During a conversation with a friend whose opinion on music I respect very much, it was mentioned that originality in music was dead. At first, I was taken aback by that and wanted to dissent. I have always imagined originality at the heart of any artist. Having labored over the idea for some time, though, I understand what my friend was saying. Nothing is original. Everything is rooted in the past. Perceived innovation is nothing but regurgitation and reinterpretation of bygone sounds.
And, now, I am good with that, namely because so many of the bands that I dig, listen to regularly, and end up featured here on Trail Mix are so very good at pulling inspiration from the past. It only stands to reason that bands making music now are absolutely drawing from the bands they grew up listening to. Those styles and sounds most certainly find their way into the music being created. Thus, the past lives on in the sounds of the new.
For evidence, take a listen to country aces like J.P. Harris & The Tough Choices or Cale Tyson, both of whom call to mind the golden era of country music, or St. Paul & The Broken Bones, whose take on vintage soul is resonating with listeners around the country. Plenty of great bands are bringing back to life great sounds from the past and giving honor to the artists who came before while introducing those sounds to a whole generation of new listeners.
Add to that list Fly Golden Eagle, a Nashville quartet whose combination of glam rock and psychedelia seems ripped from the soundtrack of a Quentin Tarantino film. Fly Golden Eagle – Ben Trimble on guitar, Mitch Jones on keys, Matt Shaw on bass, and Richard Harper on drums – represent best the not-so-country-anymore sounds emanating out of Nashville these days. The players have been featured on records from Benjamin Booker and Hurray For The Riff Raff and made up part of Thunderbitch, the side project of Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard.
Fly Golden Eagle recently released Quartz, a 26 song epic record that, remarkably, draws inspiration from The Holy Mountain, a film released in 1973 that was directly tied to John Lennon and George Harrison for financial backing. Trimble found himself crafting songs that mirrored the movie during the songwriting for Quartz and ended up with a record that could, indeed, run in tandem with the film.
Recorded in a former college in Texas, Quartz – or the shorter twelve track Quartz Bijou – is a powerful collection of songs. The songs clamor with the Detroit rock scene, where Trimble grew up, and the brash bravado of The Doors and The Who. At the same time, there are hints of gospel from the Deep South and undertones of punk rock peaking through.
Highlight tracks from Quartz Bijou include “Stepping Stone,” with its soaring organ, “You Look Good To Me” and “Horse’s Mouth,” both of which glisten with glam rock guitar effects, and the album closer, “Death Myth,” an absolute instrumental rocker. Also, be sure to check out “Medicine Hat,” another favorite track, on this month’s Trail Mix.
For more information on Fly Golden Eagle, when the band might be hitting a stage near you, or to find out how you can grab a copy of Quartz, surf over to www.flygoldeneagle.net.