Mean Street Riders: Southern Rock Done RightDowlin Mayfield :Guitars/Vocals
Kevin Lacour: Drums/Vocals
Gregg Torres: Keyboards/Vocals
Eric Lampley: Bass/Vocals
Shannon Wallace: Guitars/Volcals
Mean Street Riders New Album: “HIGH ON THE HOG” is due to be released June of 2011.
If you’ve spent any time on social media sites such as FaceBook and Twitter, you’ve no doubt seen something about Mean Street Riders. I’ve seen them on FaceBook for about a year, but I’d never heard their music, nor had I met anyone who had. All that changed when I announced I was going to be in Daytona Beach, Florida for Bike Week.
Mean Street Mary (their publicist) contacted me as I was leaving Daytona Beach for my home in Tennessee. She wanted to meet up. Alas, my bike was packed for the home stretch and I couldn’t leave it alone in a parking lot. Mary kept in contact with me, texting me regarding an offer I couldn’t refuse. She wanted to forward to me an advance copy of the debut album from the Mean Street Riders. She was true to her word and in short order, I soon had a copy of their new album “HIGH ON THE HOG” in my hot little hands.
I plugged the CD into my laptop with my earphones snuggled on my head. I decided to listen to the album before reading anything regarding their background from the press kit. I do this so I won’t have any expectations about the group other than to be entertained by fresh sounds and lyrics.
As each new track was laid bare to my listening ears, I found my interest in this band growing. I realized their music reminded me of a band from my youth: “Pure Prairie League”, but the musical comparisons didn’t end there. I also heard influences from Jackson Browne, Allman Brothers Band, ZZ Top and Shooter Jennings.
I’m not sure if all the instruments I heard on the album is played by the boys in the band, or if they are generated by computerized gadgets, right now I don’t think it matters. If the strings (mandolins and violins) sound like they are generated from the real thing, then what’s more to say?
Every song on this album holds feelings, memories and sounds we as bikers will relate to. As I listen to “Living High on the Hog”, I am transported to the days we could hear the Allman Brothers Band on the radio. The lead guitar, the driving beat of the drummer and the rhythm section of the band all kept my body moving: recalling how my motorcycle allows me feel when I ride her!
“I’ve Had a Good Ride” is a track on the album that really speaks to me. The first strains of guitar remind me of Chris Isaak. Those strains soon fade away and are replaced by banjo picking. Now I’m listening to the sounds of Pure Prairie League, except it’s not. It’s a unique sound, a blending of Chris and the League. It’s a song of pure riding joy, of what’s in the wind. It translates into words all the wonders of motorcycling. Yes boys and girls “I’ve Had a Good Ride”.
The track, “Rollin’ On” opens with the ghostly sounds of Native American chanting. It speaks of the “dark side” of motorcycling. Yes, we’ve all been there, or at least we have all experienced that “OH SHIT” moment, where our hearts race and our minds run ahead of our bodies: looking for a way out of danger. It’s a beautiful song about a dark time we all face when we ride. The vocals are smooth and pleasant, “We’re gonna ride like that wind through the pain” wow, strong and evocative phrasing. Combine this with the ghost chanting and your left with quite a haunting feeling of calm and peace. I like how the music quiets the “oh shit” moment. Perhaps that’s what it’s like. I’d like to think so.
Then there is “Long Road of Love”. This song should be my theme song. “Appalachian back roads: I love the freedom I call my own.” Mandolins strumming, banjos picking, hard rocking lead guitars, the beautiful vocals mixed so smoothly: I just want to sit on my porch and sip some fine Tennessee whiskey as I listen to the music. This song is me. The words “I love the South Land, I love my home…” bring huge wells of pride swelling up inside me. These boys have taken all the words, all the feelings inside me and found a way to bring them to everyone else all around me; they’ve said it better than I ever could.
MEAN STREET RIDERS in their debut album have created music that will haunt your soul. The boys have taken the feeling of riding and translated it to harmonies, strung chords, picked strings and driving compression. It won’t touch everyone. Nothing touches all people the same way, but for most riders, you will find a connection with one or more of the songs on “HIGH ON THE HOG”.
I enjoy the album and I will be looking for them at the biker venues along my travels. I want to hear more. Main Street Riders understand the heart of the biker’s soul.
If you’d like to listen to excerpts of Mean Street Riders new album “HIGH ON THE HOG” check out their web site at: http://meanstreetriders.com/index.html