After a lengthy timeline and one burned down house, garage blues rock duo Cold Beverage, hailing from Louisville, KY, has finally released their debut album to the world.
Guitarist Zeno Jones and drummer “Hollerin” Rodney B. began their musical journey over a decade ago, and now all their hard work is out for the ears of the masses to indulge. Their unique sound is influenced by groups like The White Stripes and Black Diamond Heavies from Chattanooga, TN. They started out shredding at house shows, and once historic venues like Phoenix Hill Tavern and Rudyard Kipling, but soon enough, in 2011, the pair decided to rent a house in Wax, KY, to record a demo album.
The venture was an unfortunate failure due to the usual butting of heads, equipment malfunctions, and a lightning strike burning down the neighbor’s house. Following the experience, they played around for a little longer, and Jones recorded a solo delta-blues project, but by 2013, both had stopped performing.
However, the story doesn’t end there.
They came back together ten years later in 2021, and decided to give the album another shot. They rented the very same cabin in the sprawling metropolis of Wax, KY, yet again, and began construction on their debut album, Hot Wax.
The 9-track project was fully created and produced by Cold Beverage, and performed completely live with little overdubbing. Most of the lyrics were written by Jones, who believes true blues lyrics should be desperate- an energy he creates through allusions and metaphors.
With the production, the duo’s goal was to create an authentic sound almost identical to that of a live show. Throughout the album, this style establishes the feeling that the audience is just listening to a giant jam session. This is enhanced by moments in some of the songs where the lyrics interact with the instrumentals and the players themselves, such as the introduction to the guitar solo in “Steamboat.”
The album opens with the instrumental track “Retro Rockets,” featuring a sneaky, gritty guitar riff and a heavy, blues-rock hook that sets the tone for the project. Some songs such as “Street Sweeper” and “Rio Vista” lean more to the hard rock side, and reflect Rodney B’s 70s and 90s rock influences. They feature more driving backbeats and straight and catchy guitar riffs. Others like “Black Glass Blues” and “Drinking the Stone” dive head-first into a blues style with vocals and guitar taking turns as the feature and a triplet based drum groove. “Hard Times” and “Rio Vista” also showcase the more psychedelic sounds of Cold Beverage through effects-heavy guitar solos and vocals.
The project has been dubbed Hot Wax in homage of that fateful house that burned to ash. However, even after all of the complications, Cold Beverage has produced a thorough debut that successfully shows off their influences and capabilities of live performance. And they have a hell of a story to tell.