The band of brothers known as Blueheels rock hard.
A homegrown blend of rock, country and blues, their latest release “Lessons in Sunday Driving” hits you with a balance of freshness and familiarity that few bands are able to strike. Over the course of a dozen songs, Robby Schiller, Adam Cargin, Justin Bricco, Landon Arkens and Teddy Pedriana flourish whether they crank the energy up high or bring it down low, a strength that makes “Lessons” a fun, engaging listen.
Indeed, these boys are damn good. Based in Madison, Wisconsin, the band’s brand is void of the pretention and fabricated pretty-boy angst that clouds much of commercial rock. Anchored by Schiller’s salty, knowing vocals, the band seems to shine brightest in the quiet, confessional mode of their forefathers. “Desperate,” “Not to Say Goodbye” and “If You Love Her” weave emotive lyrics and mournful guitars into tangible expressions of melancholy, while the dramatic, slow-burning “Trampled Rose” seamlessly blends the hard and soft sides of band’s musical personality. As I said in my piece on soul-singin’ white boys, sometimes soul goes beyond how we conventionally view it, and that sentiment is captured greatly in these songs. It’s not always a matter of a song fitting neatly into the category of soul – the key is that the song comes from the soul, and these most certainly do.
That’s not to say they don’t rock out when they want to. Jams like “Keep Your Mouth Shut,” “Holiday Parade” and the autobiographical “Small Western Town” are plucky grooves that are a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, workouts that are just a plain old good time. Elsewhere, the self-deprecating ode to love-struck bliss “I Tried Not to Love Her” puts their good humor out front and center for what is arguably the most enjoyable track on the album. Such joy is what really makes the album as a whole click, as it is clear that these dudes have a strong, unwavering love of music and the joy it brings both them and their growing fan base.
Bursting with rhythm and energy, “Lessons in Sunday Driving” is sure to win Blueheels the praise and adoration they undoubtedly deserve. These boys should be doing their thing on stages worldwide, and I am happy to say I had the chance to experience them as they continue their journey toward higher heights and the chance to school their fellow rockers with some essential “Lessons.”
To purchase “Lessons in Sunday Driving,” click here.
To learn more about Blueheels, click here.