In an era when coming to grips with the meaning of life complicates your relationship with your mortality, Chris Cummings and the Way’s latest Americana-entwined 70s rock-tinged single, I’m Still Alive, has all the lyrical makings of a sanity-saving playlist staple.
Chris Cummings, an Easton native renowned for his collaborations with jazz legends and New York artists, embarked on a tenaciously tongue-in-cheek journey with his latest feat of roots-wrapped ingenuity. The prelude to his eponymous album resonates with the nostalgic glamour reminiscent of Father John Misty and Butch Walker while pontificating on the profound. The brash electric guitar chords, coupled with the shimmer of the organ and the subtle honkytonk nuances in the keys and guitar leads, create a soundscape that is both timeless and deeply evocative.
Even though the single touches on the notion that reasons for living and believing often lie beyond ourselves, Chris Cummings and the Way ensure the track never veers too far into the melancholic. It’s a gripping exposition of what it means to be human when we have no fucking idea what the meaning of life is. This existential contemplation is woven seamlessly into the fabric of the song, making it both a personal reflection and a universal query.
The upcoming album, accompanied by a documentary film, promises to be a convergence of Cummings’ Americana and rock n roll roots, offering relatable tunes for our twisted times. Featuring talents like Roger Girke and Shane Nicholas, it’s poised to be a significant addition to the Americana folk rock landscape.
I’m Still Alive is now available to stream on Spotify.
Stone Senate’s new single Ghost resonates with a poignant blend of lyrical indie rock and Americana, capturing the essence of feeling invisible and failing to keep pace in an ever-changing world. It is a powerful testament to the band’s unique ability to evolve above their influences, transcending all expectations, on this occasion, in a spectrally scintillating style.
The essence of Ghost lies in its mellifluously captivating progressions, which will haunt you as you relate to them on an intrinsically deep level. Clint Woolsey’s smouldering, soulful vocals serve as the emotional core, delivering sonorously affecting lines that resonate with anyone grappling with feelings of obscurity and the fleeting nature of cherished memories.
The true magic of Ghost, however, is in how it balances emotional weight with a lack of self-pity. It’s a confession of aching emotion, offering comfort to those who see their own reflections in this superlative rock track. The soaring guitar solo, meticulously executed by James Beau Edwards and Ted Hennington, invites listeners into a moment of profound contemplation, seamlessly blending with the tight, bonded rhythm section of Paul Zettler on bass and David “DZ” Zettler on drums.
Stone Senate, having been compared to legends like Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band, is not content to rest on the laurels of their influences. Instead, they push boundaries, creating a sound that is distinctly and modernistically their own.
Jamos Blood sludged up blues-rock in the standout single, Flesh and Back to Bone, from his debut EP, Blood Brothers, which delivers swampy riffs, train track rhythms and a sense of ennui that cries out to the disenfranchised by uncertain futures masses.
“Gonna walk my dog til he don’t walk no more” beautifully and sentimentally encompasses the notion that everything is fleeting in a cruel world which pulls away every anchor, eventually.
The EP was recorded with Blood’s late brother, Clayton, which puts even more context behind the titular disposition and the themes of love and loss that will wash with any Waits and Petty fans.
As someone who is no stranger to grief, it was all too easy to connect with Jamos Blood’s psyche in Flesh and Back to Bone. The sense of lost listlessness with splinters of optimism that can often feel naïve was captured with such finesse in the roots-driven rock hit it is easy to view Jamos Blood as one of the most important voices of our era.
Flesh and Back to Bone is available to stream on Spotify.
Ahead of the release of her 2022 album, Different Space, we got stuck into the retro grooves of Santa Fe and Minneapolis singer-songwriter Sarah Streitz’s single Time Passes.While there’s no arguing with the titular statement, clearly, Streitz doesn’t conform to the linear passing of time if the tonal nostalgia that the dusky rock record spills is anything to go by. With just a few licks of the bass and her effortlessly cool vocal performance, you’re doused in late 60s synaesthesia.
After leaving Americana and country (mostly) behind her, Streitz teamed up with the Grammy-winning sound engineer Marc Whitmore to deliver soundscapes that would make Tarantino’s head spin. Evidently, Whitmore poured the same magic into Time Passes as he did with The Black Keys records – there’s something infinitely intoxicating about her demurely vintage vocal timbre colliding with the bass lines that roll around the shimmering organs and spacey sonic effects that bring a touch of modernism to the trippy swing of the single.
Time Passes is now available to stream on Spotify.
Some say time is the greatest healer, but that empty idiom falls short of the mindful catharsis extended by artists, such as The Paul Clark Project.
The singer-songwriter’s sophomore album, Sown from the Same Seed, uses a timelessly transformative blend of folk, rock and Americana to remind us that even though there are billions of us spread across the globe, we all have the same unifying origin and intrinsic needs.
In a time where irrational tribalism splinters our society, artists and thinkers need to step up to the plate and act as the glue to bind us into peace, love and acceptance. No one could accuse Paul Clark of not pulling his mindfully resolving weight. The opening single, Consciousness, opens a can of candour, forcing into recollection our twisted reality where we shackle ourselves with anger and limitation.
Beyond the humbling textures and tones is an unreckonable intelligence; spurred by Clark’s experience as a clinical social worker and mental health advocate. For your sanity’s sake, take notes.
Sown from the Same Seed is now available to stream and purchase on all major platforms via this link.
‘Don’t Get Too Heavy’ from the London-based outfit, Jo-Jo & The Teeth is the only riff-slicked pop-hooked rock n’ roll debut you need to hear in 2022. A rebellious streak runs right through the glam rock earworm, but like every good hit, it does plenty more than just show its teeth.
If you amped up the visceral attitude in Stevie Nicks’ vocals to 11, they’d still pale in comparison to the hooky veracity of Jo-Jo O’Donoghue’s blisteringly hot pop-rock vocal lines. That’s probably blasphemy, but I’ll prepare to repent for it to do Jo-Jo & The Teeth justice. It’s the least I could do given that she has given rock n roll an Americana iteration of Peaches.
Don’t Get Too Heavy is the lead track from the forthcoming self-produced debut album, No More Good News; I already want it on my turntable.
The official music video for Don’t Get Too Heavy premiered on May 6th; watch it on YouTube.
The Minnesota-based producer, singer-songwriter and prodigal son of rock n roll, Alexander Craig, has teased what’s to come in his upcoming album by giving us a sneak peek of the standout single, Atmosphere We’re Under. You’d be hard-pressed to find a scuzzier bop-worthy feat of blues-rock.
Atmosphere We’re Under is wild with its cheeky, punch-drunk energy that contains the same bite as your average ego-fuelled track. Yet, after stepping out from behind his successful aural alter-ego, Crankshaft, Alexander Craig made a positive stylistic move that radiates through his up-beat lyrics and gasoline-soaked high-energy grooves. The standout track is every bit as hooky and infectious as any of Josh Homme’s many endeavours, but with Alexander Craig, there’s roots-deep respect for rock n roll.
Alexander Craig is going old-school with his debut blues-rock album; it will only be available via CD and Vinyl. After being teased by the roots-rich soul in Atmosphere We’re Under, he can definitely take my money.
The Metaverse may give some people the fear and bring connotations of a cold new world that won’t allow us to touch grass; with his single, Power of the Metaverse, the Ohio-based alternative artist, Derek Cramer, has shown us its potential.
The 80s-inspired alt-rock hit has psychedelic undertones along with high-octane over-driven guitars while Cramer energetically attacks the lyrics that illustrate the freedom that metaverses can grant us. Cramer chose to focus on the positives of decentralization, digital connection and augmented reality, such as the potential for increased self-expression and community.
Those lyrics with such nostalgic rock tones almost feels like a paradox is aurally unravelling before you, and therein lies the sheer ingenuity of the release. We can’t wait to hear what follows.
Power of the Metaverse is now available to stream via Spotify.
Borrowed Souls started out life, in 2016, as a covers band taking in the likes of Portishead, The Black Keys, and Alabama Shakes. As sometimes happens when a musical chemistry is formed between members, they realised they’d got something between them, and started writing their own original material. Finding their own, signature sound – a lo-fi mixture of jazzy, soulful blues-rock – the trio put together their debut EP, ‘Baxter’s Kitchen’, following up now with their debut full-length album, ‘Epiphany and Revelation’, ‘from which Killswitch’ – their debut ‘proper’ single release – is taken.
‘Killswitch’, then, is exactly that – bluesy, soulful, rocky, chilled yet powerful; opening up with some delicate guitar arpeggios, ‘Killswitch’ sounds exactly like something from the Sons Of Anarchy or Strike Back soundtracks, that gruff, vaguely Americana-tinged rock in the vein of The Forest Rangers, Billy Valentine, Mark Stone, or the Shapeshifters, but with a modern twist: Laid-back, groovy, swaggering alt-blues-rock – think ‘Short Change Hero’ by The Heavy, The Black Keys, or The Revivalists, and you’re not far wrong.
You can check out ‘Killswitch’, and the rest of the ‘Epiphany And Revelation’ album, here, and follow Borrowed Souls on Facebook and Twitter.
Americana-tinged modern folk is the order of the day from Dublin’s Bill E Daly with this, from his new EP ‘Parachute & Oxygen’. ‘Hey Baby Hey’ is a gentle acoustic-guitar-and-vocal love song with a catchy little chord progression and Daly’s deep baritone voice. Tinged with country and modern rock overtones, this is mature, well-polished, and accomplished, little guitar flourishes on the ends of lines interplaying with Daly’s chilled vocal delivery.
Daly’s previous album, 2017’s ‘There Is A Time’, charted at number 2 in Google Play’s ‘Folk’ category, and there’s every chance that ‘Parachute & Oxygen’ will do similarly well. ‘Hey Baby Hey’ is the ideal introduction to Bill E Daly’s music.
Hear ‘Hey Baby Hey’ on Spotify; check out Daly’s website here.