Like every family as they grow, we ran out of room for music. The Record Rack section was meant to take care of the incoming music. Diversity is great, and we love hosting a format that represents Americana, Folk, Blues, Bluegrass, Classic Country, Soul, and other forms of American Roots music. It does, however, create a bit of a music jam. Five Flying Under the Radar continues both the Record Rack and the Under the Radar section to bring more independent artists to your eyes and ears; words above and music below.
Amy Lavere (from the album Runaway's Diary) - Amy Lavere is back! Like all returning heroes, she is bringing home all of the unrealized dreams that would not materialize in the Oz where the tornado of youth deposited her. Stepping off the train she is curious…. ‘where’s the trumpet, where’s the crowd, where’s the tickertape parade?’. Amy’s traveling walks beside a confident field-folk blues groove that plows through “Where I Lead Me”, drifts through a dream where the ending changes from goodbye to “Don’t Go Yet John”, strides the streets as a “Lousy Pretender” and uses the random light of a “Dark Moon” as a reason she can’t locate a path to love. Amy Lavere has a chameleon pen that shapeshifts her lead characters on Runaway's Diary so they share heritage if not homeland as they find a way to make the best out of some pretty ugly decisions, like the laughing lady headed out the door with the “Last Rock and Roll Boys to Dance”.
Jess Klein (from the album learning faith) - There is very little in the words that collect on the songs of Jess Klein that is not uncomfortable to hear. It is also very difficult to not see your own reflection. The topic of the album follows the title, learning faith. It was a learning process for the lady on the album cover as wel, for Jess Klein ‘it’s also the first time I’ve started a record with a concept and tried to follow it through. After I wrote the song “Learning Faith” that started me thinking about a whole album of songs about the process of developing faith---faith in people, faith in universe, faith in a higher power.’ The odds at the state house are ‘5,000 to 1’ and “if there’s a god” there will be hell to pay for any wager against the house. Raw blues is the bed that takes the burdens of “Only the Blues”, white lines and acoustic notes mark the beat for the “Open Road” and an anthem can be heard through the walls of the garage where “so fucking cool” lives.
Waylon Speed (from the album Kin) - The men of Waylon Speed have a classic approach to their rock. These guys do not mimic the past as much as use the power of its song structures, the multiple riff attack of Southern Rock and the strength of an Alt Country belief system that is not much different from their native New Englander Yankee ancestral stubbornness. What “Reminds Me” finds the glory found in a fuck-up by arming it with a united guitar and rhythm battering ram. There is a lot of jangle on Kin, the band’s recent release. “Until It All Ends” rattles freight train twang on a beat headed into a curve with a ‘wish and a prayer”, “Days Remain The Same” uses a calendar dates circa country rock era and patriotic fireworks shoot from the guitars as they defend “Union”. Waylon Speed floors the pedal with caffeine-buzzed classic country on “Tally Ho” and “Coming Down Again” reminds that everything comes around again, music or moods.
Michael Rank and Stag (from the album deadstock) - The music of Michael Rank has been called a lot of names…outlaw folk, damaged country, alternative Appalachian and shattered mountain music. Sure, but did anybody ask the band? Sounds like Michael Rank and Stag are playing rock’n’roll, clearly heard in the attitude of their delivery. For the other piece….Hey, it’s 2014….wake up and smell the Americana, it’s the new rock and roll. Wiry vocals have been drinking at the same open bar as the fiddle antics and together they “burn the page”, loneliness uses a silent conversation to explain that it is “little late for me” and “idle hands” makes a challenge to ‘take the final step’. As the clouds clear, a morning rainbow and memories of when “the stars were brighter” weather a solo life and the eternal flame candle will never be snuffed by the slow confessions of “this world on fire”.
Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers (from the album Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers) - A futuristic scene of destruction and sleaze stages “Dirty World”. The thing is, Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers are not futurists. They are the headlines and the sentiments and scars of today. The story is not down a dead end street, and the world it inhabits is a freeway exit away. Josh Hoyer takes his job seriously. His microphone work recalls the live excitement go-go music, a subsidiary of funk that channeled through Washington, D.C. but never found enough big water to make other ports. No name tag needs to be given the band, they are Soul Music. “Platinum” is its own 70’s drive-in movie show of the groups autobiography. The Shadowboxers act out the parts with horn punches, got-your-back harmonies and a pulpit speech that is more street than preach. Southern Soul shines is sunny skies on the poor guy admitting “Just Call Me (I'll Be Sure To Let You Down Again)” and “Everyday And Everynight” uses well-lit big city streets as it prows.
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