Tag Archives: folk rock

Ben Rector : Neptune Theater sells out

When we were offered the opportunity to cover a Ben Rector
show, we couldn’t pass up the chance. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the 29 year-old
musician began playing piano at a young age, picking up guitar additionally
later in high school. After becoming the youngest person to win a pop award
Grand Prize of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest due to a self-titled EP in
2006, Rector knew he had a shot. After playing 200 shows and releasing two
full-length albums during his college career, Rector made the transition to Nashville
to give his career the full effort.

And it’s worked: releasing three more albums after that,
Rector has recently topped Billboard 200 charts and has sold out shows across
the country.

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But what makes Ben Rector so likeable and so popular? His
music stylistically is simplistic and predictable with expected catchy tunes
and lyrics we can all relate to. And within the last 10 years Rector has been
in the industry, he hasn’t made waves of unique change among the pop
singer-songwriter genre. With a pretty standard voice that can sometimes reach
heights in his range (in tracks like “Paris” on the most recent Brand New album), Rector is a
boy-next-door sort of artist.

What makes him memorable, however, seems to be just that. His
ability to combine American folk rock, jazzy soul, and piano pop into one
feel-good pie of feelings for the heart is exactly
what makes Rector top the charts. Versatile in terms of range and skills, the
Tennessee-based musician is able to switch easily from catchy pop tunes with
echo-ey vocals, like popular song “Let the Good Times Roll,” to more heart felt
ballads, like new track “The Men Who Drive Me Places.”  

And his versatility and heart shows. When Ben Rector steps onto
the stage at a sold out Neptune Theatre,
the crowd roars. When we looked around the famous Seattle venue, we couldn’t
believe our eyes to see a completely jam packed theatre, with each crowd member
joyously grinning from ear to ear at the sight of the Nashville artist.

Beginning the show on the piano, the indie pop singer-songwriter
plays renown track, ”Brand New,” a piano pump-up song that hypes up the entire audience.
Throughout the entire show, Rector switches back and forth between guitar and
piano, moving around the stage, and engaging the crowd the entire time,
grateful and in awe of so many people in front of him singing his songs.

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“It’s awesome that you’re singing my songs,” he says
grinning. “These aren’t on the radio, which means you had to go out yourself and
find my music. Thank you for that.”

And it’s true, track after track, both slow and fast,
everyone joins in on lyrics. He plays a repertoire of songs on his setlist,
including popular songs, “The Beat,” “Make Something Beautiful,” “Fear,” and of
course “Let the Good Times Roll.”

It isn’t just originals however, Rector, with his boyish
preference for jazz sneaks cover songs into his performance, stating, “I get
bored doing my own stuff after a while, sometimes I like to mix it up.” Yet, regardless
of whether he plays own music or not, he is still loved among the crowd of
listeners before him, and he reciprocates that love fully. As he plays, both
guitar and piano, we see the passion and joy he derives, not just from the
music, but from performing. And as he engages his audience members, teasing,
laughing, and exchanging jokes, we see an artist who is driven by the love of
performance. At the end of the show, as Rector discusses how impatient he gets
at encores because he just wants to be back out with the audience, we almost
feel enveloped by his presence, as if in this hour of time with him and in an
theater full of other people, we’ve become close friends with the artist
himself.

Rector dances his way out of the crowd, leaving everyone on
a high, joyful in anticipation of his next album to come.

And although this artist isn’t experimental in his
composition or melodies or lyrics, we have come to the conclusion he does
create feeling for the listener, and since that’s good for everyone
else who’s helped him top charts, that’s good enough for us to give him a
thumbs up.

Take a listen to his latest album Brand New and follow his tour now.

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Ariana Rivera



Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Two Gallants – We Are Undone (Album Preview)

Some call this Folk-Rock, I call it kick-ass! Next month, Two Gallants will be releasing their newest album since 2012. Made infamous by a moment of police brutality in Houston, singer/guitarist Adam Stephens and drummer Tyson Vogel have opened up a whole new can of worms in We Are Undone.

The duo’s last full length release, The Bloom And The Blight, pulled us through every possible set of emotions. Free-flowing indie-punk tracks like “Halcyon Days” and “My Love Won’t Wait” cleverly contrasted blues ballads like “Broken Eyes”. In this album, Stephens and Vogel showcased their signature sound – slow starts with tremendous percussive peaks which bring us closer to the fuzz, buzz, and controlled chaos of the band.

This focus on juxtaposition seems to be even clearer in last year’s preview of next month’s release. Check out the lyric video below:

The vocals ring out openly over an ever-changing guitar riff. During the first shift in the guitar’s melody, Stephen’s tone sounds like Muse’s Matthew Bellamy before the band took its ever-famous electronic escapade of 2012. Nothing is overly-complicated in this mix of textures – alterations of simple progressions take catchy Black Keys-esque movements and bring them to a point of epic dance-ability.

If the track’s abrupt closure only leaves you wanting more… check out the band’s webpage for streams, videos, tour dates, and to pre-order the album!