Friends since they were 7 and 9 respectively, Alyssa and Doug Graham have spent practically their entire lives together. Along the way they became The Grahams, an Americana duo who are set to release their second album, Glory Bound, on May 19th. For this record, the couple rode the rails (literally) and ended up not only recording the album but a documentary, Rattle the Hocks, as well.
Produced by Wes Sharon, Glory Bound is one of those rare albums that from the first note of the first listen, you know you’re listening to something special. All twelve tracks, story songs really, were either written or co-written by the duo and perfectly capture the rhythm and momentum of life and the train system. Whether it is the title track, reminiscent of The Black Lillies with its harmonies, in which she lists her regrets or the bluesy, harmonica fueled “Gambling Girl” where she sings “I told you the first time I met you, there’s two things for sure in this world/You can’t ask a broken hearted boy to forget, can’t turn pills into pearls/And you can’t trust a gambling girl,” Alyssa’s vocals convey emotions sweet, sassy and straightforward with both an authenticity and familiarity.
The album gives you a feel for America whether it is the bluegrass, fiddle and pickin’ on overdrive urgency of “Kansas City” or the old western flair of “Griggstown” on which her vocals deliver “I might have been your girl once, but you’re never gonna be my man” assuredly and adamantly. “Borderland’s” accordion gives you the sense of being on a trail while the instrumentation in “The Spinner” has one rolling down the tracks to freedom while remembering home. “Where the crabgrass grows beneath your feet/Clothes line on the summer evening just killing time.”
The theme of family is found in “Blow Wind Blow” and “Mama.” The former with its slightly ominous Celtic fiddle, evokes feeling the “pull of memory” of family members now gone, while the latter’s southern gospel tinged melody (with tambourine!) is an ode to the woman who “walks with the grace of glory.” “The Wild One” conjures up The Band while romance can be found on both “Lay Me Down,” a soft romantic ballad, and “Biscuits.” The album concludes with the exuberant “Promised Land.”
If you’re looking for a listening experience that will fill your heart with happiness and good music, bind yourself to The Grahams and Glory Bound. Whatever your mode of transportation, don’t hesitate to join them on this journey.
Adrian Duffy and the Mayo Brothers are back with their follow up to their previous EP’s Storm Breaking and Someone Like You. The Pledge funded album, United We Fall, was mixed by Matt Kemp (Ry Cooder) and mastered by Denis Blackham (Elvis Costello) and released through their own independent label. The album contains ten tracks all penned by Duffy including “Let Somebody Love You” which was co-written with Martin van Hoof Jenkins. In addition to the lush “Storm Breaking” and the enjoyable “Someone Like You” the album includes the toe tapper “Having It All” (“I’ve got more bridges to burn than I’m likely to cross”), and “Push Those Keys” about balancing caution and living life. The album’s scaled back production and stories focus on relationships whether new (the lovely “The Innocence of Love”), letting someone in (“Let Somebody Love You”) or experiencing those initial feelings time and time again (the frenetic “Everytime The Love Strikes”). The album closes with personal favorite, “Written In Stone” on which the gentle, peaceful acoustic strumming of the guitar reminds one of the circle of life and not leaving any stone unturned.
After the release of five independent albums Shawn Nelson marked the release of his 6th, The Devil’s River, this past February. Nelson wrote all of the tracks except the somber waltz “Diamonds Don’t Shine In The Dark,” which was written by Fletcher Murchison and “The Devils River” which was co-written with Will Dupuy. The fan favorite title track kicks things off and melodically gets you ready to roll through an album that takes you on a journey in Texas and beyond. Overall, the album has a definite classic country feel with honest and relatable lyrics that touch upon life, love and other musings. Songs like the bluegrass fueled “My Old Time Gal” (which features fiddler Noah Jeffries of Milkdrive) and “Tighten Up” will have you picturing yourself two stepping on a wooden dance floor in a honky tonk. That same feeling permeates “P & L Midway” and the Mexican flavored “Medina” a story about those that left home for Houston in search of wealth, seeing the “dollar signs in the sky.”
An old time toe tapping southern gospel feel, with some mighty fine guitar work, appropriately accompanies “Deliver Me” about being laid down to rest and reaching the other side while “One Foot In the Grave” and “Honky Tonk Life” take the record to a slower, emotional pace. The latter reflects on remaining in a relationship while still living the honky tonk life while the former talks about living, and embracing, life before your time comes.
The album ends on romantic notes with both “Your Man” about balancing relationships and personal shortcomings (which is felt not only lyrically, but sonically as well) and “Barton Springs” about the journey he has taken with his wife. “It’s been a rough and rocky travelin’/A little hard on us/But we are built on love and trust…..When it comes to you and me there ain’t nothin' I would change/I loved you from the moment/That we met at Barton Springs.”
Combining elements of Americana, Country, Rock, Bluegrass and more, Nelson ends up with a very palatable stew. If you are new to his music, start here….you’ll find yourself going back for more.
Born in Georgia, Levi Lowrey has always known that his heart was made for music. You might know him as co-writer on Zac Brown Band's CMA Awards nominated song, "Colder Weather," but Lowrey also is an artist in his own right. His third album, My Crazy Head, was released this past March...and it's a record that you don't want to let slip by.
My Crazy Head contains a beautiful collection of ten songs penned by Lowrey, whose ability to write incredibly honest songs is out in full force. Drawing inspiration from personal struggles and triumphs, Lowrey lets the listener in with tender vocals that are matched by honest, authentic and poignant lyrics as well as lovely melodies. Themes of moving on, dreaming, love and family are spread throughout the record and captured with vivid imagery.
The set begins with "Put Your Badge Back On" which reflects on how times have changed. That is followed by the stirring and emotional “The Old Family Tree” about a literal tree that provides so much, including branches for climbing, shade for crying and refuge. The lush (autobiographical?) title track, sprinkled with some pop sensibility, deals with making mistakes and sometimes returning to things that aren't necessarily good for us; those things that drive us a little crazy. "I might have to die just to get myself some rest/I roar like a lion/But I'm scared to death/I run until I'm completely out of breath."
Family is once again dealt with in both "A Father's Love" and "I'm Going With Her." The former connects his father's love for him with his love for the son he now has; a love that will always "lead ya home." It's a song anyone with a son will be touched by. In the latter, humorous lyrics ("She needs me like a case of spotted fever") and a plucky melody convey the fact that even though he may be a handful, they're meant to be and "as mad as I may be if she ever leaves I'm going with her.”
In the bluegrass tune “Dreamer’s Pedigree,” he makes no apologies for being a dreamer because it's in his blood. "Another day with dreams to chase and endless dreams to find." “Empty Canvas” continues that theme of hopeful optimism, letting go of your bitterness and starting fresh because really there is nothing in your way but an empty canvas (amen!). Closing the record is the gentle “Young and Free.” Nostalgic and solemn, with beautiful harmonies, the song reflects getting older, the dreams of youth and how life may take us down roads we have never dreamed, including cancer. It's a beautiful ending to a beautiful record.
My Crazy Head is a slice of Americana that provides food for the musical heart and soul.
To order the album and keep up with the latest news visit levilowrey.com
The singer-songwriter is allowing his fans to share in the profits of sales of the disc, signing a distribution deal with his fans, through a partnership with LOUD. For more information visit here
Before making the move to Nashville, country newcomer Bryson Jennings worked as First Mate on a series of sports fishing boats, traveling to locations like Mexico and the Bahamas. In his downtime, he'd bust out the acoustic guitar and strum some tunes. During a trip to the Bahamas, Jennings made the decision to give up that lifestyle in order to chase his dreams of being a full-time musician. The singer songwriter, who has had co-writes with Gloriana and Darius Rucker, recently released his single "Young Nights."
The radio ready song, written by Jennings along with Tommy Cecil, and Mike Lane, tells the story of those nights when you're out with friends, drinking, dancing and basically having a good time. While those nights may happen more often than not at a younger age, Jennings knows "they never get older;" that no matter what age you are, one can still have those times where memories that last a lifetime can be made.
"Young nights they never get older
Drink up, they never stay sober
Keep on fillin' it til you're spillin' it over
That girl you think you can't get, go and hold her
And dance to the song you hate that she loves
Tell her shes pretty, yeah, just because"
Jennings vocals, along with a laid back melody, make "Young Nights" an instantly appealing song that is a perfect tune for the summer....a time when many of those "young nights" take place.
Following the success of "Wheres It's At," Dustin Lynch's new single "Hell Of A Night" is the second from his most recent album. The song, written by Jaron Boyer, Zach Crowell and Adam Sanders doesn't veer far from the typical fare on terrestrial radio. Sonically the song merges rock and country, relying heavily on the crunch of electric guitar. Lyrically, it hits all the pre-requisites for a Top 40 hit: trucks, back roads and a night with your lady.
"All we need is a July, hot Saturday night
A couple cans all cool and the needle on full and a countryside
Yeah, a hot little playlist, of your favorite songs
When I get you climbing up in the cab of this truck
Yeah you know it's on, know it's on"
"Hell Of A Night" will surely do well at country radio, but Lynch has the ability to do more ("Cowboys and Angels"). There is no need for him to be following trends when he could be making his own.