Look, I know I’m not the only one whose Daily Mix on Spotify is riddled with Led Zeppelin. There are many. Artists from the Valley, the rock of 70’s are my go to every time I feel up, or down. My one way teleportation to a place of bliss. Sun King Rising is John Blangero, a talented multi instrumentalist and I strongly believe, a time traveler. He has searched for the soul in music from all of history. Luckily for you nerds, its condensed beautifully in his album, Delta Tales.
Weaving in & out
I’m a minimalist by nature, but curated juxtaposition always gives me goosebumps. If each instrument accents each other to frame a track by the virtue of its unique sound, nothing like it. John Blangero slips in and out of that character like a whack-a-mole game. He knows what sound he wants, and he chases it. That’s how you get an album like this.
Opening with The Snake, John weaves expertly in the song through funk, classic rock and elements of soul and R&B as well. He uses saxophone, trumpets, bass and the synth so well, sometimes it sounds like an orchestra is being conducted by the great Frank Zappa. Minus the weird, you know. Fixating on this archival sound that brings about a cool groove to rest on, The Snake is a great start. Let’s go further into this dream.
Milkweed & Thistle is Sun King Rising’s slow shift to a different sound. Mastering each sound to create a whole new artistic canvas is a specialty. He uses the now created pockets of space in the song to make a rich, fulfilling slew of guitar flourishes, resting on the blues sound that is its very spine. It is a beautiful, gently curving path to a magical land.
Genre-hopping with the Delta King
It can’t be, but it has to be. Sun King Rising sounds like The Boss in this track, with the emulation almost being scary. Down the Delta Road is great delta blues, with the slide dominating the drawling, emotional sound. The background singers appear on the foreground many a times, stealing the sound away and keeping the surprise in the song. Two songs ago I expected a funk and soul album. One song ago I started being wrong. Now it has been proven I’m a fool.
It’s getting ridiculous, but I’ll allow it. Ridiculously good. In a State of Grace shows this artist now sitting on his piano, his powerful voice demanding a strong shift in style. It becomes rock pretty soon, as the live instruments slide in. The soaring electric guitar in the background makes the track just more of a treat, while the background singers elevate the quality of the track to a different level.
It might not sound much like it, but this next song reminds me of Wishbone Ash. Take it Down is another powerful delivery by this Sun King. It runs on the blues dominant, but on the periphery is a whole other style of John Blangero. He cleverly superimposes the styles he admires into one, and with his heightened musicality, you better bet it’ll be great.
Beneath the Southern Sun is one of Sun King Rising’s most popular and most streamed tracks. Probably because of that beautiful intro with slide guitar. The piano stands out, while the accents with slide keep the verses warm. The guitar work is minimal yet does a great job staying afloat. The sections between riffs have been peppered up real nice, tons of flavor in this track. The next track is a total contrast, Evangeline in the Morning is a touching love letter by John. It has touches of the November Rain opening by Guns N Roses. It remains poetry in motion, with a lovely chorus.
Finding love in the keys
Love Turns Grey. We’re speaking straight facts here is it? We’re back to the soul sound with a change in gear. The saxophone takes command, with a playthrough that adds the peppiness the track needs. Great lyrics stand out for me in this song, while the subtle keys work is worth listening to isolated. A blues soaked track delivered with love and virtuosic prowess.
A totally underrated track. I don’t know how this has been looked past by listeners, but Drive Me to Nashville is where the magic lies. The chugging, traveling nature of the sound makes it an enthralling track. It’s a beautiful shawl of music over the character that we follow. The banjo style string section with the great progression makes this song a definite repeat track, so definitely drive me to Nashville.
Ending with a prophetic piece of well crafted music is an imperative for many albums. Luckily, Sun King Rising knows what he has been composing, as the song he makes floats over the rest for a bookmark in this climax. Let There Be Light is a hopeful odyssey which reminds you why this artist is where he is now. His compositions are simple, yet he finds complexity when he requires. The blues, funk, soul and acoustic rhythms have been written in detail, yet you find the songwriters soul bearing all in the tracks. It is something he has worked on for a while, and no compromises have been made. Others might just tell stories, he’s telling Delta Tales.
Listen to his well-rounded album here:
Check out our playlists here!
Discovered via http://musosoup.comPromotional Disclaimer: The content in this post has been sponsored by the artist, label, or PR representative to help promote their work.Promotional Disclaimer: The content in this post has been sponsored by the artist, label, or PR representative to help promote their work.
Self professed metalhead, moderately well read. If the music has soul, it's whole to me. The fact that my bio could have ended on a rhyme and doesn't should tell you a lot about my personality.