On the morning I was born, my father was sitting in a hospital waiting room, listening to the Allman Brothers Band on a yellow maxell tape deck. I don’t know what song, but I like to think it was ‘Ramblin Man’ and that song playing in the next room somehow made it through his headphones, through the walls of the surgical suite and shaped the restless person I am today. For every birthday party I had, he would make playlists of music to be played in the background and as a result my friends and I danced around my pool to ‘Moni moni’ by Billy Idol, ‘Shout’ by the Beatles and there’s video evidence that I opened my presents to Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Who. There was nary a current song to be found in my childhood, my father believed the best music was made before 1980 and he fed me a strict diet of Rock and Roll, with the occasional Motown song for dessert.
Obviously my tastes have evolved beyond one genre and while my current collection is much more eclectic that his, plain old rock will always hold the deepest part of my musical heart. Motown, metal, indie, folk and pop all have had an important part in shaping me, but they’re all just silly mistresses that pale in comparison to my true life partner: Gritty, unadorned rock banged out on some instruments by ordinary people. I want to feel like 4 dudes just walked into a garage one day, played some songs and discovered they could make magic. No glossy hairstyles, no slick websites, just music that speaks for itself.
Two recent bands that I’ve come across recently that perfectly embody this definition are J Roddy Walston & The Business and The Glorious Sons. Glorious Sons are somewhat local boys, this 5 piece came out of Kingston recently and their releases so far have been nothing short of magnetic. ‘White Noise’ is energetic and full of heart, it’s reminiscent of early Soul Asylum and how raw Dave Pirner was when he sang to groups of thrashing 90s kids. Their other single ‘Mama’ is also worth checking out, it makes me think of catching crawfish and willow trees and eating juicy pieces of fruit on a river dock somewhere, which is pretty impressive imagery for a Southern Ontario band to conjure up in this gypsy girls mind. I can’t say enough good things about what I’ve heard so far. They’ve only released a few songs that I’ve found, but from the production to their video execution, I love everything they’ve done so much that I’d probably work for them and run their merch table just so I could hear them play every night.
J Roddy Walston & The Business is a 4 piece from Tennessee that put out a great single last year: ‘Heavy Bells’. It’s coarse and sung with unapologetic intent; at times the vocals sound a tiny bit like Caleb from KOL, if Caleb smoked his whole life and somehow all those cigarettes gave him energy. My other favorite song from their most recent album ‘Tremors’ is ‘Take it as it comes’, a song I’ve been using for stress management when I find myself worrying about anything that hasn’t happened yet. The piano in it is fantastic, it mellows the song out perfectly and melts with the background vocals. They’re known for their manic live shows and Walstons ‘pounding’ style of playing the piano, so I highly recommend checking out a live show if you can (They’re in Toronto tomorrow, and ladies I really suggest finding a way there, there is just so much awesome long hair going on in that band)
No matter which band you prefer, I hope these guys give you the same comfort that I have in knowing that good, gritty, soulful rock and roll isn’t dead at all. It’s alive and well and no matter how far this ramblin’ girl goes, you can always count on me to find it for you.