’s presentation, too.
The Chicago blues arrangement presented in ‘Something For Me’ is in itself an important part of what makes the song stand out in exhibiting Sullivan’s growth on his new LP. It is a solid arrangement that hints blatantly at the likes of Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and others of that ilk. Sullivan doesn’t necessarily throw down the gauntlet, but he definitely shows that he is the real deal with this arrangement and that he has true respect for the genre and its history. Even with this in mind, the song’s musical arrangement is just one part of what makes it stand out. The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note in examining the song’s overall presentation as its musical arrangement. The song’s lyrical content is pretty straight forward. Sullivan is singing about a woman that he wants. That is obvious as he sings in the song’s chorus, “You’re a pretty flower/I’m a buzzin’ bee/You’ve got/You’ve got something for me.” If that isn’t convincing enough, the innuendo evident in the song’s second verse should speak volumes. Sullivan sings in this verse, “When I weed the garden/I like to take my time/Take it easy baby/Cause I’ve got all night buzzing on my mind.” That is a pretty blatant statement. Considering that and Sullivan’s full-on musical arrangement here, the two elements show together that Sullivan has definitely grown up in more ways than one. They also serve to show why this song stands out so clearly as an example of that growth. Of course it is just one of the songs included in this record that exhibits Sullivan’s growth. ‘Crazy Into You’ is another song that serves to exemplify Sullivan’s growth.
‘Something For Me’ is a clear example of how much Quinn Sullivan has grown over the course of the past five years. It serves to exhibit that personal and musical growth both through the song’s musical arrangement and its lyrical content. It is just one example of how much Sullivan has grown over that time. ‘Crazy Into You’ is another song included in this record that exhibits Sullivan’s growth. Just as with ‘Something For You,’ this song exhibits Sullivan’s growth primarily through its musical arrangement. This song’s arrangement is the polar opposite of ‘Something For You.’ Rather than being another blues arrangement, it is a clearly pop sound that is driven primarily through Sullivan’s guitar work. The short, almost percussive riffs and their sound conjure thoughts of Maroon 5 believe it or not. They are infectious riffs that easily get stuck in listeners’ heads. When those riffs are set against the work of drummer Tom Hambridge and bassist Tommy MacDonald, the end result is an arrangement that becomes one of the album’s best arrangements. The infectious, poppy musical arrangement presented in this song is just one part of what exhibits Sullivan’s growth in this song. Its lyrical content exhibits that growth just as much as its musical arrangement.
The musical arrangement presented in ‘Crazy Into You’ is in itself a clear example of how much Sullivan has grown since the release of his debut record. It is only one part of the song that exhibits that growth, though. The song’s lyrical content also shows that growth. That growth is exhibited as Sullivan writes playfully in the song’s chorus, “You’re the reason I’m not completely crazy/Maybe you’re the reason I am/Everybody comes around and tries to save me but they don’t really understand/You’re the one that can make me lose my mind/But I love everything you do.” That’s a statement that, at 17, is pretty mature. It says something to which so many much older people can relate. That in itself speaks volumes about Sullivan’s growth just as much as his ability to balance his blues roots with a more pop-centered sound in the song’s musical arrangement does. Keeping that in mind, both the musical arrangement presented in this song and the song’s lyrical content show in their own way Sullivan’s personal and musical growth. When they are combined together, they serve to make this song another standout example of the growth present throughout Midnight Highway. The song, in whole, is just one more of this record’s examples of Sullivan’s growth. ‘Eyes For You’ is one more example of Sullivan’s growth on this record.
‘Something For Me,’ and ‘Crazy Into You’ are both clear examples of Sullivan’s growth in his new album. That is made clear through each song’s musical arrangement and lyrical content. While both songs clearly show in their own way, just how much Sullivan has grown on his new album, they are not the only songs that serve to exhibit that growth. ‘Eyes For You’ is yet another example of that growth. ‘Eyes For You’ serves to exhibit Sullivan’s growth, just as with the previously discussed songs, primarily through its musical arrangement. Instead of taking a pop or blues approach this time, Sullivan opted for a folk sound, believe it or not. It was a big risk for him to go this route, and a risk that paid off, too. There is a certain reserved feel to Sullivan’s guitar work that wonderfully accents the uncertainty of the song’s subject as he addresses a certain woman. The two part harmony that is incorporated into the song adds even more depth to that approach, too. The fact that the song’s arrangement is almost entirely acoustic adds its own layer to the song, too. All things considered, the song’s musical arrangement makes a strong statement about how much Sullivan has grown yet again in terms of his musical abilities and sensibilities. It is just one way in which the song shows Sullivan’s growth. The song’s lyrical content presents that growth just as much as its musical arrangement.
The musical arrangement that is presented within ‘Eyes For You’ shows thoroughly just how much Quinn Sullivan has grown on his new album. The very fact that he was willing to take the risk to branch out exhibits that growth as does the overall approach taken in that move. While the song’s musical arrangement does plenty to show Sullivan’s growth once again, it is just one of the song’s elements that exhibit that growth. The song’s lyrical content does just as much to exhibit that growth. In regards to the song’s lyrical content, the song presents a person addressing another, expressing his/her romantic interest in said figure. As Sullivan’s subject sings, “I’ve got see-through eyes/I can see straight through/There’s no place you can hide/I’ve got eyes for you/I was born this way/Nothing I can do/Can look the other way/See I’ve got eyes for you/Well I got eyes for you.” The gentle manner in which the subject delivers these words combines with the song’s equally gentle musical arrangement to present a certain innocence on the part of the song’s main subject. It sounds kind of like a stalker, like in a certain other classic song. There’s no denying that. But the fact of the matter is that Sullivan likely didn’t mean for the song’s subject to come across in that fashion. Odds are he wanted to the song’s subject to come across as a star-crossed lover of sorts, someone who is just crazy for his or her romantic interest. That picture is painted even more throughout the course of the song’s lyrical content with the end result being a picture of someone who just wants to impress his or her romantic interest and win that person’s heart. It is truly a touching approach. When this is coupled with the song’s gentle musical approach, the picture that results is one that will move any listener perhaps more than any other song included in this record. That being the case, it becomes clear why this song is one of the most significant examples of Sullivan’s growth in this record. When it is coupled with the previously discussed songs, all three songs paint a picture of an artist who is hardly at the prime of his career yet who has grown so much in such a short time. When those songs are partnered with the album’s other seven songs, the album in whole shows without any doubt how much Quinn Sullivan has grown since 2011. It also serves to show in whole that as he grows musically and personally, so will his albums. That means that the sun has only begun to shine on this talented young artist’s career.
Midnight Highway is a shining new offering from Quinn Sullivan. Only the third full-length studio recording from this talented young guitarist and songwriter, it shows extensive growth in comparison to his first two records. That is exhibited from the beginning to the end of the record’s ten songs both musically and lyrically. The growth in question shows that while Sullivan still has plenty of growing to do, that growth is the best kind. It shows that the sun has only begun to shine on his career. Listeners can experience that growth for themselves when they purchase this album in stores or online. More information on Midnight Highway is available along with Sullivan’s latest news and more at:
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