Sound of Lexington

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and lookie’ what’s finally posted here!….the long-awaited article written by William Ellis!  Finally posted by…the blog poster!  apologies…but no further delays.  please enjoy the article below… (Pictured above from left to right:  Zac Shoopman of MoJo Thunder recorded the audio, Matthew Pettigrew, Jacob Smith, Jeff Allen, Carolyn Burnette, Hunter Wingate, Kevin Case, Spencer Poulter and up front,
William Ellis

Article written by:
William Ellis

Idylwild is a collection of red blooded American college boys (music students) who met up at Eastern Kentucky University and thus cut their teeth (college band-wise – surely not band-wise) playing the local circuit of college hubs in and about Richmond, Kentucky as well as around Lexington and the immediate surrounding areas. Named after the street on which they practice in Richmond, Kentucky (not Idylwild, California), the five of them are quite musically versatile, with, as they say, musical “influences from Bruno Mars to Mozart.”

My first impression of them was here are five well behaved, kids, seemingly a bit green but no doubt experienced in the inevitable praise and even full-out admiration which comes with being five local musicians (males, local) who, not only play (and thus sound) well together; not only more-than-adequately-cover a panoply of tunes which came before them; but who have concentrated their individual skills towards a compilation of original songs which display a range of versatility and prior influences that is quite impressive. Whereas the Stones had Robert Johnson and the history of American blues to embellish upon (and to sometimes simply arrange in their own manner and within their very own mannerisms); Idylwild has that history of rock and roll from the 60’s through the present – Led Zepplin, the Stones no doubt, Dylan, Aerosmith, ZZ Top, as well as the latter Talking Heads, Fastball, REM, Maroon 5, and (to bridge the gap) Pink Floyd to emulate and improve on. As they respond under the category of “Artists We Also Like” in the “About” section of their Facebook page: “Too many to name here.” By the same token, under “Genre,” they put: “Nothing is off limits.” And nothing is off limits for them. As they say, the sky is the limit for this young but musically experienced fabulous five who routinely musically encode an emphatic “Yes” to Jimi Hendrix’s famous question within their musical emulations and revelations.
They can be found on ReverbNation, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – as one would expect of any modern quintet of able (or not yet able) troubadours. Idylewild is quiet the precocious, able kind. Though, due to college, they have not yet done much touring. Upon graduation, that, I would expect, is about to change in a major way. Their first album – simply entitled “Idylwild” – is a more than competent musical excursion which is more than often mindful of bands of the last 20 years. (Download the album for $6.93 on itunes.) The first song, “Trouble,” a capricious and musically meandering ditty about diffidence within a relationship, is quite auspiciously mindful of the late 90’s band, Fastball. Their second tract, “All I’ve Got” is a snazzy offering with a quality rhythmic opening which leaves one hungering for more. In my opinion the third song, “Time,” contains a touch of the pathos found in Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon album even as the song lingers a bit (like Floyd’s “Us and Them”) in lounge-like atmospherics. The fourth and title song of the album, “Faces,” within the momentous drama of its speedy hook (“But . . . that’s just how it goes / When you don’t have control . . .”) is, through its musical manner, quite mindful (once again) of the alternative rock band Fastball – specially of Fastball’s 1998 hit “The Way,” even as Idylwild’s “Faces” plies its own particular lyrics about a woman losing her way to “friends” she doesn’t “know” and “the faces that they show.” “Helluva Life,” the fifth song, as it leads towards a cathartic elevation of romantic resolve, is quite relatable. The sixth song, “Thank You” rocks but, at the length of one minute, is a bit too brief to satisfy the mouth-watering, rock-hungering palette in us all. Yet “Thank You,” brilliantly hints – or rather flashes – at a song which . . . well . . . rocks. “Better Days,” the last song on Idylwild’s album, is a mellow tune about “long” roads, “broken” hearts, and “looking forward to better days.” It’s the kind of reflective, emoted dwelling that one would expect to find at the end of a James Taylor album.

Yet do not get the impression that Idylwild’s definite forte is their originally written songs – though those in themselves – especially for a quintet this young – is beyond impressive. I say this because, despite their ardent and wildly dimensional talent for originally produced material, Idylwild is a kick ass cover band. They do a right-on version of ZZ Top’s “La Grange.” They cover Led Zepplin’s “Immigrant Song,” Darius Rucker’s version of Dylan’s “Wagonwheel,” Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way,” and they do a brilliant take on Maroon 5’s “Wake Up Call,” which sounds like David Byrne and the Talking Heads in their primes.

They cover the Beatles, Chuck Berry, and Bruno Mars – need I go on? All in all, we at The Sound of Lexington enjoyed and were dignified by the grace and the innocent aplomb of these five mature young men. They are, one quickly senses, beyond their young years in maturity – they are all in their early twenties. That grace and maturity, we hope, will serve them well when they set out even further to claim what is already there for them. For music, definitely, is them, and is of them. We certainly wish Idylwild, that is, Kevin Case {guitar / vocals}; Jacob Smith {guitar / vocals}; Spencer Poulter {drums / vocals}; Hunter Wingate {bass / vocals}; and Matthew Pettigrew {piano, vocals}) all that is due them and more!




article written by William Ellis.   pictures taken by any and all:  Carolyn Burnette, Leo of Skunk Photography and Harold Arvin.  Please scroll down below to see more pics and links to the videos!  Enjoy the videos on our Barefoot KY TV including 2 of their songs, a comedy skit and interview with Comedian Jeff Allen!

Idylwild on Barefoot KY TV – October 19, 2017



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