Originally from New Mexico, singer-songwriter Alex Stern developed a passion for music early on. At the age of nine, she begged her parents to let her take voice lessons and started performing in community theater and on every stage she could find. After attending Grammy Camp Nashville, Stern moved to Tennessee to devote herself to songwriting and her artistry. On June 9th, Stern will release her EP, Midnight Bandits, which contains her currently released single, "Runaways."
Written by Stern and Danielle Blakey, "Runaways" is a mid-tempo love song that finds her simply wanting that all-important time with her significant other; free from the trappings that affect us all, making it difficult to put relationships front and center. In the lyrics, Stern encourages her paramour to follow their heart so they can just be together, and by the end of the song, you get the sense he obliged. Led by Stern's strong vocals, "Runaways" has an easy to fall into groove to which you'll find yourself immediately humming along. It's a contemporary country song that should be able to find a space on terrestrial radio without any difficulty at all.
"Breathe in, rush in
I can hear your heartbeat
I can hear your heartbeat
So what if we wanna be runaways
I wanna lose myself when you say my name
No we don't slow down
Lovers on the run can't catch us now."
Lonestar’s tenth and brand new album, Never Enders, comes bolting out of the gate with the blazing title track and continues to run on the familiar themes the veteran band is known for.
Lonestar has been through a few personnel changes over the years, but their core remains strong with four original members. Michael Britt on lead guitar and backing vocals, Richie McDonald on lead vocals and piano, Keech Rainwater on drums, and Dean Sams on keyboards, acoustic guitar, and backing vocals.
"Never Enders" sounds like a new anthem for the band, it’s about soldiering on despite circumstances and is the perfect way to kick off the album. Meanwhile, “I Know It Was You” moves into familiar Lonestar ballad territory and is one of the best songs on the album.
A favorite song in this collection is “My Own Hometown,” which finds the singer reminiscing but being “...a stranger in my hometown…” The singer goes back to where he grew up but nothing is the same and “...even the memories don’t seem the same…” Despite the uptempo beat, there’s a sadness in the delivery, which makes the tune even more poignant.
“I’ve Been Wrong Before” is a passionate ballad about a man who doesn’t want to be in a relationship, and is fighting falling in love. McDonald’s voice has never sounded better, more rich and mature than ever; taking these songs to new heights.
“I Want A Love” sounds like perhaps the prequel to the band’s first hit “No News,” it has the same funky beat. Meanwhile “Us” soars as an uptempo breakup song. “Boomerang” closes the album with a bang, about a woman breaking men’s hearts all over town.
Never Enders is a great album for longtime Lonestar fans and will certainly delight new ones, sounding as fresh as ever yet retaining their classic sound, thanks to their tight harmonies and thought provoking lyrics. The album is available now.
Review by Kelli. Find her on Twitter
Based out of Toronto, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Timothy Ryan recently released his latest EP, Dog Days, a three-song set that focuses on failed relationships. The opening track "Same Ol Blues" deals with the sadness that accompanies the end of an affair, but is countered with a toe-tapping, upbeat melody. Laced with harmonica and pedal steel, "Love Ain't Enough" is permeated by a melancholy feel as he wonders what he will do without her. The EP concludes with the scaled back "Night Drives" on which he solemnly laments, "....how I worked so hard for a woman that never loved me from the start." Clocking in at under ten minutes, Dog Days provides a brief introduction to this singer-songwriter who understands heartbreak. Give it a listen.
Growing up in a town of about 1200 in Oklahoma, Jared Deck worked in the fields as well as the town grocery owned by his parents. When his parent's business saw hard times, he found employment on an oil rig to help pay for school and then worked in a factory. He started a business that was hit hard by the recession and even ran for political office. Needing to supplement his income, Deck ended up becoming the pianist at a gospel church for six years which ultimately became his musical education. It’s this true middle American life lived that informs the song-craft on his self-titled debut releasing May 6th.
Produced by Wes Sharon, the personal eleven song set kicks off on a raucous note with the rollicking “17 Miles” on which Deck’s unique, yet incredibly familiar, voice captures your soul. That same voice turns intimate and subdued on “Grace” where he sings “I have lived with a lot of things that I hope God can make right.” Deck uncannily channels John Mayer on “Wrong Side of the Night” a tale of a man chasing his dreams while leaving loved ones disappointed, wondering if he lives for the wrong side of the night, “Say my name for future reference/I need a memory to regret.”
Echoes of John Mellencamp can be found on “The American Dream” which chronicles the frank realities and uphill battles of achieving that sometimes elusive dream, “Save the trouble of deciding yourself what in hell is this all for/Harder than it seems, it’s the American dream.” While a bluesy guitar conveys the message of fighting the good fight to make a relationship last on “Fight.” “Love ain’t a game we rise and fall the same and don’t go quiet in the night….so just hold onto me and fight.” Deck’s intense, soulful vocals soar on “Sweet Breath,” “Wait For You” maintains a romantic hopefulness through years of separation and “Unusually Blessed” details the story of a family man who “never stuck around,” yet loved the ones he hurt. The album is rounded out by the Springsteen-esque rocker, “Hope KS,” the rockabilly good time of “Heel On Wheels” and thoughtful and incredibly real, “Song You Can Use.”
The life of a man, a troubadour - with hurt, struggle and ultimately strength - is delivered on Deck’s debut, a stellar offering of heartland rock heavy on intimacy, truth and heart.
One look at the album art for Jimbo Mathus’ latest Band of Storms [due May 6th on Big Legal Mess], and you can be certain you’re about to press play on a whirlwind of creativity. Starting off with the rollicking horn-laden “Gringo Man,” Band of Storms is full of swanky attitude and swagger in a rapid fire energetic ride from the honky tonkin’ piano vibe of “Can’t Get Much Higher” to the Replacements style rocker “Massive Confusion” and the boldness in the Cash-esque “Let’s Play With Fire.”
Also included on the nine song set is the string-filled Southern Gothic ballad, “Stop Your Crying,” the Emmylou Harris inspired (with a hint of the blues) “Wayward Wind” and the tender “Slow Down Sun” on which he calls upon nature to be kind to his love. The musical layers of “Keep It Together” and the picking of the mandolin in the foot stomper “Catahoula” round out a project that at twenty-three minutes, rolls in like a summer storm, intense and brief and - as Mathus says in the opening number - just “so cool baby.”