J Roddy Walston and the Business
album: Essential Tremors
First, 3 seconds in to "Heavy Bells" the opening track on J Roddy Walston and the Business's 6th album since their 2002 inception, "Essential Tremors" I'm thinking it's some Appalachian back country piece, until the guitars kick and kick they do. That was when my hair blew back and the chills took over. I started running around the studio telling everyone to stop what they were doing and to listen to this track. Why was is I so compelled? I guess because of it's sheer simplicity. Because it's roots rock with blues and rasp and grit and guitar…as our long time friend Roger Daltry says "long live rock!" It's not as if I don't like the bands who layer their music with synth and beat beds, but I thank the stars that rock is alive and well and it lives in the heads and bodies of J Roddy Walston and the Business. This is not a new band and not a young band so why haven't I heard much of them before? Perhaps it's because they've been riding around in a a white church van with the decals intact that read: "Hamilton Cove Christian Academy of Huntsville, Alabama", which Walston claims was by design to help prevent theft and hopefully keep potential speeding tickets at bay. Brilliant. Thank you Paul Jarvis, Radio 92.9's Music Director, for introducing me to J Roddy Walston and the Business, who are 4 guys from Tennessee lead by Walston who can bang the crap out of a piano (never a keyboard even on the road). This track, however doesn't quite show off that skill of his, instead it is all guitar and his interesting strained and raw lyrics, "I muscle holler and a moan, black chords in the night. I know that old Catholic (Cath-AW-lick) tone HEAVY BELLS, HEAVY BELLS tolling out of tune". Heavy Bells, in a Kurt Kobain dirty, wear and tear vocals and the simple guitar riff to match, I'm thinking, God I love rock n roll.
Check out "Heavy Bells" here and listen for it on Radio 92.9: