Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Stranger Friends

Stranger Friends 

Jamie Floyd grew up as the daughter of performing musicians in West Palm Beach, Florida, and landed her first record deal at 11 years old. While working as a waitress, she co-wrote the exquisite title track to Ashley Monroe’s Grammy-nominated album, The Blade. A native of Stillwater, Oklahoma, John Martin played football for Baylor University while continuing to write songs. He received his first cut in Nashville with one of his musical heroes, Garth Brooks. With a musical style that combines the harmony of the Everly Brothers with the grit of Tom Petty. Stranger Friends - is their self-titled EP, releasing this October.

“Country Song” opens the EP with flying colors, because it nails all perspective for them to establish exactly what they are. And that is a country act with some essential rocking aspects to keep them on the strong side of country in a modern world full of fakery. They’re the real thing in a sea of what is not what it used to be in any music genre, but that’s part of today’s land of musical opportunity.

They just happen to get up and deliver all they can to achieve it and this opening track is a testament to that, when they could’ve done everything to achieve the opposite. They came out smoking all the way on it.

They do all they can to come from another place and find themselves right in the middle of-the road on “Sacred Garden” which plays like a waltz through the trees with acoustic instruments. It’s an organic piece of music with lovely lyrics and vocals led by Jamie Floyd and well-accompanied by John Martin. You get all the la, la, la’s and everything with this sweet track, especially if you like songs about togetherness and the adventures it can take you on. It seems to hold its own with the rest of these cuts but it doesn’t stand out over and above any of them. It still belongs to the EP though.   

The second song on the EP worth all raving about is the deep, dark and illustrious musing of “I Ain’t Dead” with its narrative feel and bombastic breaks. This is a track that instantly sweeps you away or turns you completely off. There is no dimmer switch when it comes to the classic country essence going on here, you’ll either want to hear it over again or give it a pass, with the latter not being recommended. I was blown away by this song the first time I heard it. There is only one thing left to do and that’s play it again, as they break all boundaries with a standard they can ultimately be very proud of. You will be moved or you will not.
The same can’t be said for “November & June” but it’s not something you want to skip either, or the entire EP won’t bode as well. It’s not always about the big tracks, it can often be just as much about the lighter-hearted stuff. This track harks back to the second track on the EP, where it fits in best, but you can’t place five tracks together as well as you can four tracks, so one or two can get misplaced in the arrangement, and this is the lesser of those two for me.

They bring everything back around on the awesome “Don’t Get Back Up,” so, not all is lost in the mix, and they take it out with her lovely voice featured.

Terry Smith

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