The Monster Energy 2016 Carolina Rebellion (May 6-8 at Concord Speedway) lineup has been announced [Lineup Announcement], and what a weekend it will be! Among the 22 groups taking the stage on Friday, May 6, is Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown. Bryant is one of those musicians who went to Nashville young, with a guitar and a dream, and is making it. Today I listened to the group’s album Wild Child, which was released in 2013 under Carved Records.
The album’s opener, “Fool’s Gold,” strikes you in the face like the first bite of a jalapeño popper with underestimated capsaicin content. It’s a roiling and rocking song, that got me up and dancing. “Lipstick Wonder Woman” takes a slower beat with the country twang Nashville is known for, while Bryant’s vocals pound through the music not unlike a certain someone who once sang of confronting a seven-nation army. The lyrical content is fun and enticing, a story woven together with six strings and the punch of some powerful percussion. TB&TS really get things rolling with “Cold Heart,” which features a sublime electric guitar solo that comes from years of focused study and exploration of several genres. It doesn’t hurt that the group has two guitarists. “Downtown Tonight” offers a sultry sound with heavenly harmony and strumming, all tied together with Caleb Crosby’s steady drumming. I really hope Bryant got to go downtown, but with musical chops like his, I’m sure he spends a lot of time there. (Maybe after visiting Charlotte he’ll sing about going Uptown.) “Say A Prayer” is a song I could blast in my car while driving on the freeway, with the windows open, fuel economy be damned. “House That Jack Built” knocks on your front door and pushes its way through, to get your head banging between Bryant’s beautifully bellowed lyrics. It fills your home with sound, rampaging through all the rooms, overturning furniture and drawing on the walls.
The next song on the album, “Last One Leaving,” progresses with the regular tock-tock-tock of a metronome, with a composition to rival that of TB&TS’s most extremely publicized contemporaries. “Still Young (Hey Kids)” is the party you dream it would be. Fast cars, illicit substances, and romantic interludes. This song pulses with all the good things about youth, with none of the ugly awkwardness people don’t like to sing about. For a few minutes, it had me feeling brighter, more energetic, and more hopeful than before, and that feeling lasted, to my delight. “You Got Me Baby” is a good cocktail – potent enough to loosen you up, but smooth enough to continue the party started by the previous track. A rocking bass and Crosby’s steady percussion drive “House On Fire” into your skull like a fireball through a spiderweb. These guys are serious with their sound, and “Where I Want You” is yet more proof. Not only does it display the band’s incredible musical talent, it’s an example of Bryant’s vocal abilities and songwriting prowess. The guitar in this song took my breath away and gave me cottonmouth, making me exclaim, “Where have you been all my life?!” And we haven’t heard the whole album yet.
The final song of the album, “Poor Boy’s Dream,” takes us to the country, to wide fields and hot sun, with the sound of a resonator guitar and a voice that many folk singers would murder woodland creatures to possess. This song brings Jack White to mind yet again, but to compare the guitar playing on this track to anything else would be a crime. It stands alone. This song inhales the band’s sheer talent and exhales soul. It stands alone as the cornerstone on a well-constructed album; without it, the album would be perfectly fine. But with it, “Wild Child” is given the electrifyingly beautiful sound of life.
This is the group that can give you the sort of temporary hearing loss you muddle through proudly, because you came, you listened, you rocked out, but with the lyrical genius that will have you gleaning nuggets of wisdom with each successive listen (and there will be many). Be sure to catch Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown at the 2016 Carolina Rebellion. Admission prices go up on February 1, so get your tickets early to save some money.