Every Monday, Tracks of the Week throws up a list of songs whose back stories are unpredictable and fascinating, and today's are no exception.
There's the former professional mixed martial artist turned blues phenom. There's the band whose frontman lives in a rundown cabin in the Arkansas woods. There's a band who've tripled their online following during lockdown. And there's a band whose guitarist's father is one of the world's great guitarists and whose drummer played with One Direction. There's always a story. And those stories produce interesting results.
But first, congratulations to husband and wife blues rock duo When Rivers Meet, whose Battleground triumphed in last week's vote, narrowly pipping Small Town Titans and Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar to the post. Here they are again.
The Cadillac Three - Tabasco & Sweet Tea
Still southern, still swingin’, only this time Jaren, Kelby and Neil got funky – like, really funky. Dropped with next to no warning last week, Tabasco & Sweet Tea is essentially TC3’s country fuzz cocktail with lava lamps and all the ganja in Nashville, plus James Brown and Lenny Kravitz on the decks. All of which comes to the fore on this swaying, spaced out but uber-groovy title track. Yeah.
Kris Barras Band - 6am
“This song is about dealing with mental struggles and is perhaps more pertinent now, than ever before,” says blues dude-turned-balls-to-the-wall rocker Kris Barras, of this hidden gem from last year's Light It Up. “It talks metaphorically about hoping for the light at the end of the tunnel, wishing and hoping for better times. But also literally, with having sleepless nights worrying. We didn’t ever get the chance to actually play this one live to real people....so we decided to do a live session version.”
All Them Witches - Rats In Ruin
The nine-minute closing track of ATW’s cinematic latest, Nothing As The Ideal, is also one the most compelling – a dark, sad, beautiful hybrid of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and their own headfuls of avant-garde noises and religious music from far-off lands. It’s not difficult to picture the trio playing it in Abbey Road, where they recorded back at the start of the year, before the world shifted the way it did.
Marisa & The Moths - Tied Up
Don’t let the clean, delicate piano intro fool you; once Tied Up gets cooking it rocks good n’ hard. Capitalising on the sort of muscular Halestorm-come-Foos qualities that caught our attention last year, it comes with extra metallic heft and a whiff of Amy Lee in Marisa’s vocals. Not to mention a gothed up video depicting an elegantly dysfunctional wedding service (‘tied up’, see what they did there??).
Edenthorn - A Matter Of Opinion
Young Durham four-piece Edenthorn (two brothers plus a brother and sister) are the brains and brawn behind this taut slice of chest-swelling hard rock – all tight, chugging guitars and gnarly introversion that grows into a big, hooky chorus. If names like Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters and Audioslave make you feel good inside, you might just want to give these guys a shot.
Ed Cosens - If
Better known as the guitarist/bassist with hot-for-a-spell-in-the-00s rockers Reverend And The Makers, Ed Cosens has released his first solo single. Contrasting somewhat with the day job, there’s something of Richard Hawley in Cosens’ bittersweet, textured swirl of acoustic strumming, stirring strings and major-led chorus (even a hint of latter-day, Road To Rouen-era Supergrass, we thought). The accompanying video is the first of four parts, to be released as one short film alongside the full record in January.
Levara - Heaven Knows
Los Angeles trio Levara feature Trev "Son of Steve" Lukather on guitar, so we felt obliged to listen to their debut single, and you know what? We're glad we did, for Heaven Knows is a highly-polished, rather exuberant chunk of business indeed. Guitars gleam, the chorus soars, singer Jules Galli (he's French, you know) sings with plenty of va-va-voom, and we'll let former One Direction drummer Josh Devine explain what it's all about: "We all love classic rock," he says, "but we wanted to pay homage to it with a modern twist. Where’s the rock on the radio? Where’s the music we grew up loving? Where’s the guitar?" Well, quite.
Amy Montgomery - Anywhere
Amy Montgomery's barefooted frolics, flower headbands and pre-Raphaelite features have tough roots. Busking on the streets of Belfast at 15, before losing her mother to suicide, the Irish singer/songwriter is a worldly, enigmatic head on 21-year-old shoulders. We can hear notes of Alanis Morissette, Zero 7-era Sia and Tori Amos in Anywhere, but with a depth that falls somewhere between 70s counterculture and Montgomery's own magical mystery land.