Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Stranger Friends

Stranger Friends  

Two award-winning Nashville songwriters have teamed up to form the masterful new band, Stranger Friends. With a musical style that combines the harmony of the Everly Brothers and the grit of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Stranger Friends will release their self-titled, self-written EP on October 20. Band members Jamie Floyd and John Martin met through a mutual friend in 2010. To their surprise, songs came naturally, as though these strangers had been friends all along. And their vocal blend was instantly, undeniably special. Since that time, they have followed their musical instincts.

Those activities have all led to great things, such as, recording the 12-song soundtrack for a Burt Reynolds movie, “Dog Ears,” before recording this five-track EP to be released this month, before said movie in 2018.

That’s pretty- big for this hard-working duo, but seven years is a long time to develop and when you stay at it you get such results and they are living proof. The EP kicks off with “Country Song” to put it all into proper order from the word go. And I give this opener all the green light it deserves, as it stand-apart from the others the way any good opener should, and remains the right choice once all five songs are over.

They follow in good country style tradition with “Secret Garden” and it too is one of the top placements on the EP. This is such a good song you’ll wonder how it’s the same players on it, as it advances in the instrumental department without skipping a beat. The folk essence can’t be dismissed on this track, with its usual acoustic charms. This plays out like a walk through any garden in any lavish or humble estate. It’s probably the best all-round track of the five, to my recollection after several listens. But it depends on your cup of garden juice, so to speak, and that can be said about any track on Stranger Friends.

“I Ain’t Dead” takes you to another place and time with a ballad that blows most attempts as such down to the ground here. This embodies everything that country is about in one fell swoop. The only thing it never does is swing into anything with a beat. It’s not that kind of son, so no harm there. No need to swing when you can sway, because it does however allow that as it goes from slow moving, to loud and back again. There is no repeating the refrain they go into on this, but perhaps there is no need because some things are better left as is.

I’m not completely sure that’s the gospel on this, but the track itself carries a gospel feel, so put them together and maybe it’s the right call.

But you also get the more-quiet sounds of “November & June” to go with it, and you won’t be eating the same meal with every track. This follows a less serious approach to their music, but provides a feather-light touch at the right time on the EP. You’ll want it after the latter, and you’ll get everything you’ve been patient for by listening to it all and finding the closing track “Don’t Get Back Up” to compete with every note you’ve already heard.

Brion Stephen

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