There's a video going around lately, created by Nashville songwriter Greg Todd, in which six current hit county music songs are all played simultaneously. If you watch the video, what you quickly realize is how shockingly and painfully similar each of the songs are.
One could easily argue the case that the majority of current popular music is equally formulaic, regardless of genre, and that given most of the songs you might find in today's "Top 40," it is the producer, not the artist, who is the driving force behind the industry. Look at the work of Max Martin or Calvin Harris and you'll see title after title performed by various, insipid Johnny Bravos who worked the assembly line, played the game and achieved their fifteen minutes.
Knowing this makes me want to scream "Thank goodness!" that there are still true musical craftspeople out there like Mark Utley.
Every once in a while, you find a group that sounds less like a band and more like a few good friends getting together to have a good time. Such is the case with Mike Fair (guitar), Dave Killen (drums), Dave Purcell (guitar, vocals) and Sean Rhiney (bass) who collectively call themselves Pike 27.
The band's name is an obvious reference to Alexandria Pike - Northern KY's Route 27 - that winds through Cold Spring and Ft. Thomas...and finally exhausts itself somewhere outside Paris, KY. However, Pike 27's true roots can be found about 500 miles south of there in Athens, GA -- 583 miles to be precise, if you detour through Nashville, as this band has certainly done.
44 is a very difficult number to deal with. I know because I'm there.
At 44 you're closer to 50 than you are to 30 and yet you still feel like 30 is old. Sure, you may have the kind of job where you don't have to mop up before you go home; but you also can't party until 3 am because you have to get up at 7 to get the kids on the school bus. So what do you do when you find yourself saying, 'Who am I - and how did I get here?'
If you're Mike Tittel, the creative force behind the band New Sincerity Works, you sit down and write a painfully honest album that feels like a musical version of therapy and you call it 44.
Ohio Knife always gives you more than you expect, yet you still want seconds. If there is a real-life personification of the "this one goes to eleven" mentality, you can find it in this Cincinnati band made up of Scotty Wood [bass], Andrew Higley [keyboards], Joe Suer [drums] and Jason Snell [guitar, vocals].
Everything about Ohio Knife is big, bold, loud and full of serious in-your-face attitude. The same can be said for everything about their latest release Our Neighborhood.