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ARTIST OF THE MONTH: Red Letter Merchant_____________________________RSS
Album Review "Leave it All Behind"
By Chris Brach
Central Illinois is hardly the first place you would think to look for a decent rock band. In fact, it’s pretty much on the border of entering the deadlands of banjos and country music, but the five guys from Red Letter Merchant are all rock, and our February Artist of the Month. Their 2009 full-length debut “Leave it All Behind” is more than just a title, it is a state of mind for the band. Having left behind their past tribulations, RLM is poised and ready to take their hard rock sound from coast to coast.
Behind RLM's hard driving rock is Ryan Louis (Vocals, Piano), Jarad Mitchell (Guitar, Piano), Scott Neuweg (Drums), Jason Ritter (Bass), and Camron Yates (Guitar). With a sound that is reminiscent of Shinedown, Staind, and several other mainstream hard rock acts, this debut release is a phenomenal listen from beginning to end.
Often times in emerging rock music you will find a guitar player that can play over everyone's head, or a singer that just doesn't fit the bill. Not the case with RLM, they have a cohesiveness that shows through on every track. “Leave it All Behind” starts out with a very confident sound on the first track “Every Life Apart” which continues on with “Words are Weapons”. RLM’s sound is well rounded and very polished, everyone in the band is equally pulling their weight on every song. The vocals, guitars, and drum work are remarkably clean and each band members contibution compliments the others extremely well. The backup vocals on “Words are Weapons” is just one example of how good the chemistry amongst the band is, and it continues to show itself throughout the entire album.
The song that I couldn’t leave behind was “Simple Vision”. Louis’ vocals and Neuweg’s drums stand out on this track about making the final break from a relationship you aren’t supposed to be in anyway. Louis delivers the lyric “You said you want me to be someone you already knew, Keep moving on and get out of my life” very directly and with a vibe of realizing that he is making the right choice by bailing. His voice is powerful, versatile, and clean throughout the album, but particularly stood out on "Simple Vision". Don't miss this track on Rocksposure Radio!
The band turns the intensity up a notch on “Numb”, “Burning Alive”, and “As I Feel” supported with a very heavy bass line from Ritter on all three tracks. The latter two are both fast-paced songs with some excellent guitar work by both Yates and Mitchell, including a great solo halfway through “As I Feel”. Neuweg’s drums are remarkable throughout the entire album, but incredible on “As I Feel” where he takes advantage of the increased pace to show off some of his own speed.
For 2010 Red Letter Merchant is ready to hit the road and bring their hard rock sound to a city near you. Be sure to check the Gig Calendar for details on their upcoming tour including their next show at the Harrah's Voodoo Lounge in St Louis on February 26th, because this is a show you won’t want to miss. In the meantime, head over to Rocksposure Radio and treat yourself to some Central Illinois hard rock. If you like what you hear, pick up a copy of the album on the band's website or on iTunes. After one listen there is no way you won’t be able to “Leave it All Behind”.
As the Webmaster and Founder of Rocksposure.com, Chris Brach is always looking for new music from up and coming rock bands. You never know, they could be our next Artist of the Month! If there is something you think he should give a listen to, email him at GetRocked@Rocksposure.com
Click here to read more about Red Letter Merchant and listen to a few tracks off of "Leave it All Behind"