When one typically thinks, “Nashville sound”, psychedelic funk-rock probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But with bands like Down Boy on the rise, folks may think twice about just what Music City is all about.
Composed of members Nathan Aronowitz (vocals, guitar, keys), Noah Miller (drums), and Grayson Schweers (bass), Down Boy brings a fresh and vivid sound to the local scene, which of course does have an onslaught of country singer-songwriter types. But this band is also one of many trying to show that Nashville runs the gamut of musical genres.
After meeting during their freshman orientation at Belmont University, Aronowitz and Miller began to jam and write together, eventually piecing together the Down Boy vision. Intricate only scrapes the surface of what the group’s music is; complex and dynamic, Down Boy creates a standout sound that delightfully intrigues with the first listen.
The trio takes influence from almost every genre: from classic rock, to R&B, to funk, and to top it all off, they implement their unique swirling, trippy, acid-induced imagery. Following their previous album, Let Go…, the band wanted to take a more organic approach when recording their next project, to better capture the essence of the band. Since 2014, Down Boy has put out two albums and several singles and EPs.
And today, June 26th, the boys are at it again, as these productive songwriters released their third full-length album.
The Prodigal Sun, put simply, is a fun listen. Elements of classic rock blend perfectly with the band’s psychedelic funk style, resulting in timeless and bubbling songs. The experience of the album is similar to what I felt the first time I heard a Jimi Hendrix song; the sheer level of electric talent displayed in the writing and performance of this album left me speechless. Aronowitz, Miller and Schweers come together to make music that sounds familiar and comforting, but brings a new life to these riffs and sounds with Aronowitz’s otherworldly vocals.
“I’ll Never See” and “Waiting On My Train” are, in my opinion, the heavy hitters of the album; the bass-driven riffs make for bluesy-rock songs, with the funk guitar tying it all together. A bit lighter, “Traction”, and “Peace Ain’t For Free” serve as great contrast pieces, highlighting Aronowitz’s vocals and allowing ample time for soloing and improv. “Send Me On”, “Alright”, and “Shine”, fall somewhere in between, making the album feel complete, with well thought out ebbs and flows.
For “Traction”, the band created and released a fun music video, which was released a week before the album. Just as trippy and psychedelic as you’d expect, the vintage-inspired video is a green-screened masterpiece with splashes of color painted across a variety of grey backdrops. The band’s energy, even through the screen, is palpable, making this video well worth the watch.
After listening to The Prodigal Sun, there’s no doubt you’ll want to see the electric energy of this group live- and luckily, Down Boy is getting back in venues around Tennessee and hopefully beyond.
In June they’ll be in Clarksville at the Revel House Pub and Eatery, followed by a late July gig opening for the Red Not Chili Peppers in Nashville. The band has a lot of rightfully earned hype around their live performances, so mark your calendars; this young band is not one to miss.