“Matrimony“, an appropriately named new band, is lead by husband and wife James and Ashlee Brown. James started in Belfast, Ireland and Ashlee in Charlotte, NC. Now they have joined their lives in marriage and a band with a name meaning the same. They hold to young love with a mission to “make songs that actually matter” and “a common desire to make good honest music”. Finally, we’re starting to see music that weighs in with more than formulated club ready beats and themes about California Gurls, “featuring some popular hip-hop producer of the decade”!
Being that the lead singer, James is from Ireland you’ll feel a familiarity in this album to Mumford and Sons, who are from Ireland as well. If you like Mumford, you’ll like Matrimony. (read my review of Mumford and Sons HERE)
“The Storm & The Eye” (listen and buy here) is an alt country album documenting the beginning of a new family. It’s the journey of two people joining their futures together while trying to make peace with their pasts. The lyrics are poetic confessions of love and admittance of fears. James and Ashlee’s voices blend flawlessly together throughout the record. In the background you’ll hear beautifully arranged vocal parts, shading the music with multiple layers of emotion. Ashlee sings with a resolute and convincing voice. Even in the first track “Last Love”, her voice is not timid, but strong. And James sings with a pleading and sometimes haunting voice. You will feel what he feels through the tone of his voice. When he sings “One Last Dance”, it growls and builds, leading to one of my favorite lines, “I know the feeling of peace is something to protect”. This is a moment of pure genius.
The production by Joel Khouri at Bright City Studios in Charlotte is transparent, letting each song come through with it’s fullest potential. Matrimony’s “the storm & the eye” is an amazing debut release.
I had the chance to see them live in Asheville, NC and they are the real deal.
The Enemy Lovers are from Asheville NC and want to spread the word about great new music. Though it has become easy to access, it can be hard to find. If you follow us we will try and find it for you, AND WILL MAKE IT FOR YOU TOO!
Check out this live video of Matrimony performing “Flee or Fight”…
Ivan and Alyosha’s new 5 song album entitled “Father’s Be Kind” feels important. (click here to listen) It’s big and commanding of attention, with momentous rhythms and fluid vocal melodies and harmonies. As understated as it is at times, it rolls in a continuous motion upward. I can’t place what this album sounds like, but the feeling from the start is open, like a gate held wide to let you in.
The vibrant first song and title track “Father’s Be Kind” is the soundtrack for the final pages of a great story. ”I Was Born To Love Her” is the love song of the album. Big crashes and breakdowns with waves of background vocals give it the authentic feeling of epic true love.”Everything is Burning” is beautifully moving at each turn, from verse, to chorus, to the whistle solo near the end. Then they hit you with “Living For Someone”! It builds on everything before and takes it higher, with great oh-oh-oh’s and a perfect bass line. The last song is old school gospel and Dylan, with the same songwriting wisdom.
“Father’s Be Kind” comes off with ease, with no sign of trying too hard or forcing an imitation of something else popular. Half of this album’s worth to the world of music is in it’s originality, and the other half in how easy it is on the ears. Ivan and Alyosha have made something unique and incomparable.
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January 28, 2011 will be our 3rd “Guest List Show”. Oh, the places we’ve been! (Click Here to Read “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Suess – it’s inspiring!) There’s a lot that happens between each guest list show. Looking back through the pictures (photo gallery below), I’m laughing at how much has changed and how much has stayed exactly the same; some crazy memories. (I still can’t believe I made it through the rafters and back down to the stage without getting tangled up in the lights and cords.) It’s like the guest list show is a lap around another year. It’s the part of the race when you’re rounding the track to where the bleachers are full and the crowd is going crazy. But then there are parts of the race where there isn’t a huge crowd and it feels a bit harder, but at the end and/or beginning of every lap you come back around to that cheering crowd. They’re the one’s who want you to win. That’s the way I feel about our Guest List Show. And no matter how hard or easy the rest of the year is, we get this special show where we get to hear the crowd! Feel the crowd!!
We didn’t originally plan to make this a yearly show, we were just beginning in 2009 and didn’t have “fans” yet. We invited all our friends and family and now realize that they are the most loyal fans we could ask for. Over the past 2 years, after all the $5 shows around Asheville, and all the shirts and cd’s we’ve sold, we are humbled that they still keep coming and supporting us. It was an amazing experience at that first show to be there with so many people from our past and present. A perfect starting line for The Enemy Lovers. There was so much energy we knew we had to do it again.
This is our favorite show of the year. We love having it at the Grey Eagle because we get to be so close to the crowd. It’s not the huge stage and light show rock star scene, just a simple musical interaction with people. While looking through some old set-lists, Steven and I stumbled across the one from the first guest list show. It only had about 11-12 songs, 3 of which Steven and I played on acoustics without the band. We can’t believe it was such a short list. Then in 2010, the set-list had grown to about 17-18 songs. This year there are about 23 songs on the list! We want to say thanks to all those that make this show special.
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Here are some pics from the Guest List Show in 2009 and 2010.
We are playing at the beer festival in Beech Mountain this weekend and the Guest List show is right around the corner. After playing two to three months of Thursday’s at Stella’s it will be nice to play a more set show. With the Thursday nights we tried to take a different approach than “normal” shows. We were hoping people could experience more the creative process of a band instead of the final product. It was a great and not so great idea.
Listening back to some of the research recordings, there were times when it was so amazing. When you could feel the mood and the creativity flowing in a direction that somehow we all were following together, although it was never rehearsed. Something that usually only the band feels or is a part of in their practices. Of course like anything that has it’s up and amazing time we had our equally down and “I can’t believe we are letting people hear this” time. To be honest there were probably only a few people who could hear the things I am talking about but still it was a bit embarrassing. In what we were trying for that is something you have to risk. Everything has it’s amazing as well as it’s rock bottoms. They are both equal learning and changing experiences. I say it was a great and not so great idea only because it is a bit out of the norm. Usually in their hometown a band has to think about over saturation. Playing to many shows and burning out their fans. Honestly I don’t think we did this but it was something we thought about at first. Not to mention giving people reasons to not come out and experience it with us because of the mindset, “I will just go next week.” In the end we just threw our hands up and said “To hell with it, we’re doing it.” When all else fails do something crazy, right?! After taking a break from Thursday nights in preparation of our Guest List Show, we have had time to look back at all the Thursday nights and honestly I think it was exactly what we needed to do. Tim and I went through more emotions, feelings, and questions through the course of those months than in the two previous years. We learned, shouted, laughed, thought about quitting, felt like rock stars, argued, and many other things. But in the end we became more aware of who we are as artists, even more confident in the choices we had to make. Probably one of the best ways to say what Thursday nights were was in one of Seth Godin’s blogs, Why We Prefer Live. That is exactly what it is for us. Taking the big leap and seeing where it takes us. Walking the tightrope of performance and creativity to get something new or experience what we have never experienced before. It’s messy and wonderful all at the same time.
Our Guest List show is on the 28th of January at The Grey Eagle. It will be an all ages show for all of our under age fans and the cover is $10. See you there!
So this Thursday is December 30, the night before New Years Eve! We’re bringing back out the drums for a special high energy show. It’s our thursday “New Years Special” at Stella’s. It starts at 9pm and it’s free. There will be loud music, lots of energy and drinks to toast! A New Years Eve’s EVE (the night before news years eve) Bash to celebrate the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one.
We’d like to toast the new year with these lyrics from “Be What You Need” (one of our new songs) – “Make your bet, between your heart and head. Youʼve got to be brave these days, youʼve got to be strong know this. Hearts always win, Hearts always win. Even after giving in, your heart always wins. Itʼs been so long, itʼs been so dark. Itʼs been so wrong, itʼs been so hard. Whatʼs done is done is done is done, youʼve got to give it up Youʼve got to give it up Youʼve got to give it up Youʼve got to give it up Youʼve got to give it up YOU’VE GOT TO GIVE IT UP!!!!”
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