(Photo courtesy of the band)
As a Seattle native, new Southern music has never come across my radar. My iTunes library mostly features older bands who have since moved on from the crossroads.
Now don’t get me wrong, a Southern band with a good country sound is something to look forward to especially when Iʻm in need of a change of pace from the variety that the Emerald City has to offer.
Take the band Elonzo, for example. Elonzo is a family band that hails from South Carolina. They consist of singer/songwriter Jeremy Davis and his sister Maggie Bourdeaux, along with her husband Dan Bourdeaux and friends Stephen Narron and Dennis Contreras.
The band was named after Jeremy and Maggie’s father, Elonzo, who passed away from cancer back in 1992. These Southern natives have released A Letter to a Friend, their sophomore album. According to the band, the album was developed organically live before ever being recorded, and the idea for the album stems from the title: Davis penned songs to, for and about the people that have meant or will mean something to him.
Here they provide a lyrical letter for fans new and old, resonating the sweet heartfelt sounds in juxtaposition to America’s heartland and a deeper appreciation for the home and family life. This is a refreshing change of scenery that new music lovers will want to devour.
The bulk of the album alternates between rock and country, experimenting with the unique sound from both to create this letter for fans to hear. The album starts off with an arousing tempo in “Chosen One.” Jeremy Davis’s vocals blare in equality to that of This Coast favorite M. Ward. Maggie adds great flare not only with her key striking skills while on the piano, but also with adding her vocals to accompany that of Davis’s. This song kicks out a great rock intro.
A few tracks forward, you then hear the anthem-like wonder in “Fight Fight Fight”. Dan provides a roll-licking drum solo that then heavily compliments the lead vocals. Some other favorite rock tunes include “Dearhunter” and “Don’t Be Downhearted.”
The band then drifts into some country fare. One favorite tune that strikes to the core is “Living Will.” This track illustrates a man’s request to his son and daughter to begin living life to the fullest extent because in this world “there is always a beginning to an end.” Here they dive into the alt-country scene that makes you perk up and listen. Davis sounds like an old pro at the Grand Ole Opry, bringing back the quieter sounds and emotional depth of country that is currently missing in the mainstream today.
This is where the band truly shines. Every member is thrust into the spotlight of each country ballad, providing the family dynamic of talent you cannot find anywhere else. Be sure to enjoy tracks “El Rio”, “Almost Home”, and “Cold Cold Heart.”
A Letter to a Friend is indeed much richer in sound. Elonzo has certainly progressed from their first album, All My Life. They are still able to infuse the same family-like atmosphere in this record which truly makes them a band to watch out for. If you are in the area locally or live in the Carolinas, be sure to catch them during the next few months. For exact dates, check out their website and purchase their album, available now through iTunes and Bandcamp.