Friday, November 11, 2011

Mt. Hermon's Chasing Layne releases second album

(As appeared in the 11/10/11 edition of the Tompkinsville News.)

It’s been four years. Four long, seemingly endless years, full of countless days in the studio, nights at practice, and shows from Nashville to Louisville and everywhere in between, all to perfect 49 total minutes of music that make up the 12 songs of Chasing Layne’s new album, Sin and Regret.

“To finally have the cd finished and in our hands was such a feeling of relief and accomplishment,” Justin Myatt said. “We really took the time to make it the best that we could, and we’re extremely happy with how the album turned out.”

Sin and Regret is the second album from the band that calls Mt. Hermon their official hometown. Guitarist Myatt, bassist Evan Harper and drummer Chase Blakely are from and still live in Monroe County. Chris Clines, the band’s singer, and Kevin Groce, who plays lead guitar, are from Glasgow. This southern Kentucky heritage makes it no surprise that there are clear southern undertones to their particular brand of rock music.

“If you come from the south, you’re going to play with somewhat of a southern feel, just because it’s what you have always been surrounded by,” Myatt said. “We are proud to be from the south and it definitely influenced our mentalities in how we treat people we work with. Plus, it’s undeniable that we have a southern twang to our music.” 

That “twang” that is present in much of the album comes from influences of music that the band had listened to all of their lives.

“I grew up listening to a lot of different kinds of music, from country to rock, and even pop and blues, and the rest of the band is the same way,” Blakely said. “It’s hard not to let all those varieties of music influence the songs we write.”

Having southern roots in this area may be more of a help than a hindrance to Chasing Layne. Bowling Green, especially, has become a hotbed for producing famous bands, most notably Cage the Elephant. When you also consider Metcalfe County’s Black Stone Cherry and the Kentucky Headhunters, there is a lot of promise for musicians from south central Kentucky. 

With the release of their second cd, the guys of Chasing Layne feel like they are finally equipped and ready to start taking the steps others have taken toward that next level.

“We’re ready to take the next steps and see what we can make of this band,” Harper said.“We have worked hard and have paid a lot of our dues,all we need is luck to help us meet the right people so we can really make a run at it.”

The road to here hasn’t been easy, and the band has encountered more than a few naysayers 
along the way.

“No one has really directly told us that we should just grow up or quit, but you can tell by the way that people start to look at you that they may think that we should,” Myatt said. “When we were kids, then the band was just something that we were doing to have fun, and no one thought that much about it. Now that we are more serious about it, a lot of people don’t think we have a shot. That’s discouraging and deflating for us, but it would be foolish to put all this time and work into the band and just give up now and not take the chance. It’s a huge risk, trying to be a rock star. We’re not so na├»ve that we don’t realize that. You just have to be confident enough to take a risk, hope for luck, and refuse to give up.”      

Copies of Sin and Regret are available through most online retailers, including iTunes. It will also be for sale at Chasing Layne shows, the Great Escape in Bowling Green, Apollo PC in Glasgow, or by contacting any band member.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

ramble on: oct 19 -- 2001 edition

Taking quite the departure from my usual ways, I'm home doing homework instead of going out this Wednesday night. (And by doing homework, I of course mean listening to any random song I can think of on Grooveshark, looking up the lyrics of said song, and then YouTubing the video as my statistics binder lays open beside me on my bed.) I had a couple songs on my mind that i wanted to ramble about tonight, and when i realized that both songs were released the same year, i decided to do a little investigating to find a third from that year that i could also feature. Turns out, the year i was researching, 2001, was a gold mine of amazing music. It's probably important to note that i was in middle school that year, so it may go without saying that i was a 13-year-old girl and the songs that i loved (let's be honest, i still love) aren't exactly the most bad-ass cool-kid songs to admit to liking now.

Narrowing the list down was ridiculously difficult. I made a playlist on Grooveshark, appropriately named "It's like a middle school dance up in here," where i picked 76 songs full of memories, but there was no way I could put 76 videos on this blog. So I narrowed it down to a few of my favorites to feature here. Feel free to listen to the playlist i made and take your own little stroll down memory lane. (Seriously, this is the year the "Cha Cha Slide" came out. O Town was huge. And, the song that epitomizes middle school dances: "U Got It Bad." Don't act like you're not intrigued.)  
It's so hard for me to believe that these songs came out almost ten years ago, because i can remember so clearly listening to them over and over. I love so many of the songs that were popular that year, and it's those songs that really lay the basis for a lot of my musical memories. As overly-dramatic as this may sound, 2001 just might have been the year i fell in love with music... 

The Calling-- Wherever You Will Go
 Yes, i know. Basically, The Calling is just a glorified boy-band, made slightly less boy-bandish by the fact that they play instruments. I should probably be ashamed to admit that I love them, and that i adore this song. I should probably be even more ashamed to admit that I saw them live...and the most shameful confession: I bought a shirt that I still wear occasionally. Hate if you want, but this song is so pretty, and so undeniably catchy. The video also serves as a great reminder that you should never, ever get your boyfriend/girlfriends name tattooed on your body, nor should lead singer boys wear just one earring. Alex, darling, you look like a blond pirate. Or George Michael. Put one in the other ear, or just take it out.  

Default--Wasting My Time

Default is a bit more of a legitimate admission when it comes to my musical likings of 2001. They are a real band, and "Wasting My Time" is a real rock song. And it's awesome. The music is good and the lyrics are strong. Really, who can't identify with the idea of wasting time on someone or something. It's a simple concept, and makes for an amazing song. The video is the weakest link of the song. The singer looks so angry, and I guess that's understandable. He is shrunken down to particle-size and stuck inside a terribly computer generated watch. I feel angry for him. 

Sum 41-- Fat Lip
Yeah, I own this album. I admit it. I went through a brief punk stage on my way to developing the impeccable taste in music that i have now. "Fat Lip" was one of my first anthems of rebellion and independence, and not giving a shit about the fact that i liked the kind of music that i liked, even if that was different from what everyone else was listening to. Ahh, memories. It almost makes me a little teary-eyed... 

Days of the New -- Hang On

Love Days of the New. LOVE this song. It's got such an awesome groove to it, along with the band's signature sound. The acoustic guitar is so evident, over all the rest of the instruments, and is outshined only by the vocals.   

The Verve Pipe-- Never Let You Down

I didn't reccognize this song from way back when, but when i read the lyrics, some of them kind of floored me. I love when i can listen to a song and i feel like it's about me. This song did that for me. Plus, it's actually a pretty good song.(This video is a little shaky, but the sound quality is pretty good and it was filmed in Louisville, which i thought was cool)

 Nickelback -- Too Bad

I seriously have such visceral memories of this song. When I hear it, I feel, see, and hear 2001 all over again. I remember hearing the song and seeing the video first on Fuse, and it instantly became one of my favorite Nickelback songs (which still stands today). The real memories come from a middle school dance, though. I remember what i was wearing, i remember who i was with, i remember the dj (shout out to you if you actually read this one, f*face). I can close my eyes and see that night so clearly, and go to the exact moment when this song came on. When a song can do that for you, when it's powerful enough to instantly transport you back 10 years just by hearing it, that's when you know there is something to it. This is the Nickelback that I love, the older stuff that still feels real.

Evan and Jaron -- Crazy For This Girl
Yes, this is a straight-up pop song. If you can go ten years without hearing a song and still remember every word, that's a sign. It is so super cheesy, but I just can't help loving it. And you better believe I bought this single at the wal-marts when it first came out, and i most certainly still have it in my cd case today. What. a. dork. :)

Staind/Fred Durst -- Outside
One of the first Staind songs I loved, "Outside" is such a classic. I especially love the version in the video, with just Fred Durst, Aaron Lewis, and his guitar. It's so powerful (as is what is to be expected from Lewis) and when the two sing together, it gives you chills. It's the kind of song that makes you love music, in it's most raw and stripped down form.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Black Stone Cherry- Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea [album review]

Preface: If you are looking for a legit, straightforward album review, you're not going to find it here. This is destined from the beginning to be full of my [slightly biased] voice. It is an effort to honestly review the album as a mature and adult music blogger with actual journalistic standards, but that review is at times sandwiched between childish, irrelevant emotion.

Before you read, it is important to know the derivation of my emotions. It can be summed up pretty simply: I'm a jealous bitch. The boys of Black Stone Cherry are from around the same area that I'm from, and they started playing out at around the same time that "my" crew of musical boys did. The similarities end there, though.  BSC went on to blow up all over the freakin' globe, while my boys ended their first band, started another, and are still basically no where. Hence, every time I hear BSC on the radio or see some of my favorite bands becoming bestest friends with them, my blood pressure spikes as jealous Kelli goes all Hulk and turns green with envy.     

I am fully aware that my hatred is silly and basically senseless. It is no fault of BSC's that things happened the way they did. They were simply more focused on their goal way sooner, and much more serious in their pursuit. Maybe they did have more than a little help from certain family connections to get them to where they are now, which has been a major point of contention for me against them. But, if I have learned anything from my 23 years on this Earth (and most specifically from the great Brent Smith in the Shinedown song, "Shed Some Light") it's this: "I know now, it's not who you are, it's who you know." I can't even lie for a second and say that if the situations were reversed that I would feel badly using those connections. Getting your music heard by the right people is key to getting anywhere, and if there is an expedited way to do that, you'd be a nothing more than a fool not to take advantage of it.

So, I apologize from the beginning and ask you to please be patient when the jealous Kelli-Hulk comes out.


Hello, my name is Kelli, and I have a confession.....I bought the new Black Stone Cherry album, Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea. 
If you know me at all, then you're aware of the shame I feel as I write those words. You will also know that as I type this next sentence, each keystroke burns my fingertips like a flame and leaves my mouth with a bitter taste like I have never known: Not only did I buy the album, but.........I actually kinda like it. In order to try to overcome my shame, I feel the best remedy is to just get it all out there and explain myself. Here is my attempt at doing that.   

I don't know what led me to buy the album in the first place, when I knew full and well that the purchase would lead only intense feelings that no band other than BSC can cause me to feel. Jealousy and anger, as well as a few tears, were not just likely, they were basically inevitable. I didn't want to like it and feel happy that I purchased it- I wanted it to be terrible, something I listened to and then threw in the floor and laughed at each time my cat decided to use it as a hockey puck.  In my head I likened it to voting: If I didn't put out the effort (and $6.35 of my hard earned dollars) to buy it and give it a real chance, I had no right to complain about it or say that it was bad.  So, I printed off my emailed coupon from Roadrunner (which led to the use of a few expletives when I opened the email, because it removed the "it's too much to pay for something i don't even want to buy" excuse), made my voyage to Best Buy, bought the cd (which actually opened easily, without the fight that the plastic wrap and stickers usually put up, dammit) and stuck it in my car's cd player. I braced myself for whatever came next.

Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea begins with the first single released from the album, "White Trash Millionaire," a song that I admit (through gritted teeth as I kick myself repeatedly) I liked from the first time I heard it on the radio. It's catchy as hell and gets stuck in your head, where it plays on repeat all day. The song has a swampy, dirty southern rock groove, really accentuated by the thick guitars and the low, country growl of the vocals.     

This song emanates a new and very different side of the Edmonton, Kentucky-based band of good ol' boys, It would seem that BSC has lost their innocence somewhere on the road and turned into bad-asses (or are at least writing songs like they have). Instead of the fairly wholesome image that they have projected in the past, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea could lead a listener to believe that the once good boys are now pot-smoking, sex-having, white trash millionaires. {Disclaimer: I actually have no idea if that's true or not. Please, don't sue me for libel. I'm a poor college kid and you wouldn't get much money anyway.} The songs do lead thoughts in that direction, though. I mean, really, by singer Chris Robertson telling you he has "two Zig Zags," what do you really think he is trying to share with you? It could just be a simple, homemade cigarette, filled with plain old tobacco, you say. Well, the the song goes on to talk about how "on the couch on the front porch we're all smoking left-handed cigarettes." To the unknowing and pure of mind, such as myself, there could still be innocence in this. Until you Google the phrase, and find the truth. According to a very reliable source, (aka Urban Dictionary) "A left handed cigarette is marijuana" - There's no ambiguity in that statement. Roll that up that in your Zig Zag and smoke it. 

And I don't even want to get started on the unwholesome content of the even catchier (my legs are starting to get really tired from the repeated kicking of myself when I admit this crap) "Blame It On the Boom Boom." There's no doubt what the song is eluding to; it's obviously about the topic of doing the dirty. (First drugs, and now sex, too?! On an album by Black Stone Cherry!? My mind is about to explode.) This is not how the band's previous albums or interviews have portrayed them. It's not that I care to listen to songs about those topics, and these two songs are no exception. They are actually really, really good (ugh!) and no departure from the age-old drugs, sex, and rock n' roll mentality. It's just a little difficult dealing with the fact that the image I feel I've been fed in the past has been shattered. And maybe also because I am having a hard time accepting that the album is really fucking good...   

My favorite song on Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, by far, is "Killing Floor." It's much harder and darker than their other songs.  It's got a sound that is really different from what they've put out in the past, but it has such a radio friendly modern rock quality that, if it is released as a single, will be one of their biggest hits and reach a whole new pool of listeners. It pulls away from their southern side with this straight-up rock song, proving that BSC has too much dimension and range to be plugged into just one corner of the genre. 

"Like I Roll" comes in a close second as a top song on the album, though it is a jump completely across the musical spectrum from the heavy "Killing Floor." "Like I Roll" is a slightly poppy anthem, sounding like the audible complement to the picture of someone escaping whatever demons are chasing them, driving through the desert in an old convertible with the top down, letting their problems fly away behind them into a cloud of dust. It is in this song that Robertson sings some of the most clever lines I've heard in a long time. The most striking lyric comes when the last chorus changes slightly to say, "I roll through the hills of my ole Kentucky home, back to the place where my heart belongs." It is such a simple line, yet in the context of the song it is so powerful that it's almost genius.

i found this video that someone made for "Like I Roll" and
thought it was interesting that the someone else envisioned
 the song in almost the same way i did.  

Before you think I've been completely brainwashed or that I've sold my soul to the devil, I'll  say that I don't love every song on the album. "Won't Let Go" is just a little too corny and the lyrics are just too easy, for lack of a better term.  When it says "I wonder where we'll be when we're 33" I'm instantly irritated, just like I get when it says "We'll always be together, no matter what the weather."  It's a let down when so many of the other songs have lyrics that are smart and adeptly written. "Let Me See You Shake" makes me feel the same way. Don't dumb it down for the listeners, especially after you prove that you can do better elsewhere on the album. Musically, the songs aren't bad, but just not strong enough to redeem them. 
Overall, when it comes to Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, I have to say I'm disappointed...disappointed in the fact that I actually like most of the songs. As much as I hate to admit it, this is a solid album that will probably rocket the band to new heights of fame. And honestly, they deserve it. They are some of the most genuinely nice guys that you'll ever meet. They're putting south-central Kentucky's rock scene on the map, and that can only help other bands from the area, not hurt them. Though I'll probably never be able to completely transcend my angry streak of envy when it comes to Black Stone Cherry, even as ludicrous as I know it is, an album as strong as this one forces me to recognize their talent and respect them as songwriters and musicians. At the end of the day, even I'm not too bitter and jealous to admit that.

Monday, October 17, 2011

ramble on: oct 17

chevelle-- face to the floor

Chevelle's latest release, "Face to the Floor," their first single from the new album due out in December, hits you hard as soon as the vocals kick in. A very different sound, both musically and vocally, this new taste of the band from Chicago is one of the best releases from the band in a long time. It has such a strong groove to it, while still maintaining that melodic and heavy sound that made them famous in songs like "The Red." Overall, a really good song from what I'm predicting will be a must-buy album this December.   

the pretty reckless-- make me wanna die

I really didn't think I'd like The Pretty Reckless. I've basically ignored them up until this point because I figured there was no way that this pretty little blonde actress who tried too hard to be a rockstar and wore entirely too much black eye makeup could have any legit talent. I came across the video of Taylor Momsen singing "Make Me Wanna Die" with nothing but an acoustic guitar backing her. I was shocked by the fact that the girl could actually sing. Blessed with a voice that is beautiful yet dark and raspy, with a bluesy feel to it, Momsen is a much better singer than actress. As a person she tries a bit too hard to fill out the rockstar persona that she's after, but as a vocalist she has an effortless sound that is undeniably good.

evans blue-- this time it's different

Fronted by a singer different from the one that led them to fame with their hit "Cold (But I'm still here), Evans Blue is coming back strong with a new vocalist and a new song that has the potential to be just as big. "This Time It's Different" is heavy, but highlighted by catchy lyrics that are dark yet entrancing. This song may not have the carry-over potential to bring in fans outside of the rock world as "Cold" did, but it still has serious potential and will likely continue to climb the rock charts, and deservedly so.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fuel [live review]

From the second that I saw the announcement saying that Fuel was coming to Lexington, complete with original singer, Brett Scallions, I knew I was it was a show I wasn't going to miss. Though all the other band members were new, basically making them another band with Fuel's singer, I'm a pathetic enough fan that I knew as long as Scallions (whose name i can't type or think of without thinking about green onions. pathetic fan, remember?) was singing, it would sound like the same old Fuel.

Putting on the hooker makeup, channeling my inner Jenna Marbles and cramming my foot into my hoochiest hoochie shoes - the sparkly ones!- took longer than I expected, causing me to miss the first band, Man Made Machine. This was actually really disappointing because  I met them after the show and they were super cool guys, made even cooler by their to their appreciation of bourbon shots ("To Kentucky!"). After the show I checked out their music, and their song "Victim" is actually really good, so I wanted to plug it in with the review of the other bands. (Oh, and hey Steve. It was really nice meeting you. lol.) Much more interesting stories from the night could be inserted here if no one actually read this blog, but people reading is kinda the point of the whole thing. If nobody read it, it would just basically be a diary and only losers still write in diaries if you're out of elementary school. All the cool kids know it's cooler just to write unpublished blog posts.

Man Made Machine- "Victim"

 The other two opening bands, Pale and Park Lane, were ok. Maybe their music just wasn't my style, maybe I was too concerned about not falling down due to my sparkly shoes (because that was clearly saved for later in the night...and my foot still hurts, by the way)  or maybe it was something else, all I know is that they weren't really that memorable, one way or another.


Pale had a kind of a Kings of Leon type-feel, and they were a talented group of musicians. I only saw the last two songs of their set, though, so I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say they are worth checking out if that's your thing.
  Park Lane

Park Lane took the stage next. The highlight of their show for me was their cover of The Beatles "Eleanor Rigby." They added their punky/emo-y modern twist to it, and it really worked. They were a pretty decent band, overall.   


Fuel hit the stage hard, playing  four of their  heavier songs to start the show. I found that I was much less familiar with Fuel that I'd like to admit. I adored the songs of theirs that I had heard on the radio, but for some reason I' m not really sure of, I hadn't investigated them deeper. Even though I didn't know all the words to "Last Time" and "Untitled" and the other songs that kicked off the set, I was impressed and loved what I heard. The band, though the ten millionth reincarnation of Fuel, was tight and obviously talented. They played the songs perfectly and put on one hell of a show.


"Sunburn" changed the pace, and marked a halfway point in a set that could really have been two separate shows. The first half rocked the audience hard, got them moving and the booze flowing through them. The second half, though, was full of the Fuel that I was previously so enamored with. "Sunburn" brought out the bluesy, smooth, side of their music, followed directly by "Slow" which had a really similar feel and sound and fell in perfectly behind it.

The second half of the set also brought out the super charismatic front man qualities of Scallions. When the pace of the show slowed, his strong connection to the audience became apparent, as he laughed, smiled and joked with the audience. He asked the crowd if there were any Zepplin fans amongst them, which led to a roaring response of yes, and then began to play "Tangerine." I felt like a super uncool kid at that moment, because I didn't know the song yet (I have since remedied that, though, so take that judging look off your face). Scallions has a voice that is totally different from Robert Plant's, but there is still some similarity that lends him the ability to cover Zepplin songs so well. (Fuel also has a great cover of  "Going to California" which I HIGHLY recommend that appears on Something Like Human- it's pretty much gorgeous.)

When the beginning notes of "Bad Day" rang out, the crowd reacted instantly.  You'd have to be deaf or living in Tazmania to have not heard that song enough times to memorize every single word. It's always a telling moment when a band plays one of their biggest hits live- can they possibly do it enough justice to make it sound just like you've memorized it? Not surprisingly, Fuel had no problem with this and played the song perfectly. So perfectly, in fact, that I got that certain feeling deep inside my music-loving soul that reminded me of why I feel the way I do about concerts and music in general. The lyrics, the music, the band, the audience - aspects of all four came together like the ingredients of a magic potion. That song, their musical spell, hit me right in the chest and, for a moment, left me breathless.
My two favorite Fuel songs came next - "Shimmer" and  "Bittersweet." "Shimmer" is one of my anthems, and hearing it live was amazing. Every single time I hear "Bittersweet" playing, I can't help but dance around- whether it be in my car or in the shower, or sitting at me desk at work. You better believe that when Scallions got to the verse that says "Now hold your hands up to the sky" that the majority of the audience had 'em up, thanks in part to Fuel's adorable little tech/stage manager who was doing his best to encourage us.

The show's encore included an awesome cover of Elton John's "Daniel" that had the entire room singing (I was in the dark once again on this song, but I have since set it as the ringtone for my brother, my Daniel, on my phone, because I like it so much.) 

Overall, Fuel's show was amazing. I liked the band before, but I was in love with them afterwards. I even got a set list after I did a little flirting, smiling, and bargaining, being sure to play up the country accent as much as I could. As much as my extreme southern way of speaking has cursed me in the past, I've found that lately it can be quite useful when I try to make a yankee swoon ;) I got two picks, too, including one from that sweet little tech/stage manager, who's name I found out later was Rob, after he tried to exchange a set list for your yours truly to some kid in the audience (and later to give me post-show parking lot advice on avoiding diseases that I was in no way in need of being warned about, but thanks for the tips. lol)  

The show really epitomized why I am so determined to have a life that involves music. Spending the evening at a great venue, talking and bonding with new friends who like the same music you do, seeing a great live show and hanging out with cool-as-hell guys from the bands afterward is something I truly love. It was just a little bit more motivation to keep on pursuing ways to live my dream <3         


Friday, September 9, 2011

ramble on: sept 9

if the change of the seasons has you craving new music just as much as you're itching to get your hands on the fall starbucks flavors (can you say pumpkin spice latte?), then you are totally in luck. a lot of big names have new albums coming out in the next few weeks, and it is shaping up to be one sweet fall for both your ears and your mouth. below are five new albums that are worth adding to your collection this autumn. enjoy!

Staind- Staind
September 13th

Self-titling an album (unless it's your first and you just aren't very creative) is setting the bar pretty high. When you're a band as epically huge as Staind and you self-title your seventh full-length release, you might as will be setting that bar on the moon.

The moon might be tough for other bands to reach, but for the rock-giants of Staind, it might as well be the back yard. Remember the old Staind that put out super-heavy songs like "Mudshovel" or, really, any of the songs from Dysfunction? Well, they're back. Now that Aaron Lewis has gotten his country-boy side outta the way and found an outlet for his softer songs, it leaves the band with nothing but music that is out to kick you right in the throat with a kick-ass new album.

"Not again" was the first single released off of Staind and it is getting major radio play right now, and as good as it is, it's only a taste of what the rest of the album has to offer. "Eyes Wide Open" is so, so heavy, and almost makes you think of "Mudshovel" especially at the beginning. "Wannabe" features Lewis busting out some Korn-like rock-rapping, which is so hard to adjust to at first that it's almost funny. But combine it with the multitude of different vocal sounds on this one song, that range from rapping to screaming to melodic singing, and you're not left with a terrible song by any means."The Bottom" has single written all over it, as does "Now" with its fresh yet familiar sound.

"Something to Remind You" easily takes the award for my favorite song on the album, though. It is so very Staind: depressing yet beautiful, with a sadness that sucks you in and wraps you around every single word coming out of Lewis's mouth. It is acoustic, with just a guitar softly picking and strumming in the background, but somehow out of the simplicity comes a masterpiece. It is one of those catharsis-initiating songs you just set on repeat and listen to over and over and feel way down deep inside. It is a perfect ending to a nearly perfect album. 

In "Wannabe" Lewis says, "I'm selling records," and my response to that is yes, Mr. Lewis, that is exactly what you are doing with Staind. If you like Staind at all, especially their older stuff, then I can't emphasize how much of a must-buy this album is. And to hold you over until then, you can find it streaming on at:

Bush- The Sea of Memories
September 13th

Bush's new album, their first in ten years, brings back that familiar Bush-sound that no one has really replicated in their absence. That's probably due to the fact that the "Bush-sound" is, as described by singer Gavin Rossdale, really just his voice and a guitar. The Sea of Memories has both of those things, which basically guarantees any fans of the band will be satisfied, as will young'uns who may have only heard "Glycerine" or "Come Down" on the radio.  

The first single, "The Sound of Winter," is getting heavy radio play (i swear, i hear it more than i hear def leppard play on my fav rock station in lexington, so that tells ya it's playing a lot). I haven't tired of hearing it on constant repeat, though, because it is actually a really good song. It's rocking and catchy, and well, it's the sweet-angel voice of Gavin Rossdale, so you know that it's going to be pretty great. The video (below) doesn't do much other than prove that a) Gavin Rossdale is beautiful, b) Gwen Stefani is even more beautiful, and c) their blond angel sons are beautiful squared.

The entire album is available for preview on iTunes right now, and the minute and a half snippets lead me to believe that the rest of The Sea of Memories is just as good or better than the first single. 

"Baby Come Home"  features the lines that lend themselves to the album title.  There is something so identifiable in the words "I lost myself to the sea of memories, I lost myself to irreverent dreams." The chorus gets a bit repetitive, but the verses are that typical Bush that led you to become a fan in the first place. "The Mirror of the Signs" kicks off the cd, and is obviously an effort to write songs with a more modern sound, but one that is still heavy and melodic. Maybe my favorite song on the album, I can only hope that this one will be released as a single. The Sea of Memories  also features a gem-of-a-cover as the final song on the album. Rossdale's voice, an acoustic guitar, and the classic Fleetwood Mac song "Landslide" are a perfect blend.

Superheavy- Superheavy
September 20th

What do you get when you mix a Rolling Stone, Bob Marley's son, an British soul and r& b pop princess, an Indian composer, and an English pop-rocker? Other than introduction that is entirely too verbose, you get a song that can best be described as what would happen if you put all those sounds into a blender and pushed pulse until you get a sticky-sweet mess the color of Mick Jagger's suit in the band's video for their first song, "Miracle Worker."

Along with Jagger, Damien Marley, Joss Stone, A.R. Rahman, and Dave Stewart form the supergroup of the hour, SuperHeavy. This amalgamation of stars and superstars really sounds just like you'd think it would: a mix of Stone's smooth soul & Jagger's rocking vocals, with Marley's regae-spitting hooks, over a slow, poppy, exotic beat. It doesn't make any sense in theory, but somehow the result is really, really good. Honestly, I love it!

The sound that somehow emerges when all these styles blend in "Miracle Worker" is like that first drink of a cold diet coke, fresh from the golden arches- refreshing, cool, fizzy in your mouth, and pretty darn tasty. I don't know what the rest of the album would even come close to sounding like, and I'm doubtful that SuperHeavy will reach anywhere near the popularity of the Stones, but I can say this: "Miracle Worker" is a fun little diddy, worth downloading, just in case the rest of the album turns out to be crap :)

ZZ Top- A Tribute from Friends
October 11th
When I saw Filter in Lexington a few weeks back, they played a cover of ZZ Top's classic, "Gimme All Your Lovin" and, though it's hard to really examine a new song when you're hearing it for the first time in a little club where the band is turned up way loud, I liked it. When I got home, I saw a link the band had posted to their version of the song, and I liked it even more. Filter's cover takes the song to a completely new place, one that's really electronic and a little reminiscent of "Hey Man, Nice Shot." They really rock the song up, and it turns out to be a fitting tribute to a deserving band.

Filter's cover is just one of the tracks on the upcoming album, ZZ Top- A Tribute from Friends. It features an awesome lineup of bands playing the most classic Top songs, from "Legs" (done by Nickelback) to "Tush" (covered by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals). And even though i don't care for Jamey Johnson at all, his cover of "La Grange" is actually really good, as he blends his deep, southern country sound with the classic rock sounds that ZZ Top is so known for. Only Filter and Johnson's covers are available for preview now, but if the other songs are done nearly as well as the first two, then I'm very excited to take a listen to the new takes on Top's classic hits. A preview of the track listings:

1. Sharp Dressed Man - Steven Tyler, Mick Fleetwood, Jonny Lang, and John McVie (The M.O.B)
2. Gimme All Your Lovin' - Filter
3. Tush - Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
4. Legs - Nickelback
5. Cheap Sunglasses - Wolfmother
6. Got Me Under Pressure - Duff McKagan's Loaded
7. Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers - Coheed & Cambria
8. Just Got Paid - Mastodon
9. Rough Boy - Wyclef Jean
10. Waitin' for the Bus / Jesus Just Left Chicago - Daughtry
11. La Grange - Jamey Johnson

Chasing Layne- Sin & Regret
Available Now!

watch out for "the business"

The final must-have album of the fall is one that is pretty near and dear to my heart. Maybe it is because I have such a deep connection to the songs on Chasing Layne's newest album, Sin & Regret. I've been there for practices and shows, hearing these same songs (over and over and over) as they grew and developed, and I was lucky enough to be in the studio for some of the recording. I've had copies of countless versions of the songs as they went through this process, but finally getting the finished version of them in my hands, wrapped up all tidy in their little plastic casing, it's just one of those feelings of relief you can't describe. (To keep this short, I'll have to elaborate a bit more in a blog dedicated just to this topic, I do believe...)

I say this as unbiasedly as possible: This is seriously a good album (as it should be, after taking damn-near as long as Chinese Democracy took to finally be released). If you like girly songs, then "Riverside," "Silence" and "I Want it All" are sure to please. If you like your songs more manly and rocking, then you gotta hear "Dirt" and "The King." And you can't forget "On the Way" or "Hoodoo" (and now that I've named almost every song on the album, I think you get the point- there is something for everybody).

 Massive gayness, i know, but i was one proud publicist lady/gf/sister (lol)

You can stream the songs at to see what you think. If you like them, you can buy the album on iTunes, CdBaby, at Apollo PC in Glasgow, the Great Escape in Bowling Green, or from any of the band members, and of course from little old me. It's $12, but worth every penny :)     

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chasing Layne, Chasing Fame

(My first publication of a story about a band/music!)
The following story appeared on the cover of the Monroe County Citizen on September 1, 2011.  

Chasing Layne, Chasing Fame
Becoming a rock star is a popular dream, but one that, in time, most abandon. When the dreamer realizes that there is more to it than just standing in front of a crowd and smiling (like that whole actually being able to play a musical instrument and sing, sometimes even at the same time, factor) they usually decide to move on and pursue more practical ambitions. There is one band of south-central Kentucky boys, though, that aren’t ready to give up on that dream quite yet. 

Chasing Layne, who call Mt. Hermon their official hometown, have been playing, writing and recording together in their current incarnation for almost five years now, but music has played a central role throughout the majority of their lives. Guitarist Justin Myatt, bassist Evan Harper and drummer Chase Blakely grew up playing music together in Monroe County. Chris Clines, the band’s singer, and Kevin Groce, who plays lead guitar, have also played music together for multiple years in their native Glasgow. 

Now, as the band releases their second album, Sin and Regret, they feel that all their years of work are finally getting close to paying off.  

“We really took our time making this album,” Harper said. “It did take a while, but we’re really happy with how it turned out because we put a lot of work into it.” 

The album’s title, Sin and Regret, reflects things that have happened in the lives of each band member in the past, and many of the songs fit into that general theme.  

“The idea of sin and regret is something that everyone can identify with,” Myatt said.  “Whether they admit it or not, everyone has done things that they shouldn’t and feel bad about, and the songs on the album reflect that. But there are also songs about being proud of who you are, despite your past.”

The release of Chasing Layne’s sophomore album marks the conclusion of one chapter of the band’s rock and roll fantasy in a book filled with times when it looked like completion of the second cd, or any future for the band at all, was not going to happen.      

 “The thought of just quitting has crossed all of our minds. I’ve honestly thought about it on several occasions,” Myatt said. “There are so many frustrating things that bands have to deal with, from club owners to venders, even the other band members, but I have this illusion that we have a good chance to make it. We just need luck and the right person to hear our music.”

Spite also plays a big role in the band’s motivation to keep working toward a future in music.

“A lot of people don’t think that we can do this and that we’re just wasting our time,” Blakely said. “But that just makes us work harder to try and prove them wrong.”

The pursuit of a career in music is a difficult dream for most outsiders to respect and believe in. It would be easy to assume that it would be so much simpler for all five guys to just push aside the band and instead focus on their “real” jobs. But that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. Making and playing music is what the five guys of Chasing Layne believe they are meant to do.  

“It’s hard to understand, I know,” Blakely said. “But I guess the best way to sum it up comes from a line in our song “I Want It All.” It’s pretty simple, but it’s what we’re living by: ‘I want it all, I don’t care what it takes’.

Copies of Sin and Regret are available through most online music retailers, including iTunes. It will also be for sale at Chasing Layne shows, the Great Escape in Bowling Green, Apollo PC in Glasgow, or by contacting any band member.