Artist Spotlight – Run With It

Run With It is a ridiculously talented three-person indie band from Kansas City, Missouri that’s quickly become one of my favorites.  I love this band!  Their dynamic style – which incorporates rock, pop, soul, R&B and funk – is so rich and varied that they’re impossible to categorize into any one genre.  They seem to move effortlessly from one genre to another, sometimes within a single song.

Band members include Miguel Caraballo (lead guitar/vocals), Clint Velazquez (bass guitar) and Daniel Cole (drums). Their music is characterized by upbeat, soulful melodies, nimble guitar riffs and muscular drums, although a few songs are decidedly more low-key. Caraballo’s ardent vocals are somewhat reminiscent of Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz.

Run With It started out as a highly-competent cover band, but eventually began writing their own music and lyrics. On the band’s website http://www.runwithitband.com/ Caraballo states “We believe art can change the world, and we strive to create a memorable experience for our fans.” I have not had the pleasure of seeing them perform live, but from what I’ve read, their on-stage performances are very high-energy, with lots of engagement with their audiences.

Their album The Weekend, which is currently available on itunes , Spotify and Soundcloud, features 11 incredible tracks. I love them all, but here are a few of my favorites that really showcase the band’s amazing range:

The title track and first single “The Weekend” has a 70’s classic rock vibe, the kind of song Bob Seger might have recorded back in the day. This darkly moving track was inspired by an incident involving a friend of Caraballo’s who had a “hell of a weekend” due to recurring problems from a troubled relationship.

“Got Some Time For Me” opens with a rousing synth melody, then explodes into a driving beat with strong percussion, great guitar licks and Caraballo’s emphatic vocals. The band gets funky with “What Would I Do,” an upbeat track with scratchy guitar riffs that remind me of the legendary Nile Rodgers. Things are slowed down for the soulful “Baby I Was Wrong,” which features Caraballo’s pleading vocals, accompanied by some really fine piano and guitar.

I like this entertaining cover of twenty one pilots’ “Stressed Out.”

Show some support for Run With It by following on Twitter and Facebook.

Top 10 Songs for February 28-March 5, 2016

1. MOUNTAIN AT MY GATES – Foals
2. PRETTY PIMPIN – Kurt Vile
3. TRIP SWITCH – Nothing But Thieves
4. ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME – Coldplay
5. STRESSED OUT – twenty øne piløts (22nd wk top 5)
6. MESS AROUND – Cage the Elephant
7. WHEN WE WERE YOUNG – Adele
8. RIDE – twenty øne piløts
9. SMOOTH SAILIN’ – Leon Bridges
10. SPIRITS – The Strumbellas

So Long Storyland

So Long Storyland is a unique New Orleans band consisting of songwriter/musician Andrew “Rathbone” DeBuys and the amazingly talented young singer Sophia Preston. The band’s name was inspired by the whimsical Storyland children’s attraction at New Orleans’ City Park, and their music style is a pleasing fusion of folk, jazz and pop, which makes complete sense given their hometown.

So Long Storyland pic

DeBuys grew up in the Crescent City’s Lakeview district, adjacent to the 17th Street Canal. He was away at college when Hurrican Katrina hit in 2005, but his family home was destroyed. Memories of that loss inspired him to write several compelling songs that appear on their self-titled first album.

After graduating from the University of Mississippi with degrees in English and Music, DeBuys returned to New Orleans and played with a few bands, including a popular local group, Flow Tribe. He later began teaching music at Sacred Heart School, where he met Preston, a fifth grade student who took his music class only because it was required.

As DeBuys stated in an interview with Bruce Boudreaux for his article on the New Orleans Times-Picayune website Nola.com, “I have always written songs, and I was always looking for the right singer to collaborate with. I’ve collaborated with many singers over the years, but Sophia has the special kind of voice that I had been looking for. Suddenly she became the voice of all these ideas that I had. Sophia’s voice is very angelic, very ethereal, it’s just got a very compelling quality to it. Right away when I first heard her sing, I realized it wasn’t a typical child’s voice that you hear in choir or something. She just stood out to me and I thought it would be interesting to see what she could do with the right kind of material. I think Sophia is heads and shoulders above any other artists her age, and she has only gotten better since we have been recording.”

With a level of maturity that seems far beyond her current age of 15, Sophia remains grounded and humble about their success.  She’s quite confident and composed while performing before large crowds, and her vocals are soft and gentle, yet self-assured.

One of my favorites of their songs is “Rathbone’s Nightmare,” a hauntingly beautiful track with lyrics reassuring a child to not be afraid of his nightmares nor take them seriously.  The song features gorgeous strings, bells, violin and percussion, Preston’s lovely vocals and DeBuys’ soaring background chorus.

Another good song is “Kingdoms and Columns,” about the impermanence of life and that all things eventually come to an end, set to an upbeat folksy melody.

Here’s a video of a live performance at the Family Gras festival in 2015.

Listen to more of their music at https://www.reverbnation.com/solongstoryland/songs
or https://soundcloud.com/solongstoryland, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Top 10 Songs for February 21-27

1. MOUNTAIN AT MY GATES – Foals
2. PRETTY PIMPIN – Kurt Vile
3. TRIP SWITCH – Nothing But Thieves
4. ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME – Coldplay
5. STRESSED OUT – twenty øne piløts (21st wk top 5)
6. MESS AROUND – Cage the Elephant
7. WHEN WE WERE YOUNG – Adele
8. CAKE BY THE OCEAN – DNCE
9. FIRE AND THE FLOOD – Vance Joy
10. MAGNETS – Disclosure featuring Lorde

Top 10 Songs for February 14-20

1. ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME – Coldplay
2. MOUNTAIN AT MY GATES – Foals
3. TRIP SWITCH – Nothing But Thieves
4. STRESSED OUT – twenty one pilots
5. PRETTY PIMPIN – Kurt Vile
6. MESS AROUND – Cage the Elephant
7. FIRE AND THE FLOOD – Vance Joy
8. THANK GOD FOR GIRLS – Weezer
9. WHEN WE WERE YOUNG – Adele
10. CAKE BY THE OCEAN – DNCE

Top 10 Songs for February 7-13

1. ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME – Coldplay
2. MOUNTAIN AT MY GATES – Foals
3. STRESSED OUT – twenty one pilots
4. TRIP SWITCH – Nothing But Thieves
5. MESS AROUND – Cage the Elephant
6. PRETTY PIMPIN – Kurt Vile
7. SORRY – Justin Bieber
8. THANK GOD FOR GIRLS – Weezer
9. FIRE AND THE FLOOD – Vance Joy
10. NIGHTLIGHT – Silversun Pickups