There are times where a band’s name and album cover provide little or no indication of what to expect. And when said references offer an image that’s the exact opposite of the music that accompanies those initial impressions, it may dissuade any initial encounter. The fact is, Great Peacock’s handle and the peacock covered skull head that adorns the cover of the band’s new album Gran Pavo Real offer no real reason to give any further thought to the music that may reside within…
Archives for March 2018
Growing up listening to the likes of Johnny Cash and Tom Petty, Charlie Overbey brings grassy rock ‘n’ roll to the table that’s reminiscent of the music of his inspirations. Lynwood might not be the first place one might expect to raise an alt-country career from the earth, but Overbey’s career has grown out of rocking the Southern California circuit with his outlaw grit. Blossoming from there, the Americana artist has garnered fans across the country who are looking forward to the release of his forthcoming album, Broken Arrow, on 20 April.
Performing with Miranda Lee Richards, “Slip Away” is the latest single from off of the incoming LP. It’s a poignant, dark-laced number in which Overbey bears his whole heart, dedicating his emotional duet to a departed friend. The song’s gentle sway lets listeners slip into its powerful performance easy as Overbey and Richards’ emotive delivery gains steam as the arrangement runs its course. Richards’ warm whiskey vocals pair perfectly with Overbey’s grit, taking the piece to stirring new heights.
Overbey tells PopMatters, ‘”Slip Away’ was written directly following the loss of someone in my deep inner circle that was ruled to be an accident but to me seemed a suicide. I tend to like to leave things to the imagination and incorporate, especially in dark times elements of hope. I did not feel the need to mention suicide—nobody needs to be thinking about or even reminded that this is an option.”
“I do think that in times of despair, people tend to find warmth in darkness, which is a trick of the mind as referred to in my favorite line in the song: “And then you gimme’ that look / yeah you gimme that look, like you’re never comin’ back again / like you’ve crawled down into a deep dark hole / and it’s warm like the house of a friend.”
Nashville-based folk-rocker Kellen Wenrich (Kellen of Troy) is taking a stand alongside the millions rallying around the world during the March For Our Lives. His newest video is a simple construct, featuring white text over a black backdrop, echoing Wenrich’s words one scathing truth after the other on “Just a Couple More”. It’s an evaluation of the times, shining a spotlight on politicians who would rather funnel donations from the NRA and like-minded organizations than campaign for real justice and peace in the light of the United States’ mass shooting epidemic.
Kellen of Troy says, “I wrote ‘Just a Couple More’ in the aftershock of the horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida. My friend Gavin Paddock posed a challenge-to-all-songwriters to write something a-la CSNY’s ‘Ohio’, dealing with gun control (or lack thereof) and the culture surrounding mass shootings in America. I took up the charge, writing and sending him a demo within 72 hours. He called me about 30 minutes later asking how he could help make the song a reality.”
Any and all proceeds from “Just a Couple More” will be donated to the March For Our Lives movement.
Spitting stories of love, loss and pain, Nashville’s Great Peacock⎯⎯ comprised of lead singer and guitarist Andrew Nelson, guitarist Blount Floyd, drummer Nick Recio and bass player Frank Keith IV ⎯⎯ challenge the very notion of genre, dismantling tradition and blurring the lines between rock ‘n roll, conventional folk music and true Americana. As fixtures in the Southern festival circuit including Shakey Knees, they’ve shared stages with an abundance of equally-minded noise-makers, including Colter Wall, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Cage the Elephant, American Aquarium, Margo Priceand Jonathan Tyler.
The band is gearing up for the release of their upcoming second album, Gran Pavo Real (out Mar. 30 via Ropeadope Records), which is Spanish for Great Peacock. Their craft is instinctual, enlivened by their electric and nimble playing, gripping lyrical insight and Nelson’s eviscerating vocals. Their grooves run thick, like on standouts like “Rattlesnake” (a swampy, mid-tempo song that relates a poisonous relationship to a slithering serpent) and “Heartbreak Comin’ Down.” They also manage to cut right to the bone, particularly when they deal in restraint. “Take a little time to make things right / Make a little love in the middle of the night,” Nelson ruminates on the languid and smokey “Oh Deep Water.”
The tension and sweltering unease comes in waves across 10 tracks, often brittle and heartbreaking, other times ferocious and sharp. “A peacock has so many colors, and that’s what we want our sound to be like. It’s clearly rock ‘n roll. It’s clearly country. It’s clearly folk. There’s definitely blues and elements of R&B in there, too,” says Nelson.
By now, invoking the name of country music’s most hallowed son, Hank Williams, is a surefire way to either establish your honky-tonk bonafides (if you’re good), or splatter egg all over your face (if you’re not). This impulse to situate oneself within country music’s grand lineage using ol’ Hank’s ghost as a springboard is nothing new; his own friends name-checked him aplenty, and Hank’s own son, Hank Williams Jr. (or Bocephus, if you’re of a certain age) turned it into sort of ham-fisted art form. For better or worse, the eternally 29-year-old’s name has become shorthand for “old school,” for “pure country,” and for “the way things were back in the day”
However, on Texas-raised, Denver-based traditional country singer Leslie Tom’s new album, Ain’t It Something, Hank Williams (her first in 12 years), she draws upon the memory and music of Hank Williams in a way that feels refreshing and new. Her debut LP dropped in 2006. and was followed by two shorter EPs; she’s currently running a PledgeMusic pre-order campaign for the new album, that promises to donate a portion of the pre-sales to Eli’s Fund, a nonprofit run by the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Ain’t It Something, Hank Williams may have a heart of gold, but to hear Tom sing it, that heart has also been to hell and back.
A lot of country and Americana artists like to write tunes about riding and wrangling, but only a handful of them have actually done it. Ross Cooper, who just released the aptly titled album I Rode The Wild Horses, is one of those artists, as he had a career as a professional bareback rider before trying his hand at music.
In a new video for the album’s title track, Cooper offers a glimpse of the rodeo life, from loading up the trailer the night before to hanging on for dear life atop a bucking horse. Cooper shot the video at the Texas Cowboy Reunion Arena, the Swenson Ranch, the Mallet Event Center, and Lubbock, Texas bar the Blue Light.
“I’m a second generation cowboy,” Cooper says. “Both of my folks used to rodeo, and my brother and I grew up riding bucking horses (saddle-bronc and bareback). That’s how we were raised. I was brought up in and around rodeo arenas. So when I sat down to write this song, it didn’t take a whole lot of time. I know the characters and could see the story.”
Eric Masse produced I Rode The Wild Horses, and the album features contributions from Erin Rae, Steelism’s Jeremy Fetzer, Eli Beard, Tommy Perkinson, Skylar Wilson, and Eddy Dunlap.