Jonah Leatherman – Couldn’t Find Any Reason
Boogie music and Southern rock have acquired a pretty nasty reputation over the years. As someone not from the U.S.A. I can only assume why. However, I’d also like to state how surprising this feels when judging from the outside. In many ways, the original sound of rock and its first great pioneers came from the American South. Southern rock is, well… rock. It would only make sense that newer indie stylings, like the one played by Jonah Leatherman, would draw inspiration from that source.
Perhaps, this negative perception owes more to Southern rock’s unwillingness to change with the times. I’m sure some kind of country-trap or electronica infused Lynyrd Skynyrd groups are out there. Most listeners will, however, not be exposed to that anytime soon.
The last time that kind of rock n’ roll genuinely mounted a challenge for the charts was in the early 1990s. The Black Crowes were rock anomalies, playing their guitar boogie to, largely, fans of metal. Tom Petty, a man that had shared writing credits with George Harrison and Roy Orbison, was greeted as a hero of 90s alt-rock.
Couldn’t find a reason draws from that wellspring and embraces the Southern rock values fully, but not arrogantly. What the tune does brilliantly though is showcasing a few elements that, once upon a time, were considered a prerequisite of playing rock music. Jonah Leatherman can surely sing and play masterfully to a great groove. Is that not enough of a selling point?
The Grunion – Move Along
The Grunion pull off a very interesting trick on their single Move Along. The quartet hails from America, the land that gave the world soul and R&B. Yet, throughout the swinging tune, the band sounds like an overly excited European group doing their best to imitate the sound of their cousins from over the sea.
Much of this, perhaps, has to do with the quality of the vocals. Simply put, they sound like a drunken poet strong-arming a soul band into letting him sing for them. Each syllable is not so much sung as acted with gravitas and solemnity. The great Van Morrison’s It’s too late to stop now comes to mind.
However, there’s a groove at the heart of Move Along that is undeniable. Jim Morrison loathed his bandmate’s desire for commercial success. Had they gotten their way, had Mr Mojo Rising was in a sunnier disposition and embraced his inner crooner, the Doors’ seventh album might have sounded a little bit like this. This leaves us having to believe that there’s some Irish blood knocking about in the band members’ veins on this one.