Unlikely Saints – Highway To Highway
The Oregon coast band, Unlikely Saints is probably a name that needs some introduction. Not because they don’t have aura and spark in their music, but because they’re an independent band making music rather than packaging publicity stunts. The band is a collaborative effort made up of Jay Fleming (Guitar, Vocals), Danny Norton (Bass), Andy Johnson (Drums), Hudson Hamilton (Keys) and Richard Paris (Guitar). The feeling I get here is that everyone pitches in the ideas, best ones get selected, everyone works on their respective instruments and fantastic music is composed. These boys dish out roots music, garnished with southern rock flavors, country, blues and Americana. The kind of music you would listen to taking break from all the chaos of society makes, sitting in your rocking chair on your porch with a cold beer in your hand, and tapping your feet on the floorboards.
The album consists of 10 tracks in total, and the album gets better by each song. It has some of the nicest guitar solos I’ve heard in a while; they’re vivid, precise, mellow and serene, unlike what many rock shredders do while playing solos. And any music aficionado will tell you why rhythm is important in solos too. That’s another thing these solos have. It really shows how much control Jay Fleming has over his instrument and his music, and he’s not playing random notes just because they sound good together either.
Of course the first thing that stops you in your tracks when you hit play on “Angel of the Interstate”, is that deep whiskey stained voice. Actually Jay Fleming’s voice reminded me of one of my favorite singers – the rather underrated Darius Rucker, ex Hootie and the Blowfish. To be honest, on the occasion Unlikely Saints seem to have that same energetic, but understated groove that Hootie had.
The middle part of the album with songs “Take Another Look”, “Grace”, “Shackles and Chains” and “Beat The Drum” along with “Try” and “Soul Fire” towards the end are some of my favorites from the album, but that is a highly personal choice. Each track stands on its own and just as lovely and mesmerizing as any other on the album. And each track is better than the previous one you heard, even if you put the album on shuffle.
The vocals put forth a contemplative, introspective, and deep resonating tone while the guitar shows off wild skills; this contrasting combination is a sort of The Beauty and The Beast match, which makes it all absolutely captivating. Listening to this recording from start to finish you would have to be thankful to each and every person who worked hard to make this album extremely beautiful. The musicians, production team, mastering team, the engineers, and mixing team; they all complement each other here. And when each one works as a team, the result is what you will find by listening to this album – something truly superlative!
But what ultimately makes this such a great album, is Unlikely Saints knowing what they’re playing, knowing message they want to convey, and it’s all from the heart. And as they say, any words spoken from heart will touch the heart, no matter what they are. From the first note to the last this notable work delivers spellbinding musical performances.
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