Jonny Lang – Fight for My Soul
It’s been a while since I listened to a Jonny Lang record. I had two of them in high school and loved the quailty of his voice, but I had yet to experiment with blues music, and never really connected with him. As an adult that has immersed herself in a slightly wider breadth of music, I can appreciate what he was doing back then a lot more now. This new release boarders on pop at moments, with funky beats and hooky choruses, apparent in songs like “Breaking In” which has a Prince-style vocal line throughout. It goes from pop-y to rocking, back to blues, and all the way around again. I don’t recall if his music was this diverse before, but this record is enough to make me want to go back through his material to refresh my memory. There’s a little something for everyone on this record. It’s memorable and fun, and so far, I’m really enjoying it.
Justin Moore – Off The Beaten Path
There’s no doubt that Justin Moore is keeping it as country as possible on “Off The Beaten Path.” I’m not the biggest fan of Justin, but I can definitely appreciate what he’s trying to do. The songs I’ve heard off this record remind me of 90’s country music, a la Garth Brooks and older Tim McGraw tunes. He never really gets quite as pop oriented as his peers Luke Bryan or Jake Owen, but he still manages to write incredibly catchy, country music that hardcore fans will surely appreciate. I can already envision these songs inspiring crowds to hold up their solo cups as they sing along, while his deep twang effortlessly speaks to the folks in the deep south. My favorite, by far, is the duet between Justin and Miranda Lambert, “Old Habits.” Not surprising, considering my love of ballads and male/female dynamics. But, despite all that, they sound beautiful together.
Band of Heathens – Sunday Morning Record
I actually just discovered this Texas based band, The Band of Heathens, this morning while going through a list of new releases. I LOVE THEM. They are by no means a new band, their first self-titled record was released back in 2008, followed by a couple more, as well as some live albums. “Sunday Morning Record” is actually their fourth full length release to date. They’ve got an energetic rootsy, rock vibe, that pairs perfectly with their blues-infused vocals and on point harmonics. They’re 60’s and 70’s rock influences run rampant on this rambling, laid-back sound with tracks that feel like they could have been pulled off records from The Grateful Dead or Creedence Clearwater Revival. The band, it seems, has seen a number of ups-and-downs since the release of their last record in 2011, including the departure of one of the founding members; which has greatly influenced the lyrical content on Sunday Morning. This being my first listen to the band, I’m eager to dive deeper into their previous material and get a feel for where they’ve come from, but for now I’ll share what I love so far.