Tyler Bryant and his incredible band The Shakedown have been busy spreading their brand of updated, blues-heavy rock and roll in the couple of years since they appeared as the OurStage spotlight band on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! Now they’re back with a new release that marks a kind of shift in creative direction. Produced by Vance Powell (Jack White, Seasick Steve), the six-song EP The Wayside finds the band expanding further out from traditional blues rock (though fans of Bryant’s and 2nd guitarist Graham Whitford‘s dazzling guitar work should not be disappointed here) into what sounds a lot more like the kind of stoner rock purveyed by Queens Of The Stone Age, et al., while remaining rooted to the ’70s southern rock giants that are clearly close to their hearts. Atmospherics and texture are a primary focus here, and the band is clearly thoughtful about their approach to each song. Every track here has a different vibe, from instrumentation to production style to Bryant’s vocal technique. The singer has found the sweet spot that does not require him to reach for barrel-chested soul belting – he just doesn’t have that kind of voice. Instead, the songs here allow him to explore more subtle turns of phrase and melodic intricacies that will keep your ears glued to this release. When the band delivers their take on the classic “Mojo Workin,” this is most apparent. On a song that could easily, and surely pleasantly enough, be a vehicle for some slick guitar work and big yelping (as it has for a generation of early rock artists), Bryant instead eases back into the music to create a solid and more subtle slab of fuzz rock. Can’t wait to see these guys live again.
The Wayside is now streaming on Spotify: http://republicrec.co/TheWaysideEPSP