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New Music Mondays: Ozzy Osbourne, Parkway Drive and More!

Strap yourselves in, ladies and gents, because we have a long one ahead of us. 18, yes 18 albums to check out. And I apologise in advance because half of this more than likely isn’t going to be for you. For all of our fans we have built up over the years there is a fair amount of heavy in here. But for all of the country fans we have started to gain recently, there is a fair bit of that too. Sorry if we scare anyone off with the stark contrasts. But check it out anyway, who knows, you might find your new favourite band! Let’s get into some new music!

Oh, and our newest writer, Max, jumped on to give me a hand again with some of these, so of course give him a hand!

Ozzy Osbourne: Patient Number 9

Ozzy should have called it a day a decade ago. He was struggling a little on Sabbath’s farewell tour but they still went out with a bang. Since then, his health has deteriorated and, let’s be honest, he can’t tour any more.

Having said that, this was better than it had any right to be. I wasn’t into Ordinary Man at all but this makes up for it. I’ve been a big advocate of ‘Patient Number 9’ since its release, it’s one of the best choruses Ozzy’s ever done. The same could be said for ‘One of Those Days’. And, of course, he has a guest guitarist on each track, and he’s selected some of the very best of all time. Between Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Zakk Wylde and Toni Iommi, there is some incredible soloing here.

My only slight negative would be that it’s all a little slow. However, for a 73 year old man, I didn’t really expect him to have the same energy in his tracks as he did 50 years ago. If Ozzy is going to stick to just studio music from now on, this is how to do it! 7.5/10

Parkway Drive: Darker Still

I really wanted to like this. And the weird thing is that sometimes I found myself enjoying it, but then other times it fell beneath expectation. Heck, sometimes both in the same track.

The Australian band continue to let more and more European power metal to seep into their American metalcore, to mixed results. And this isn’t even coming from a jaded old Parkway fan. I didn’t really get into them until IRE. But I LOVED that and Reverence so was excited for this album. I don’t think it lives up to my hype, but that’s not saying it’s bad. It’s certainly odd though.

I’m one of the seemingly few who loved ‘Glitch’ when it was released and I still do now. ‘The Greatest Fear’ is okay too, though it doesn’t go quite hard enough. ‘Darker Still’ however, can get in the bin. The only genuine highlight I’ve found that I’ve listened to multiple times since is ‘Soul Bleach’. Having said that though, the more I listen to that track, the more I love it. It’s heavy and the sound I wish they’d gone for for the whole record. ‘If a God can Bleed’ is weird enough to work and ‘Imperial Heretic’ is okay, but both are pretty average really. The couple of closing tracks are good, too.

As I say, nothing on here is bad at all. Maybe (hopefully) it’ll grow on me with another few listens, but right now I feel like it’s around a 7/10. Not as ground-breaking as I was hoping for.

Flogging Molly: Anthem

The not-so-Irish Irish folk punk band are back with their seventh studio album. That makes me feel old. The whole early 2000s skate-punk scene was a big part of my childhood, and hearing new music from them just makes me smile. How can anyone not like this music? It’s got the very best parts of folk, punk and rock.

There isn’t a bad track on the album. From the raucous opening track to the slower, full-on old folk songs to the fantastic ‘This Road of Mine’, it’s all great! Whether you’re into folk, punk, rock, americana or probably a bunch of other genres too, you’ll find something to enjoy here. This may be their best album since Float, and that’s saying something! 8/10

Highly Suspect: The Midnight Demon Club

I loved the first couple of Highly Suspect albums. Tracks like ‘Lydia’, ‘Bloodfeather’ and ‘My Name is Human’ all felt like they were harkening in the next big, heavy indie band. However, their last album seemed to soil that, at least over here. I wasn’t a big fan and I’ve not really seen them on any line-ups or heard them on the radio much over the last five years.

This album is at least a step in the right direction. None of it is quite as impactful as any of the previous tracks I named, but they’re at least solid, moody radio rock songs. That is, aside for the heavy AF single ‘Pink Lullabye’. It was like listening to a Zeal & Ardor track and I loved it. The rest of it was pretty similar, steady-paced, okayness (with lyrics of questionable quality), but damn is ‘Lullabye’ a tune. 6/10

ONE OK ROCK: Luxury Disease

The Japanese alt rock band returned last week with their tenth studio album. Going into it completely blind, having never heard the band before, I enjoyed it! It’s pretty basic pop rock, but there is nothing offensive or inherently bad about it. It was cool to hear the combination of English and Japanese vocals too, highlighting their own sound and culture as well as the sounds that inspired them. It reminds me of a combination of Panic! and Set it Off, but then with an even poppier ting to it.

‘Neon’ is probably my favourite track on the album, but again there aren’t really bad tracks here. The emotional ‘When They Turn the Lights On’ channelled heavy British vibes, whether it was Muse or Busted or Queen. Also, Teddy Swims sounds great in his guest vocals for ‘Free Them’. There’s a lot of good here if you’re into the lighter stuff. 7/10

Blackment: Plains of Oblivion

We’ve already done a full review of this album. Check it out, along with the fantastic score, here.

Built to Spill: When the Wind Forgets Your Name

Max: The American indie rock band, Built To Spill, is back with another great album. WTWFYN is the 10th album by the band, and it is a perfect addition. If you enjoy slower music its perfect for you as it, as always, focuses around Doug Martsch’s vocals and guitar. I found it difficult to sum up exactly what made this album so good but the simplicity of some for the riffs and the fun but relaxed vocals feel very relaxing. I sat up the other night listening to it and letting all of the instruments just wash over me and tell me everything that they have hidden beneath. It is a beautiful and yet thoughtful listen that can definitely click with everyone so long as it lets you. My rating might be slightly biased as I’ve been looking for an album that makes me feel the same way I did when I first listened to Motion City Soundtracks acoustics song, but it is an almost perfect 9/10 and I hope everyone reading this takes a listen.

Bloodbath: “Survival of the Sickest”

Max: Time for a sharp change of pace. The death metal supergroup is back with another very, very intense album. For those who are unfamiliar this group and has had a wild line up but currently consist of Martin Axenrot (Opeth), Nick Holmes (Paradise Lost), Jonas Renkse (Katatonia) and Anders Nystrom (Katatonia). so, with such a wild line up it is unsurprising that this album is brilliant for most and even better for those who follow black metal. The album is intense and is not always the friendliest of listens but it is a great one and i must say it isn’t a bad or hard place to start for those who don’t listen to black metal. So, if this becomes your entrance album, I do not blame you as it has got me back in to Katatonia and Paradise Lost. As I’ve mentioned this is a fun and intense album that does not disappoint and is great for those who need a heavy dose of music in their system. A very respectable 8/10

Laurence Jones: Destination Unknown

This is an old blues rock fans dream. Between the awesome riffs, powerful vocals and heavy focus on synth, this felt like it was ripped straight from the 70s. The guitar is of course a huge highlight of the album, but that shouldn’t take away from his great vocals and the awesome work of the band behind him. This sound has been coming back more and more in recent times, be it with Rival Sons or in the NWOCR scene, and tracks like ‘Anywhere With Me’, ‘Give Me that Feeling’ and ‘In Too Deep’ look to catapult Laurence pretty high up in that scene. If you’re into the likes of Rainbow, Foghat, Rival Sons or even ZZ Top, check this out, you won’t be disappointed! 7.5/10

BRELAND: Cross Country

Cross Country is the debut studio album of platinum single-selling artist BRELAND. He became big off of said single, ‘My Truck’, in 2020 after it hitting big on social media. This album features guest slots from the likes of Keith Urban, Ingred Andress and Thomas Rhett.

If all of that sounds insane for a 27-year-old musician… well I fucking agree.

The music itself combines R&B, rap and soul to the country sound. It’s basically what everyone wanted Lil Nas X to continue to sound like after ‘Old Town Road’. Now, I completely understand that this isn’t going to be every readers cup of tea. I get that I am in the small part of the Ven diagram that like both this and Bloodbath further up. However, I loved this. Tracks like ‘Praise the Lord’, ‘Natural’, ‘Don’t Look at Me’ and ‘For What it’s Worth’ are all fantastic tracks.

However, it’s not perfect. The album is pretty bloated at 14 tracks and there is a noticeable dip in energy (and arguably quality too) around the middle which it doesn’t really recover from. It verges more into his soul stuff which I’m sure a lot of his fans love, but it’s not as much for me. 6.5/10

Revocation: Netherheaven

Stray From the Path: Euthanasia

This was like Fever 333 on acid, and I loved every second of it. The bounce and swagger of the opening track had me hooked immediately, especially with the fantastic lyrics harshly rapped over the top.

The same energy continued throughout the album, too. It’s dark, heavy and dripping with attitude and anger. Tracks like ‘III’, ‘Bread and Roses’ and ‘The Salt in Your Spit’ are highlights of an album honestly filled with them. In an age where Rage Against the Machine feel corporate, having a younger, angrier, heavier band pick up the flag they dropped feels like a very good thing.

I feel bad for myself that this band have been going for a while now but this is the first I’ve really heard of them. I feel like the rest of my week is going to be checking out their older stuff, because that was fucking fantastic. 9/10

I AM: Eternal Steel

This band are very hard to find online. I don’t think they are the Fre3nch hip hop artist IAM, nor are they ZP (Dragonforce)’s side band I Am I. Therefore, all I can tell you is what I hear.

What I hear is heavy but damn good. ‘The Primal Wave’ opens things on a brutal, fantastic note, and it’s only up and up from there. Tracks like the title song and ‘Queen Incarnate’ are great and make me want to check out more of what the band I have to offer. Hopefully I can find more about them than just their discography and can see if they venture over here for live shows at all. This whole album would be fantastic live. Check it out if you’re into the heavy, almost medieval death metal stuff, you won’t regret it! 7.5/10

Kane Brown: Different Man

Kane Brown is going to become to Georgia what RHCP are to California if he keeps up like this. In all seriousness though, the man who did what BRELAND has just done but a few years earlier is back with his third studio album. After the HUGE sucess of the last one, I’m curious to see if he can keep his momentum going.

Right out of the gate ‘Bury Me in Georgia’ is a fantastic southern rock track. Next up is a dark, brooding roots track with Blake Shelton. But damn, it’s still good. ‘Like I Love Country Music’ channels the best kind of bro-country and adds some rock and fiddle to it. It’s a fantastic run of three tracks to open. It unfortunately again drops in energy a little again after that until ‘the excellent ‘Riot’. At least this one manages to claw back the fun and tempo, unlike BRELAND. The couple of tracks after it, ‘One Mississippi’ and ‘Drunk or Dreamin” are also great. ‘Pop’s Last Name’ is a beautiful, emotional ballad. ‘Devil Don’t Even Bother’ is True Blood style awesomeness.

However, my issue is the same as BRELAND (sorry to keep bringing him up). 17 tracks is simply too long. Is it an issue throughout country as a whole at the minute? Do none of them have producers? I can give four or five tracks that, while not bad by any stretch, I’d have cut to make this an easier, more concise listen. There are maybe 11 tracks on this that are phenomenal, and the rest seem too much as a result. 8.5/10, but it would have gotten a 9 if it was a little shorter.

Eat Your Heart Out: Can’t Stay Forever

Some more pop rock now, this time from Geordie Australia. I have to admit it was pretty enjoyable. I know it’s cliche at this point to compare any pop rock/pop punk with a female vocalist to Paramore, but screw you guys, I’mma do it anyway. They’re like a slightly heavier Paramore. They definitely feel like they are bridging the gap between rock and the weird ‘rock’ that is in pop these days. If you like this sort of music, check out tracks like ‘Down’, ‘Heavenly’ and ‘Sour’. 6.5/10

Until I Wake: Inside My Head

The creepy ‘The Sacrifice’ heading into the harsh vocals and huge riffing of ‘Forsaken’ may be one of my favourite album openings of recent times. For a debut album, too, that is one hell of an achievement. Heck, I would even good as far as to argue that ‘Forsaken’ is one of the best metalcore tracks released in the last nearly decade. That shit goes hard.

It is because of that track that I was surprised and a tad disappointed with the rest of the album. It’s still good, don’t get me wrong, but it feels like a different album to the opener entirely. It’s closer to Sempiternal/That’s the Spirit era Bring Me or even Linkin Park than the Norma Jean style metalcore I was expecting. We finally get some heavy stuff again towards the back end of the album like ‘Still Sinking’ and ‘Blue Beam’. Both are great tracks and I just wish more of the album had this sort of energy. Sprinkling a few in around radio-metal tracks is an odd choice and would definitely scare a casual listener checking them out after hearing their lighter stuff.

But still, the rest of the tracks are still good, just not what I was expecting after the opening. The band do both sides of metalcore very well so if you like the genre you’ll find something to enjoy! 7.5/10

Warforged: The Grove / Sundial

Aside for having some of the best album artwork I’ve ever seen, I actually found this the hardest album for me to review this week. While some of the music and riff are great, it’s the very definition of chaos. The vocals don’t help matters either, being very heavy death metal growls. It’s the least accessible album on this list, and that’s actually saying something this week, but I’m sure the band don’t care. There’s a couple of cool moments, like in ‘Hymn of Broken Teeth’, where multiple screams join together and sound awesome. I’d definitely recommend checking that track out out of any of them, it’s probably the best representation of them as a band. But it was even a little to heavy and chaotic for me. If you enjoy this then awesome, I’m sure its fucking fantastic if you like the genre. But it wasn’t for me, so gets a 4/10

Derek Hoke: Electric Mountain

While some of this was a tad too slow for me, tracks like ‘Let Go of my Heart’, ‘Hush Your Mouth’ and ‘Novocaine’ being particular standouts. It takes a very traditional approach to country music which I can definitely appreciate and would probably love a lot more after seeing it live. I don’t really have many more thoughts about this one, it’s a good, atmospheric album that I feel would make a fantastic soundtrack to a moody movie/tv series. It may take me another couple of listens to fully ‘get’ though. 6.5/10

And there we have it guys. We did it! What a crazy weekend, but there are some insanely good albums here. If you enjoyed the article, check out more from our Instagram here.

Kyle Daniel: ‘A winner never quits and a quitter never wins!’

We had the chance to sit down with Kentucky’s own Kyle Daniel to talk about his European tour (including The Long Road Festival), and his music, past and future!

How was the European tour?

Oh man, I’m still on an absolute high from that thing. It was incredible. This time felt like a family reunion of sorts. It was very nice!

The cool thing about this run was all of the different places that we played. We played on a boat, we played the blues garage which felt like we were in Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge Tennessee or something. I love playing clubs, I’ve played clubs my whole life, and a couple of venues in Germany were like that. And then obviously The Long Road Festival (review here) was super cool as well!

What’s the scene like in Europe compared to over there?

I think there’s a different appreciation for music all together. It feels a little hungrier I guess. Maybe it’s the fact that they don’t get to see a bunch of American artists so part of the hunger comes from that. But man, some of the best fans that anybody could as for, definitely. The support from socials to merchandise to streaming songs, the crowd over there is a different beast, for sure.

Your local scene looks to be having a bit of a resurgence too, right? Any other artists you want to shout out?

Yeah! I mean there’s so many that it’s really tough to kinda single anybody out. There’s a lot of groups in and around Kentucky that are making a splash right now. I think it’s really cool. For the longest time I think Kentucky Tennessee people think like ‘do your cousins wear shoes?’ and stuff like that. For the longest time there was a weird stigma about being from Kentucky. I think guys like Tyler Childers and Sturgil Simpson and Chris Stapleton obviously blew the doors wide open for it to be cool to be from Kentucky again. I’m just glad to see some buddies overseas, I got to see Everette while over there and it’s like man, we played in a bar that holds 350 people for years and years called Tidballs in my hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Super proud of them!

How would you describe your sound? What inspirations do you draw from?

I would categorise it as southern rock personally, as that’s what I grew up on. I love The Almond Brothers, Greg Almond is my hero. And obviously the duel guitar leads, that leant itself to [Lynyrd] Skynyrd and Thin Lizzy and The Band, that classic sound that was this Southern thing. Even though The Band weren’t from the south they definitely sounded like a southern band.

I think that was what really initially for me that set the hook. My dad was a big Almond Brothers and Skynyrd fan and Marshal Tucker and Charlie Daniels so you put all that stuff together… I specifically remember I think that all leant itself to my own personal taste when I remember my dad saying ‘Son, this is real music’ and put on The Almond Brothers band. ‘Statesboro Blues’, they counted it off and I will never forget what it sounded like when that slide guitar came in. I was like ‘what is that?’ and my dad was like ‘son, that’s slide guitar, you need to learn how to play that!’.

So that was it. I went from some teenage punk kid that loved what was popular. Ironically early on Green Day was one of my favourite bands. I had a different eclectic taste, I loved a lot of hip-hop and rap. I grew up in the 90s so a lot of that R&B, soul stuff kinda peppered in with the alt rock stuff so it was kind of a jolt to say the least when that kind of stuff was introduced. I was listening to something completely different at the time. It definitely spun me in the right direction!

You put out the Following the Rain EP a couple of months ago. Did you want to talk about it? It seems like quite the journey!

Yeah man. I think this entire record, which will be ‘Kentucky Gold’, is quite the journey. I started writing this probably a year before Covid started and it’s still not out. There’s many reasons for that. The record itself, the songs are very close to me. I think this record as a whole gives a 30,000ft view of who Kyle Daniel is as a writer, as an artist, as a human being. A lot of them are very emotional songs.

I wrote a song for my wife on the record which I had never done before. I wrote a song that touches on dealing with depression and the things that I’d kinda gone through in that time. We did cut the record in the midst of Covid so that was in 2020 I believe. They’re very close to me, they’re very personable. I wrote a song about my old man on the record. I wrote about the state of the Union in some of the stuff. Not politically charged one way or the other, just a hey, this is where we’re at. A sign of the times sort of song. Ironically it still rings true to this day.

I think I tried to give as broad of a perspective of the way that I think, the way that I can feel at times and who I really am. That way people that don’t know who I am maybe get a little better understanding of that.

I can’t imagine you can give much about the dates of the album but is looking like this year?

No, I think it’s probably going to be a next year thing. I waited on it because I couldn’t tour in the midst of Covid so I tried to do what I could to keep the fire burning on socials and just being selective. I felt like what I have in this record is special and I didn’t want to rush it out just to rush it out. I probably could have done that but I’ve spent a small fortune as an unsigned artist on this record so I felt like as a businessman I had to make sound decisions on when and how I release the record.

You know, some things work, some things don’t. I feel like I’m in a really good position at this point and I think it’ll definitely coming out next year. And I think the patience I’ve had will lead to the record being hopefully more successful.

The unsigned artist thing is really taking of recently, it’s easier than ever to get heard.

Yeah it is. For me I know that can be good and bad. Part of the frustration sometimes is not being able to cast a wider net. But you can sit here in your home studio and record a record and put it up on Tunecore just like that. I think it has its pros and its cons. You have the freedom and the creativity to do what you’d like but you can hit a ceiling real fast.

Have you got any advice you could give to an artist just starting out?

Stay after it. I think that’s the number one name of the game here in Nashville and I think maybe anything in life. My old man used to always tell me ‘A winner never quits and a quitter never wins’. That’s a very true statement, I think that only the strong survive. It’s a dog eat dog world. There are 2500 artists in Nashville right now at my level doing what I’m doing. They’d cut my throat to get in front of me any day of the week. I’m not saying that maliciously, but everybody’s serious about what they do. I think if you don’t have an undying hunger for music you should probably try to find something different. It’s a gruelling, long road that artists take.

I’ve been here for 13 years and watched them blow up like a firework but then do just that and be done. Then I’ve also seen people who’ve taken a bit more of the long road approach. Put the time in, played their dues, played the small dirty venues for $25 and they have continued to write, record, tour, just continue to push the ball down the court. Sooner or later that gets recognised.

And there we have it! As always keep up to date on all of our content from our Instagram here.

The Long Road 2022: The Big Bad Review – Day 3

Our third and final day at the festival again found us headed to the Front Porch stage early doors. We heard Tim Prottey-Jones on the YETI Tailgate Bar while we waited for James Riley to come on with his 90s Nashville set. Both artists were good and helped set the tone of the day pretty well, much like before. Whether it was the solo acoustic act or the full-on country/bluegrass band, they were both good to sit back and relax too after queuing far too long for a coffee.

Lauren Morrow grew on me a lot throughout her set. While the whole singer and acoustic guitar setup had grown a little thin on me by this point in the weekend, Lauren was such a nice, wholesome person that you couldn’t not have a good time. Whether it was the fun stories she told behind the songs or getting genuinely choked up about finally getting to return to the UK, it was a real pleasure to watch. She has clear Dolly Parton inspirations and ‘Barbara Jean’ is one of my favourite tracks of the whole weekend, honestly.

Next up were Gangstagrass. My god, hold my beer. Remember on the last day when I said that there were a few contenders to set of the weekend? Well, this is another one up there with Hudson. They are a unique blend of Bluegrass and Public Enemy style rap which honestly should work nowhere near as well as it does. This was a rock show in everything but sound. The guys owned the stage and the crowd and honestly tore the roof off the whole festival. They had such a presence about them that made it impossible to take your eyes off them, whether you are into the genres or not.

Check out more country here.

And, surprisingly, the tent was PACKED. Given the rap element, I kind of expected the band to be more niche. But nope, the crowd was the biggest I’d seen in there and they were bouncing around, singing and doing whatever the band asked them to do. And they’re all so talented, both at their instruments and the insane 5-part harmonies. And the lyrics were actually meaningful and profound, too. Man, I cannot gush about this band enough. They should and will be massive. put them on any stage at any festival and they’d go down a storm. SEE THEM.

We headed back to the main stage then for Kyle Daniel. We actually saw him twice, once with his band and once on his own acoustically later on. Both sets were great, and very different. Being rockier than most on the bill and sounding like a fun combination of Blackberry Smoke and Chris Stapleton, it was right up my street. Plus, his voice was so amazing that it translated amazingly over to acoustic. Two great sets from a guy that I definitely need to check out more. He could be massive over here, given the sucess of bands like Black Stone Cherry and The Cadillac Three.

We got to see a full set from Sunny Sweeney next. It felt a little like Stevie Nicks doing country, that’s probably the closest thing I can think of to describe it. It was a good, fun, set and another that was nice to chill out to. Much like Brandy the day before, very typical country music, but with a little more of a pop edge. She’s a good frontwoman and everyone did their parts well.

We caught the all-female bluegrass band Della Mae next and had a lot of fun. I mean, how can you not have fun seeing bluegrass live? They were pretty polished which is sometimes rare in the genre and played a good set to a loud, supportive crowd.

Then it was back to the main stage for the final run of acts. Lindsey Ell was great, but man does she have a lot of energy on stage. Like that isn’t a bad thing at all, but she was almost hyperactive between songs and could have been slightly off-putting at times. Still, she has a fantastic back catalogue of pop-rock-country songs and played a great set showing of a lot of them. Her band were great too. I couldn’t help but enjoy myself watching her and she’s another artist I’d love to catch again.

Next up were Locash, the third in the tie of best performances of the weekend. The most bro-country band to ever bro-country. It’s so easy to love them just as much as it is for some to inevitably hate them. I found myself struggling when they first came on, and it seemed like the crowd were sharing my sentiment. However, as soon as they started to interact with the crowd and their personalities came out, they quickly turned the tides. By the end of the set they had everyone swaying and jumping around.

Whether it was their big hits like ‘I Love This Life’ or ‘Beach Boys’ or covers of Backstreet Boys and Fountains of Wayne, they owned that stage and the crowd watching them. I don’t have a bad thing to say about them. Both brothers are phenomenal frontmen and the band behind them were excellent. Heck, the lead guitar was far too over-qualified. I wasn’t expecting to hear any sweep-picking at a country festival, never mind multiple solos with it! I cannot wait or these guys to announce a UK tour, I’ll be there in a heartbeat. A HUGE highlight of the weekend.

Then we reached the headliner of the night, the mighty Cadillac Three. They’re the main reason I wanted to go to the festival aside for Chris Young. I’ve seen them a handful of times already but not too recently, so I was excited to see their new stuff.

I loved it, but unfortunately there seemed to be a bit of a disconnect with some of the crowd. Don’t get me wrong, their bigger tracks like ‘White Lightening’ and ‘The South’ won people over by the end and everyone was interacting. However, they opened on a lot of their newer stuff and did a whole ‘Tabasco and Sweet Tea’ section that even bored me a little. I love COUNTRY FUZZ and hearing stuff off that was great. However, maybe at a festival where it seems that not as many people are into the heaviest band on the line-up playing a bit more of their older stuff may have helped. And while I loved the THICC guitar tone, it made them sound even heavier and clearly scared a few people off. It was a great set overall but maybe the wrong one for the crowd they had.

Then we got a real treat. Everette opened the after-party in the Insterstate, and it was amazing. They played the same sort of set but in a completely different environment than the previous set it was so interesting. The tent was pretty packed and everyone was loving it, dancing around and singing when they could. Also, my god do the band do a FANTASTIC cover of ‘Rocketman’. And bringing on Jared and the boys from TC3 on at the end was just the icing on top of the awesome cake. What a great way to close a great weekend!

And there we have it, our review of everything we saw at The Long Road 2022! We loved every minute of it, having discovered loads of new amazing bands and artists to listen to. I want to see a lot of the bands we saw again and we’ll definitely be back next year!

Did you enjoy our review? As usual you can keep up to date on all of our content from our Instagram here

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The Long Road: The Big Bad Review – Day 2

We spent the morning of day 2 wandering around the arena, taking in what other things it had to offer aside for the live music. There was plenty to do. From a great classic US car show to traditional games like Cornhole and Horseshoe, we had great fun killing some time. The festival really gave you your moneys worth, with axe throwing on offer too as well as various events like hotdog and wing eating, cowboy Olympics and barn dancing.

I also just wanted to take this opportunity to speak about how fantastically organised this festival was. It had such a warm and friendly atmosphere throughout, with plenty of families bringing their kids and dogs. There was a place for kids to play and a whole field closed off where the dogs could be taken to run around. And because there were bins everywhere the place was so clean. I’m so used to rock festivals being just music and that’s it and generally the crowd littering more, so being somewhere like this was great.

As we were wandering around we caught Benjamin Francis Leftwich on the Front Porch. Hearing a British person performing at the festival was a little odd but he did a good job. He had a cool folk vibe to his acoustic singer-songwriter presentation. It fit in well with the rest of the music there. Honestly, I feel bad for not knowing him beforehand as he seems like a pretty big name. Much like Kevin Daniel, he was a slower, stripped-back way of opening the day for us. It was the perfect way to set the scene.

Next up were one of my highlights of the weekend, Everette. I could have watched them play all day and was so glad they did two sets across the weekend (more on the other later). This one saw them far too early on but on the Front Porch, which felt like a perfect setting for the duo. Opening on crowd (and personal) favourite ‘Dang the Whiskey’, the two whisked through a far too brief set of their greatest hits, and a couple of brand-new ones thrown in for good measure. They held the crowd’s attention throughout and are another that are going to be the future of the genre.

Check out our last big review here.

Then we had the awesome pleasure of seeing Jess again. This time it was at a more intimate setting of the Buddy’s Good Time Bar stage. While playing a muchly similar set, it was nice to be able to sit down and see everything a little better and relax, instead of bouncing around and singing. The Good Time Bar had a pretty chilled out feeling all weekend. There was little crowd interaction, just appreciating the music, and that’s exactly what we all did here.

We headed back over to the Interstate stage, this time for an Irish band called Hudson Taylor. I had them circled on my app as ones to check out but couldn’t remember why. I’m so glad I did. They put on maybe one of the best performances of the weekend. At least on parr with a couple of the bands from Sunday.

The brothers fronting the band again put in their all and had the talent to back it up. And of course their band did their part to perfection too. It’s another act that I feel disappointed in myself for not knowing, especially given that I generally love the alt-folk kinda sound they play. They also had that pop edge to them that reminded me of the 90s US pop rock bands like Hanson and Matchbox Twenty. Whether it was their older hits or tracks off their 2022 album, they performed it all amazingly and the crowd loved every second. They have a new, big fan in me! Hopefully they come back nearby soon!

We finally headed over to the mainstage for the first time that weekend to see the amazing Seaforth. Being such a big name, I’d heard a couple before. But have to admit, I wasn’t that fussed on track. They brought it live thought, and more than won me over. It’s all very polished and pop, right down to the Sean Kingston samples, but it was good to watch live. The guys are consummate professionals and I’m honestly shocked they haven’t broken out over here massive already. ‘Good Beer’ is a catchy, poppy, radio-baity hit and I have found myself humming it a bunch over the last few days.

We went for some food and caught the back end of Camille Parker on the Front Porch. She was okay, but even more pop than Seaforth. It didn’t quite fit with the feel of the festival in some ways. Then it was back over to main for Cassadee Pope.

One of the most rock artists of the weekend, Cassadee leaned into that distinction with a set that wouldn’t seem out of place opening for P!nk or Orianthi. Obviously her formerly being the vocalist of Hey Monday influences her current sound a fair bit, which is great. It was definitely my sort of pace and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The band did a great job and the crowd were surprisingly into it quite a bit. She threw in a Monday song or two with the more country tracks. But, honestly, tracks like ‘Tomorrow Night’ would have fit right at home with her old band. It’s rare to hear so many genres blended together so effortlessly, and it made for one hell of a set from Cassadee.

Brandy Clark was up next with an almost completely different set and sound. Having a lot more of a traditional country setup with a double bass and other strings, it was a more chilled out set that seemed to perfectly bridge the gap between Cassadee and the nights headliner. Tracks like ‘Get High’ and ‘Big Day in a Small Town’ of course went down a storm. The crowd were clearly, for the most part, big fans of her work. She’s got such a stage presence and swagger, as well as a great back catalogue, that you’d expect her to have been going much longer than she has been. I’d love to see her again, and may have to soon.

Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives to close out the night. Yep, that’s right, MARTY FUCKIN’ STUART LADIES AND GENTS. And, for a guy in his 60s and who has done it all, the guy did not disappoint one single bit. Whether it was playing his fantastic own songs or diving back into his history of playing and collaborating with other artists with covers of ‘Ring of Fire’, ‘Wipe out’ and ‘I’ve Always Been Crazy’, he and the Superlatives smashed it all out of the park.

Due to being a very late bump up to headliner due to Chris Young having to drop out due to Covid, he brought on some fantastic guests too. Whether it was Andrew Coombs, Sunny Sweeney or Kezia Gill, each made it count and you could tell they had a blast. Oh, and did I mention that each of the other three band members had their time in the spotlight, fronting for a couple of songs each (all of which were great, by the way). This was as masterclass and a history in country and bluegrass music and I was hooked from the start to the very end. What a fantastic way to close out the night.

The Long Road: The Big Bad Review

Yep, you read that right. Overtone crashed a country festival. And, spoiler alert, it was fucking awesome. The Long Road 2022 celebrated the best of country, Americana and roots music, as well as having plenty of US pastimes as well on top of it all. We tried to soak up as much as we could of this fantastic, family friendly festival. And, we wanted to let you know just how much we enjoyed it!

After setting up and getting a quick lay of the land on the Friday, we found ourselves at the beautiful Front Porch stage watching Kevin Daniel. The North Carolinan/Brooklynite Americana songwriter did a fantastic job playing so early on and opening the festival for a fair few people. He rattled through a fantastic 40-minute set of some of his biggest hits. It was a great, chilled out way to start us off and ease us into an environment we hadn’t really experienced before.

Next up we ended up at the second stage, The Interstate, for Canadian pop-country Breakout star Jess Moskaluke. This was a little more of my sort of speed as she had a full band behind her and it had a rock edge, even if it was very pop. She reminded me a lot of Shania Twain, especially in her most recent single, ‘Knock Off’. She went down a storm in the tent for her entire set, having everyone dancing around and joining in. It’s very clear to me why she’s getting so big and she definitely has a new fan in me. I’m pretty sure each of the tracks she played has made it onto my Spotify, so that should say something!

More country here.

After taking in a few of the stalls, we headed back to the Insterstate stage for Priscilla Block. While she was still very good, she felt like a slight bit of a comedown after Jess. She’s a little slower and more ballady, which definitely isn’t an issue, but a quicker track or two might have been fun! Still, the stuff off her February album, ‘Welcome to the Block Party’, went down a storm. Plus, ‘Off the Deep End’ is a tune and everyone in the audience loved it. I’ll definitely be listening to her more of her moving forward.

Next up on said stage were the folk/indie rock band Fruit Bats. While they were even slower than Pricilla, they brought a fair amount of energy and stage-presence to the set. They gave it their all and, in turn, so did the crowd. I didn’t know them heading into the festival but, even though I’m not a huge fan of the genre, I’ve found myself listening to them a fair bit in the couple of days since. I’d love to see these guys again.

And now for something completely different (for Overtone, at least). That is a sentence I feel like I’ll say quite a lot in this write-up. Noble Jacks played an Americana set that I loved, and it’s opened my eyes properly to a whole new genre. Yes, I’d had a fair bit to drink at this point, but they were a lot of fun to listen to. The mostly seated crowd at the Front Porch were loving it too. A great way to spend a night, sitting around a fire, learning American Folk songs and getting drunk. What’s not to love?

Then we reached the headliner of the night, Drake White. One of the acts I was most excited for heading into this, he didn’t disappoint one bit. Whether it was his biggest tracks like ‘Livin’ The Dream’ or ‘Power of a Woman’ or snippets of covers of the likes of ‘Hard to Handle’, ‘Use Somebody’ or even Pearl Jam’s ‘Alive’, the setlist was packed full of fantastic songs. His band were top notch and Drake had the crowd in the palm of his hand from start to finish. It was one of the busiest times I’d seen the tent stage for a band, and I cannot imagine a single person came away disappointed. The Optimystic has been on a lot on my Spotify since this set and for very good reason. Drake White is the future of country music, and I’m sure you haven’t heard that here first.

New Music Mondays: Whiskey Myres, Dance Gavin Dance and More!

You should know the dealio by now. New music from nine awesome bands. Let’s get straight to it!

Whiskey Myres: Tornillo

The southern rockers returned with their sixth album this last week. I was a HUGE fan of their last couple of albums so this one had a lot to live up to. I think Tornillo does just that. Tracks like ‘John Wayne’ and ‘Feet’s’ perfectly encapsulate what the band are about in terms of sound and style, and are hugely catchy and fun to boot. But, fun quick country or ballad, the band are such good songwriters that it’s all incredible and arena-filling without it being the modern day country cheese. This band deserve to be massive, and I really hope they start getting the love and praise they should over here now country is starting to take off big. A damn hard album to beat in this genre this year! 9/10

Beddy Rays: Self-Titled

The Aussie rockers put out a damn fun indie-drenched album on Friday. For a debut album too, it’s fantastic. The band have been putting out music for five years already, but putting out a full length release so consistent first time is always impressive. Tracks like ‘Week on Repeat’, ‘Sort it Out’ and ‘Sobercoaster’ are all excellent highlights. However, honestly if you are into the more indie side of rock, you’ll enjoy every track on the album. Good stuff! 8/10

Dance Gavin Dance: Jackpot Juicer

Controversy aside, this band has always been a collection of insanely talented musicians, and that is on full display again with this album. It’s an hour of post-Tool math post hardcore craziness, and I found myself loving it. Will Swan is a criminally underrated Guitarist and both Jon Mess and Tilian Pearson handle the duel vocals perfectly. The album also acts as a fitting tribute to longtime bassist Tim Feerick, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Tracks like ‘For the Jeers’ and ‘Cream of the Crop’ are fantastic, but yet again this whole album is great. 8.5/10

Check out more (kinda) math rock here.

Krisiun: Mortem Solis

Time for some Brazilian death metal. The band’s 12th studio album opens going hard and doesn’t let up once. It’s a brutal assault to the ears in the best way. If you are a fan of the heavy side of metal you’ll definitely get enjoyment out of this. Tracks like ‘Serpent Messiah’ and ‘Temple of the Abattoir’ are awe3some. The guitaring is a real highlight, Moyses Kolesne being another underrated player. However, the only negative I had was that nothing really stood out. It was all solid, but it just sounded like your typical straight-up death metal. That’s completely fine, but I’d love a bit of variety in it at times! 6.5/10

Funeral Chic: Roman Candle

The old-school biker sludge/hardcore metallers returned with their third studio album last week. Opening on the interesting, slower, great ‘Made in America’, the pace soon picks up with ‘Spit and Crawl’. The pace flits between the two styles throughout, sounding like anything from Metallica to Rob Zombie to Misfits. The whole album is awesome, every track being just as good as the last. I also love it when the band lean more and more into the sludgy edge the have, there being some great riffs and breakdowns here. My only ever so slight criticism is that the vocals could have been slightly higher in the mix. 7.5/10

Stick to Your Guns: Spectre

Hardcore punk and metalcore often go hand-in-hand, but I’ve not heard it done quite as masterfully was I have here. From the opening track you get a clear indication of the bands impressive signwriting skill, blending together anger and aggression with huge, anthemic choruses. They remind me of a heavier A Day to Remember, inspired by metal instead of pop punk. Everything from the clean and harsh vocals to the quick drums and guitars to the insane breakdowns, all of it was fantastic. It’s a modern heavy-lover’s dream while still having arena-filling earworms to get them plenty of new fans from the more mainstream audiences. I honestly can’t pick highlights from this, a lot of it made it onto the playlist. An album I’ll be listening to a lot over the coming weeks and months. 9/10

Bastions: Majestic Desolation

The first album released by the band in 11 years, The band make the most of showcasing their talent after so much time off. The band go HARD on this album, combining elements of black metal and hardcore together well. It’s not really my thing, and the tracks did all blend together a little when I listened to them, but I can definitely appreciate the talent and songwriting skill of the band. I’ll give it a 5/10, though I’m sure bigger fans of the genre would give it much higher!

Belphegor: The Devils

It’s blackened death metal. If you like the genre, like I am starting to, you’ll love this. It takes all the good parts from black metal but adds fun stuff too like riffs and good production. And this is a band very clearly near the top of the genre where songwriting is concerned. Tracks like ‘Damnation’ and ‘Kingdom of Cold Flesh’ are awesome and definite highlights! 6.5/10

Cats in Space: Kickstart the Sun

The AOR/power Prog rock space lovers are back with their fifth album. It’s pretty great if you like this sort of thing. Fantastic instrumentation, amazing vocals and harmonies and some good lyrics. I again cannot help but compare them to the awesome Night Ranger, and that is definitely a compliment. My only slight issue is that it does all seem a little similar. I was much more than happy to listen to the album all the way through, but the tracks blended together a little and I’d struggle to name them if it weren’t written in front of me. A different sound, feeling or timing would have been nice somewhere! Still, there is plenty to love from start to finish! 7.5/10

And there we have it, another surprisingly awesome week! As always keep up to date on all of our content from our Instagram here.

What The Hell Have I got Myself Into?: Another Fantastic EP From Emily Lockett!

Country rock/pop artist Emily Lockett recently did a crowdfund for her latest EP as part of her university course. Being a massive fan, I had to donate to help out and get a copy sent over. While it isn’t yet available on streaming platforms, we got the physical copy today and I’ve already been spinning it none stop. It’s also available at her gigs, I do believe! Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Fading into an immediately anthemic, stadium filling intro riff with ‘Girl Out of Nowhere’, Emily’s vocals soon come in over the top and straight away make me smile. I am an unashamed early Taylor Swift fan, and Emily Lockett has always worn that inspiration firmly on her sleeve. It’s great, as we definitely need more of this kind of music in the world, especially the UK! A steady verse leads to a huge, stadium-filling chorus that is catchy as anything. The bridge and solo after the second chorus were nice too, showing off Emily’s great skill as a musician and songwriter. I was expecting a reprisal of the chorus again afterwards but instead we get another quick verse to fade us out with. A fantastic song and one hell of a way to open an EP!

‘Never Be You’ opens on just Emily singing over her acoustic guitar, some subtle vocal harmonies and a second guitar building in perfectly after a few bars. It heads into a chorus that actually reminded me a fair bit of Alanis Morrissette with the vocal melody, which again isn’t an issue at all. It’s another infectiously catchy chorus in a style that is both nostalgic and very Emily Lockett in equal measure. It’s slow and emotional but still fun and bouncy, much like the whole track.

Check out another country review here.

We somehow get a solo and bridge combined between the choruses, Emily’s voice fitting perfectly over the top of the lead guitar, bolstering both parts. The stripped-back return to the chorus was of course awesome, and it built back into the full band perfectly. What a track. This will easily make the playlist once it’s up on streaming sites, one of my favourites Emily’s done.

Next up is a beautiful, emotional piano ballad. ‘If Only I’ is fantastic, just Emily spilling her heart over the top of some simple, perfect piano chords. There’s some subtle strings in here and some sporadic vocal harmonies too, but not much at all. Sometimes a track doesn’t need to have crazy amounts of dynamics and change-ups to be good. This is a simple, straight forward track that tells one hell of story that I’m sure most listeners can relate to, while also providing a great backdrop for it instrumentally. Amazing stuff.

‘I Said Hi’ opens on a fun, almost Newton Faulkner-style riff. In fact, the guitar throughout reminds me a lot of Newton’s work. The vocals of course are catchy over the top, once again filled with emotion and heartache. The rest of the band do a fun job with this, with the drums and extra guitar adding a lot to the track. I can’t say anything negative about any of Emily Lockett ‘s music, it’s all fantastic.

The EP closes on a slightly higher tempo track, and the most stadium-country track I have heard Emily do. The opening riff is fun and bouncy and that feeling continues through the verse even though the lyrics are the complete opposite. The chorus is anthemic and huge, another stadium-filler. The drop out to just the beat and vocals for the final chorus was nice, as was the fantastic key change. I cannot get over just how good the chorus is, too. This is another track that will make it straight onto the playlist once it’s released on streaming!

Overall: This was great. I had no doubt it would be, but Emily still always pulls it out of the bag. Another collection of five awesome tracks that I will be listening to for the rest of the year. Emily deserves to be massive, and this EP is a huge step in that direction, I believe!

The Score: 8.5/10

The Skyline Lights: An Ambitious Project In a Tetralogy of Them!

When talking to Daniel Sherrill, my contact from the Chicagoland area special events planning team, he had this to say about the inspiration for Skyline Lights :

What inspired this particular release was us wanting to put together a perfect set of songs that the listener would have on their Mp3 player during an evening walk in the city of Chicago after being dropped off by the Metra train. The train I take from Elburn, IL to Chicago drops you off at the Ogilvie Transportation Center which is located right in the heart of “The Loop” area which is the most photogenic part of the city at night. It’s the most calming thing to being foot exploring all of the skyscrapers when they’re lit up at night. You get the full effect out of it on a walk with the right music to lead the way. That’s where the title came from and inspiration. Spring is the season coming up here where I’m having those exact same walks. Now I have a designated playlist for the occasion.

The album itself is a massively impressive feat. 145 tracks of country, pop, rock and symphonic metal performed by some of the best female artists around today. Now, that’s a long walk, I have to say. So, unfortunately, I cannot do a written review of all of the tracks. I do, however, have some plans for more features on this soon. In the meantime, I have a review of the first 20 tracks on the album, as well as a few more words from Daniel!

After a brief monologue intro from Jillian Jade Kallenbach, we launch into the title track, sung by Ariel Ryder. It’s a pop track so obviously not what we typically cover here, but I really enjoyed it. It was simple, just a slow piano, simple drums and some fantastic, multi-tracked vocals. The emotion is palpable already, something I feel will be a feature throughout the album. Ariel is one hell of a vocalist and gets to show it off perfectly here.

Shirley Tracanna, front-woman of Czech symphonic metal band Wishmasters, does a fantastic piano cover of Lady gaga’s ‘Million Reasons’. It was beautiful and such a showcase of Shirley’s talent, especially when it’s quite a different sound than her usual work. Moa Lignell also does a fantastic cover, this time of Dire Straits’ ‘Why Worry’. Both tracks are fairly similar in terms of composition, with this one too being a beautiful piano ballad.

When diving further in-depth about the project, Daniel said:

This is the fourth such compilation we’ve released and each one features a larger cast than the one previous. “The Skyline Lights” was meant to be the finale of the four albums so extra care was taken to bring a memorable group of artists together this time to create something special and to have a carefully planned release day that everyone could be involved in and share with their fans. I was very pleased with how it turned out.

There’s a good mix of Country artists and female fronted Symphonic rock musicians. Usually the two genres are never on the same releases but here everyone’s songs blend in well.

Next up Freakstorm bring a country-rock feel to proceedings with their acoustic track, ‘Out of the Door’. It’s definitely the closest track to ‘my thing’ so far, and again it’s so well done. Brimming with emotion, it’s insane that people can get such feeling out of vocals and an acoustic guitar. The storyline through the tracks so far has been fantastic too, setting the scene beautifully.

The album returns to the piano ballads with Demetra Dokos’ beautiful track. Then we finally start getting a few ensemble pieces. While still heavily piano-led, German symphonic metal band Xiphea adds some beautiful strings over the top as well as some distorted guitar for the choruses. It’s a metal ballad through and through and wouldn’t sound out of place on the latest Epica album, it’s that good.

Then you have tracks like ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Big Bang Drums’ that add an almost folk-rock style to their symphonic metal base. Heck, the latter in particular, from Mireya Derksen, feels like it draws together that many genres of music, from rock to metal to folk to electro-pop. It reminds me a lot of The Fifth Element. I would take that as a compliment because what a soundtrack that movie had. This is a personal favourite track of mine, but so far all have been fantastic.

‘Hammer of Thor’ is somehow a folk-pop track, a sub-genre I didn’t know I needed so much of in my life. Oda Gondrosen does a fantastic job on this track, and it honestly wouldn’t sound out of place in Vikings or The Hobbit.

Our theatre group/events planning team had been away from doing live events for two years during the pandemic and this series of streaming compilations was a good way to keep active and to engage our usual fans in the absence of live events. We’d been a consistent live event group since 2008 and now that the majority of our state is back to normal we will be directing and collaborating on a series of brand new events with the group members from the Chicago area.

‘A fifth compilation is set for late July to reunite the international group of artists from “The Skyline Lights” and for those who can’t geographically be part of the new events.

Erika Johnston Miner has the unenviable task of covering Brian Adams’ classic ‘Heaven’. It’s fitting emotionally, but I do have to admit I prefer the original. It just doesn’t quite have the same power behind it as Adams’ version.

The Soap Girls arrive a little later on to bring some much needed variety to the tracks, adding their own level of punk to it all. However, having said that, it still maintains the same atmosphere and darkness as all the other tracks on the album so far. It’s truly impressive that they have managed to get so many styles into one album while still keeping the same feeling throughout. 18 tracks in and it’s still interesting and flowing well.

Our good friend Jehanna brings her Ancient Waters project to the proceedings with her awesome track, Måneskinsskygge. We already have a review of the album up which features this song, which you can find here. It fits in with this album just as well as her own, too.

The project isn’t just about the recording, either. Daniel and his colleagues are planning a massive three night show across various different venues in Chicago. ‘In the 80s when a movie was too long for one night on regular television they would promote it as a “three part miniseries” at least here in the states like Ben Hur… Sound of Music.. Jesus of Nazareth” all the long two vhs tape movies… like Titanic.

‘So that’s our vibe for the new tour. A three part miniseries. Where the audience comes to all three shows to be in in the running storyline.’

You can check out the rest of the album and also donate to the cause here. And, as usual, if you enjoyed our content, drop is a follow on Instagram here.

New Music Mondays: Billy Talent, Comeback Kid and More!

Another week, another round-up of the album releases and me giving you my opinion on them. A real mixed bag this week. A lot of punk, a splash of metal and even some country wiggling its way in too! Check out all the new music below!

Billy Talent: Crisis of Faith

Opening your first album back in six years on a nearly 6-minute, two-part track is a ballsy move, but ‘Forgiveness I + II’ is just the tip of the awesomness iceberg (but it’s a good tip, especially with that saxophone). From there the band rip into their awesome, balls-to-the-wall lead single ‘Reckless Paradise’ and equally great ‘I Beg to Differ’. I could sit here all day and go over all ten awesome tracks on the album, but instead I’ll just say CHECK THIS OUT. I can see this being up in contender for album of the year in 11 months time, it’s that good. 9/10

Comeback Kid: Heavy Steps

The hardcore punk icons returned with their seventh studio album this last week. I know of the band but they were always a little heavy for me back in my youth. Therefore, I have no real reference point with this compared to their older stuff, bar the odd song. It sounds pretty decent though. Unfortunately like most hardcore music, it does get a little repetitive towards the end. If you like that kind of music I’m sure you’d love it, but it got a little old for me around the 2/3rds mark. 6.5/10

Yard Act: The Overload

The Leeds-based post-punk band released their debut album on Friday. I’d never even heard of them before but I have to admit, I liked what I heard. The Overload is an entertaining, funny blend of early Arctic Monkeys and Blur. It’s an entire album of ‘Parklife’, but far angrier and politically charged. It’s lyrically fantastic and the instrumentation is good enough to carry the rest of the tracks through. Highlights include ‘Dead Horse’, ‘Rich’ and ‘Land of the Blind’. 8.5/10

Dollyrots: Down the Rabbit Hole

Strap in guys, it’s a long one. An hour and twelve minutes, 24 songs and two discs. Some would argue that is far too much pop-punk. I would agree, but the second disc is all covers, and it’s massively enjoyable. That’s not to take away from the first disc, it’s also enjoyable, but none are exactly ‘Ruby Soho’ or ‘Walking On Sunshine’. A good album, but it was definitely helped along bvy some kickass punk covers. 7.5/10

Battle Beast: Circus of Doom

A band that I seem to be seeing and hearing everywehre at the minute, Battle Beast returned with their sixth album this last week. The power metal sextet once again knock it out of the park, with epic instrumentation, soaring vocals and enough heaviness to keep even the most loyal metalhead happy. Tracks like the opener and ‘Master of Illusion’ are awesome and well worth checking out no matter what your music tastes. HOw is power metal not a bigger genre by now? 8/10

If you like this, check out our Powerwolf review!

Age of Apocalypse: Grim Wisdom

Doom/thrash metal band (not the fantastic X-Men storyline that Google brings up) return with their second album, Grim Wisdom. Short, sweet and straight to the point, the album is a 27-minute schooling on modern darker metal. It’s heavy, steady and sludgy, and everyone plays their parts perfectly. Highlights include ‘Valley of the Mystic’ and ”Ghost (Hart Island)’. 7.5/10

Walker Hayes: Country Stuff The Album

It has come to my attention that a lot of rock fans, much like myself, are also country fans, especially in the UK. So we figured we’d start covering a bit of that, too!

Walker Hayes has released a very steady stream of music, this being only his third album since debuting in 2011. However each album has been pretty good, and this one is no exception. For those who don’t know he’s the one who did ‘Facny Like’, a tune, even if it’s too popular for how many better country songs there are. ‘U Gurl’ and ‘Drinking Songs’ are also ggood. 7/10

And there we have it guys, another week down. This one was a strong one, with great releases across the board from metal to rock to country, and lots of it! I would recommend you check out all of it this week, not a single dud album. Tune in next week for a big one… Jethro Tull!

Did you enjoy our article? As always keep up to date on all of our content from our Instagram here.

Bootyard Bandits: ‘We had a dude come up and say, “this was my son’s first gig.” I said, “I promise it gets better!”’

Bootyard Bandits are a British comedy country rock band. After the release of their debut album ‘Songs for the Saddle Sore’ earlier this year the band managed to play a few shows, including Rockin’ The Bowl festival last month! We were there and managed to head along, catching them for a quick interview which you can check out below!

First of all, how was the set?

Good fun! Everyone’s a little bit tired, but we got there. Lots of happy people I though!

Crowd was really responsive. Yeah, it was great.

We played it with a different band the first year as well, and this one was way better. Just way better attended and just better, just… more!

After covid and everything, people want to come out more, people want to be at the shows.

Absolutely.

Yeah, people are saying that, like, knocking around, some people have said its their first show back after covid, and they’re just glad to get out.

Is it your first show back?

No.

Third, I think, isn’t it?

We’ve got a couple more left this year.

Are you on tour at the moment then?

No, just weekend warrior stuff. Come for one show, then go home, and then do it again the next weekend. It’s a little bit hard work, but yeah. Its good fun.

Is this the first you’ve played?

Yeah, it’s the first time as Bootyard Bandits. Yeah, we played with a different band… I can’t remember when it was now.

Everything plus two years now, isn’t it? What with the apocalypse.

So you released an album this year, is that right?

We did.

Did you record it during covid?

No, we actually recorded it over about three years ago. We were gonna release it just before the whole covid thing happened, but we thought we had better put it back. Then we though, nah we’ll do it anyway. And then we though, no, we’d better not. We did that about five times, and then we eventually just bit the bullet and just did it anyway. And to be honest, it wasn’t probably the best time actually. If we had waited about two more months, Covid would have fucked off a bit more. But, never mind, its out. Its called Songs For The Saddle Sore by the way. Buy it, it’s very good.

So, have you had a lot of good reception for it then? Is it going well?

Absolutely! Well, we sold out of them today, so that’s a good sign I think.

We didn’t actually, there was more.

Well, alright then, there we go. We just didn’t tell our merch guy. “We sold out! No, there’s loads more”.

But no, great reception so far, and some good online press. Yeah, its always well received.

A lot of people sing alone, so they know your stuff.

I was surprised. There were so many t-shirts. And cowboy hats, which we like to see.

Even though there’s other bands that wear cowboy hats here. But, I’m pretty sure they’re all for us!

Yeah, all for you.

Definitely.

They told me themselves.

Everybody came up and told you personally. I expect nothing less!

Its lovely to see kids at the front, on the railings, jumping up and down signing the words.

We had a dude come up and say ‘this was my sons first gig.’ I said “I promise it gets better!”

That’s quite cool man, I mean some little kids first gig. First memories.

Now he’s shouting abusive lyrics at the boy.

They don’t know what it means, its fine.

Good.

We’ll fuck your mum. Put him in a dress and we’ll fuck your son.

Those at the front like, Yeah!

“This is amazing! I wanna do that when I grow up dad!”

Its always the dads that come with the kids, the mums are always at home like, “why are you letting him listen to that?”

That’s a very sexist thing to say Joe.

It’s true!

Cancelled!

Do you find you get a lot of controversy around your lyrics?

No, not at all.

We’re waiting for it, I’m sure it’ll come eventually. But…

I kind of want it to be honest. Yeah, cus any publicity is good publicity isn’t it.

Well…

Obviously, well, yeah…its it, yeah it is.

Obviously, its all a big fucking joke isn’t it.

Yeah, we try and emphasize the fact that it is a joke. If you don’t get it, then..

They’re songs about boobies and drinking.

Basically, yeah.

Who doesn’t like boobs and drinking?

Losers!

Exactly, well there we go.

If you could collab with anyone, who would it be? There’s a lot of great bands on tonight, but you know, think big. Who would you want?

I’m gonna say something really obscure, but I need to think about it.

That’s deep man!

The Eagles?

But they’re all dead though ain’t they?

Can they be dead or alive?

Nah, we couldn’t collab with someone that talented. Cus it would really show us to be really fucking, outrageously untalented. We should collaborate with someone quite bad and then it would make us look good.

We need to be rather careful who we name here…

God, that’s a really hard question!

Well, you’ve set it up now, whoever we say now we’re going to intrinsically gonna be saying they’re bad!

Well, we’ll skip that bit, but the good bands you want to play with, who are they?

I think playing with Steel Panther would be good fun.

That would be a good fit that would! That would be the tour we’d pitch for if we could pitch for anything.
We went out with Alestorm and obviously that was a good fit. They’re just a big silly bunch of chaps as well!

Their fans are very open to the sort of humour too so we slot in quite well.

 So, what’s next for the band?

Well, get these festivals that we’ve got left this year done, and then… I mean we’ve already got another two albums worth of material written, ready and waiting. It just needs some tidying around the edges but we’ll go and crack on with album number two! More silly cowboy bollocks!

I have to say I love the stage getup! The clothes, the cactus, everything!

That’s the next thing I think, we’re going to do more of that. More cowboy shit.

We love the production!

Yeah, as many props as we can get.

As much rubbish off Amazon as we can buy!

It just gets to the point where you need a separate band just for stage production basically and we don’t… we’re not that cool yet.

We want pyro like Massive Wagons are gonna do!

Haven’t you gotta hire a guy if you want pyro?

No! The laws on pyro are fucking ridiculously slack.

Really? I thought they were super tight for some reason.

Who does the band draw inspiration from? Or are you fuck that, you’re yourselfs?

Well to be honest, when I put this thing together I was thinking ‘cowboy Steel Panther’, and we’ve been described as like a ‘if Steel Panther and Black Stone Cherry had an illegitimate love child, we’d be the result’, and I think that’s pretty accurate.

We’ll get in the van and listen to country albums and stuff like that won’t we?

Yeah, and then you’ll put on some hardcore or something!

Yeah, a bit of everything really.

We’ve all come from like hard rock and heavy metal bands, this is what we do, so we’re kinda influenced by the stuff we’ve done before, that’s how we know what to do.

We just crowbar some country stuff into what we know, a bit of bad jokes, violin, fiddle, whatever you want to make it sound tenuously country!

Are you all in your own separate project then?

All sorts of things, yeah!

This is the most important thing at the moment but…

Absolutely! We, me and Two Puds were in Aaron Buchancan and the Cult Classics together. As was Big Mac. That’s how we know Big Mac actually! We met Joey on an Alestorm tour because he was just along for the ride.

I’ve known the singer since we were teenagers and we went to music college together so everybody’s known and played with each other and done little bits.

A bit incestuous really isn’t it, the whole thing?

It’s very incestuous, yes.

I was in Grim Reaper with CJ and then Two Puds was in Grim Reaper as well… there’s fuckin’ loads of bands! We’ve all been around the block a bit in the olden days.

This is our last chance though! I’m giving up after this! If this goes tits up I’m off!

Straight back to a desk job!

So what’s the next gig you’ve got as Bootyard Bandits?

Southern uprising a week on Saturday. It’s in Derby!

Got no idea where it actually is but it’s somewhere around there!

it’s like a biker thing.

You don’t know, do you?

They’re definitely… it’s bikers that put it on… but I don’t know if it’s like a… we played Rock’n’Blues which is a very kinda biker thing. And it’s a bunch of the guys from there so I think it’s (whispering) one of those bike gangs! You know the sort, you know the type!

No, they’ve been great actually. We’ve sort of been adopted into their world and it’s been cool. They’ve given us shows and…

Yeah, one of our best pals was actually randomly in a biker bar in the middle of nowhere in Norway one time and he was like “They’re playing Bootyard Bandits on the jukebox! They fucking love it over here!

Play in Norway then!

Oh, it’s too cold!

We’ve played once in Norway…

No, we did Oslo, Stavanger… did we play Stavanger?

Trondheim was on it as well!

There was like four Norwegian shows, I’m sure!

It was so cold it all just sort of melded into one ginormous freezing experience.

Pretty much!

What do you like and dislike about the music industry at the moment?

How long have you got?!

I’ll tell you what I don’t like, that it ‘isn’t like it used to be back in the good old days’. back when you could just play gigs and get somewhere and now it’s all tinterweb based and social media and we’re not very good at that so…

We’re musicians, we’re not fucking social media experts here and I feel like you need to put all of those hats on now. You have to be a graphic designer and you have to be able to produce your own stuff and do all these things… before you could just go ‘Oh, I play drums innit, I’m quite good at drums so someone come and deal with this!’.

So having to do more work, I guess that is what we don’t like about it!

I think the dynamic shift between the bands and record label… strap in boys, strap in… I think that has flipped. At what point it flipped I don’t know, but I think record labels now expect you, the band, to essentially be the employee, whereas I don’t think it used to be like that. I think at some point it was the label was working for you, the band, and now it feels like the other way around. You’ve got to pander a lot to the label, you’ve got to pander to 360 deals.

Shit got deep dinnit? We’re supposed to be a comedy band!

Well, I’ve gotta keep the level up there!

I think labels trying to change your image has always been a thing, but there has been too much of a shift now where ‘the label needs this so c’mon guys we’ve gotta do it’ and it’s like, they wanted you!  

And there you have it folks! Keep track of the band via their socials linked throughout the article and I would definitely try and get down to one of their shows ASAP, they are fantastic live and great fun!

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