By: Alex Yant
I don’t know about you, but school started to hit me REALLY hard last week. (Papers! Presentations! Tests,Tests,TESTS!!) Well, thank heavens it’s the weekend (commence the Friday jokes…), and we have some solid jams for you on the Terrace this Saturday night! Oh, and did I mention Blueheels will be hosting a VINYL RELEASE for their latest album that night? So button up your winter coats and take a walk with me, as I tell you about three groups you should definitely know.
Headliners and Madison natives Blueheels have a sound as warm as apple pie, with the richness of Americana thrown into the mix. It’s like going to Famous Dave’s, ordering the hot barbeque sauce for your ribs instead of the traditional sweet rub, and soaking in the unexpectedly spicy flavor. (Hungry yet?) The quintet just released their fourth album, Weather Machine, this past August. On their Facebook page, they describe their sound as “Rock / Indie / Americana,” yet they’re missing at least one or two genres in that description. “Landmines,” the lead track off Weather Machine, has a funky feel in the verses, transitioning into a near-ethereal intro chorus before breaking down into a good ol’ rock n’ roll riff. It’s tough to make a parallel to the combination of Robby Schiller’s delightfully nasally vocals and the instrumentation, devoid of the usual southern “twang.” The closest I could come, Ram Jam’s 1977 cover of “Black Betty,” still doesn’t do Blueheels’ sound justice. Declared “Madison’s best original rock ‘n’ roll band” by the Isthmus newspaper, you have to see these guys to believe them.
Which brings us to our next guest. Little Legend comes in, again, from Madison, Wisconsin. Let’s take a moment to give a collective “Hell yeah!” for local music! Woohoo…ok, back on track. The group consists of two core members, Singer/Songwriter Brandy Tudor and Guitarist Joseph Copeland. However, you might be wondering how they stay in time without a rhythm section. The second half of the bio lists a “revolving drum and bass section” to compliment the two cornerstone members. That makes MUCH more sense! At first listen to their debut, self-titled release, the listener instantly realizes that these guys couldn’t have half-assed their rhythm section. While minimal, in keeping with their indie roots, the drum fills breathe life into Copeland’s surprisingly crunchy guitar and Tudor’s crisp vocals. If you want a good example of this, check out their lead track off the EP, “Saints.” The songs’ poppy structure is overshadowed by the boldness of their All-American vibe, making the “Little Legend” EP sound fresh and interesting. If you’re looking for “shameless rock n’ roll with touches of blues, 1960’s pop, and a few shots of Southern whiskey” (how the guys describe themselves), then Little Legend is sure to whet your appetite.
Last (but certainly not least), Cameron McGill is going to be joining us at the Terrace. His soulful sounds go down smoothly like a warm cup of coffee (I started with a food simile, so it only makes sense to end with a beverage, right?). Born in Illinois, McGill was inspired to go into music because of a rich musical childhood. His family owned records from the Beach Boys and Johnny Cash, among others. After graduating from the U of I, he played in coffeehouses and in various groups before forming his current line-up. While coming solo this weekend, he’s usually one part of a larger musical collective, Cameron McGill & What Army. At first listen, one might think of McGill as a Western Glen Hansard (from “Once” fame, and a member of the “Frames”). I admit it’s by no means a perfect comparison. While Hansard’s emotion is shown through his vocal tone, McGill’s is shown more through his instrumentation and his vocal power. When Hansard has to strain on the climax of his songs, McGill can push through and achieve some serious sustain. Just take a listen to “Dead Rose” from McGill’s 2010 album Deserters to see what I mean. Any way you see it, McGill has a message to put across, and some serious talent to boot.
Cameron McGill is also doing a fundraising campaign for his new record on Pledgemusic.com or, http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/cameronmcgill, which is pretty cool considering he’s giving part of the proceeds to charity while also creating a behind-the-scenes look at his process.
Hope to see you there! Below are some wicked downloads… that you should download…
Download>> Blueheels- “Landmines”
Download>> Little Legend- “Saints”
Download>> Cameron McGill- “Counterfeit”