Best of What’s New

A selection of newly released music that caught my attention

This week was a bit of a drag, so I’m not unhappy it’s over. Of course, this also means it’s time to take another look at newly released music. Between an unusual but great sounding bluesy country trio, gospel from an amazing singer who is primarily known as a backing vocalist, as well as some alternative and indie rock, I think I’ve put together a pretty solid collection of songs. Unless noted otherwise, all music appeared yesterday, April 9. Let’s get to it!

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band/Too Cool to Dance

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band (this has got to be one of the coolest band names!) are an American country blues trio from Brown County, Ind. and have been around since 2003. Their members include Josh “The Reverend” Peyton (guitar, lead vocals), his wife “Washboard” Breezy Peyton (washboard) and Max Senteney (drums). According to Apple Music, the band’s sound is characterized by thick, bass-heavy, blues-based guitar figures and growling vocals accompanied by muscular but minimal drumming and the metallic percussive scratch of a washboard (making them one of the first rock bands to regularly feature the latter instrument since Black Oak Arkansas). Their style is informed by rural blues, honky-tonk country, and the rebellious spirit of rock & roll, as Reverend Peyton’s raw and wiry guitar figures add texture to their straightforward melodies. To date, they have released 10 full-length albums and one EP. Too Cool to Dance is from their new album Dance Songs for Hard Times, which addresses the hopes and fears of life during this seemingly never-ending pandemic. But, as the band’s website notes, don’t expect to hear depressing music. “I like songs that sound happy but are actually very sad,” Peyton says. “I don’t know why it is, but I just do.” Well, he isn’t kidding – check this out!

Merry Clayton/A Song For You

American soul and gospel singer Merry Clayton, who began her recording career in 1962, is best known for providing killer backing vocals on Gimme Shelter, the 1969 tune by The Rolling Stones. Moreover, Clayton sang backing vocals on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama and recorded with Elvis Presley, The Supremes, Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Linda Ronstadt and Carole King, among others. In addition, Clayton was a member of Charles’ vocal backing group The Raelettes from 1966-1968. In 1963, her solo debut single When the Doorbell Rings appeared. Clayton has also released various solo albums since 1970. In the ’80s, she did some acting as well. A Song for You, which was written by Leon Russell and included on his eponymous debut solo album from March 1970, is a track from Clayton’s new album Beautiful Scars. She first covered the tune on her eponymous third solo album released in 1971. This may be an old tune and “only” a cover, but I just love Clayton’s singing!

The Natvral/New Moon

According to his Bandcamp profile, The Natvral is the new project of Kip Berman, who previously founded American indie rock band The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and was their main songwriter. Between 2009 and 2017, the New York group released four studio albums. As reported by Paste, in November 2019, Berman announced the band had dissolved and that he intended to focus on his new project The Natvral. Well, he did, and the result is Tethers, Berman’s debut album under his new name, which came out on April 2nd. Call me crazy, I seem to hear some Bob Dylan in this tune! Regardless, it sounds great to me!

Major Murphy/In the Meantime

Let wrap things up with Major Murphy, an indie rock from Grand Rapids, Mich. According to their artist profile on Apple Music, they were formed in 2015 behind the songwriting of singer/multi-instrumentalist Jacob Bullard. Jacki Warren (synth, bass, vocals) and Brian Voortman (drums) rounded out the lineup. A home-recorded debut EP called Future Release was issued by Winspear later in 2015, and the trio soon committed to performing live regularly and went on their first tours. Winspear released the follow-up EP On & Off Again in July 2017. That November, Major Murphy previewed a more vibrant sound with “Mary,” the lead track off their full-length debut. Recorded mostly live in the studio with producer/mixer Mike Bridavsky, No. 1 arrived on Winspear in March 2018. That same year, Chad Houseman joined Major Murphy on guitar, keyboards and percussion. He is on the band’s new sophomore album Access, which came out on April 2nd. Here’s In the Meantime, written by Bullard. It’s a catchy tune that has a bit of a Tom Petty vibe.

Sources: Wikipedia; Apple Music; The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band website; YouTube

14 thoughts on “Best of What’s New”

  1. Auch wenn Merry Clayton vorwiegend als Backgroundsängerin bekannt geworden ist, hat sie in ihrer Karriere doch immerhin ein paar eigene Scheiben herausgebracht. Ein Nachteil bleibt, dass sie kaum eigene Lieder verfasst hat, aber die Auswahl der Stücke und ihre Stimme sprechen für sich.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band… I knew I was going to like what I heard before I heard a note with that name…that is really cool. Fun music.

    Kip Berman… I hear a little of Nick Drake in there.

    Cool to hear Clayton again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Calling a trio a “big damn band” already deserves credit in and of itself.

      The guy also is a pretty impressive guitarist. Plus, a washboard isn’t something you see very often these days. I also like the drummer’s playing.

      Just a cool act. Really happy about this discovery!😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I listened to it like 4 times…it’s so damn happy! The theme they had going on was pretty cool. Yes this one is a very cool disocvery!

        I love his guitar playing but most of all I like his tone on his guitar…it’s perfect.


  3. Not familiar with any of those artists although I have heard of Merry Clayton. All sound interesting and worth investigating further. The Major Murphy song my favorite of the ones featured here.


  4. I just reviewed three songs that were released on April 9th, and you’ve now featured four more. I like them all, especially the one by The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. Merry Clayton’s voice is still strong at 72, and I agree that Major Murphy singer Jacob Bullard’s vocals sound a bit like Tom Petty’s. And as I mentioned on one of my latest reviews, there’s a lot of really good music coming out of Michigan lately.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like everything here. The Rev. is out of control. Reminds me of when I first heard Nathaniel Rateliff doing “SOB.” Can’t beat Merry Clayton. I think Leon Russell lived off of that song. Loved the Dylan guy. Yeah, he’s channeling Bob, guitar, and all. Indie song is good too. This post gets the ME Seal of Approval (TM) .

    Liked by 1 person

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