© Photo courtesy of Brian Whelan
Source: Representation for Brian Whelan | 6/1/16
Sugarland boldly throws WHELAN’s hat into a ring crowded with the likes of genre-giants John Fullbright, Sturgill Simpson, Mike Stinson, and Jason Isbell. Co-Produced by fellow Yoakam-ite and current drummer Mitch Marine, alongside Lee Pardini (Bass, Keys, Vocals), WHELAN, a music school graduate from USC, plays almost anything with keys or strings -- steel guitar, accordion, piano. On Sugarland, his skills are put to the test as he employs a series of various musical instruments on these crisp, streamlined, mostly mid-tempo, pop rock tunes. This is the WHELAN style of music that goes straight to the heart recalling the heyday of great radio. His jangling, straight-ahead tunes like “Sugarland”, “Talk To Me” and “We Got It All,” clearly pronounce that WHELAN’s grown as a songwriter, arranger, and vocalist.
On the brooding track, “Sucker Punch”, he warns, “I’ve got a sick sense of humor and I’m sure you know / I’m a sucker puncher when I get this low.” The fatalistic “bombs away, bombs away” chorus is pure California-country rock. On “The Only Thing,” Whelan channels a cool, Buddy Holly-fronting-The-Clash urgency in this radio-friendly rocker. The track’s narrator laments how he “tried to run with a different crowd but I just kept falling down / A change of clothes and a new routine / Wound up right right back here at the beginning” It’s a perfect example of a rocker love song.
After graduating from USC, Whelan began a long journey as a sideman accompanying such artists as Eugene Edwards, Scot Bruce, The Broken West, Apex Manor, Randy Weeks, Mike Stinson, Tony Gilkyson, KISS, Chuck Berry, Jim Lauderdale and most recently, Yoakam. Then in 2012, Whelan released his debut solo album, “Decider,” which garnered much critical acclaim and established Whelan as ‘one to watch’ by industry insiders.
Sugarland will go a long way in continuing to spread the word about Whelan's unique style and his ever rising importance on both the L.A. and national scenes. The world will soon know that Whelan and Sugarland are the real deal.
Whelan's live show is equally as promising, confirmed by this recent No Depression review of Whelan’s opening slot, for Yoakam, this past December: “Whelan lit some fires of his own, utilizing lessons from his former boss mixed with those from a stint playing behind Chuck Berry, layered under a vocal style that recalls at times a young Roy Orbison, in the context of songs seemingly imagined by an iPhone-era Buddy Holly.” U.S. Tour dates to be announced shortly.
Upcoming June Tour Dates Include:
June 15 - Under the Volcano - Houston, TXJune 18 - Sons of Hermann Hall - KNON benefit - Dallas, TX June 19 - Guthrie on the Green - Tulsa, OK June 21 - Raven Tower (bar) - Houston, TX
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