Welcome to Boombox Blitz, an artist spotlight series showcasing overlooked singers, songwriters and musicians who are quietly taking over the world.
The roots of gospel and soul can be traced back to the bloodshed African Americans sacrificed on scorching and wearisome southern plantations, as a way of channelling their sorrow and unsinkable resilience from the machinations of the white devil. Country music often worked in tandem with these varied blues styles, and such working men and musicians as Rufus “Tee Tot” Payne, Deford Bailey, Huddy Ledbetter and countless others were influential in laying the groundwork for the sound and scope of early commercial music. Ryan Kinder, who hails from Alabama, draws upon these frayed strands of American heritage for an expressive reworking of his song “Still Believe in Crazy Love” as part of his Deconstructed Live Sessions. The performance stands in jarring (but refreshing) contrast to the proper recording, a far more polished and less-nuanced set-up with pop counterpoints heavily guiding the arrangement.
“I’ve known drinking for the wrong reasons / Ain’t ashamed to cry,” he casts out, sharpening the lyrics underneath his lonesome, subdued guitar playing. Vocalists Stephcynie Curry and Kristen Rogers dig their heels into the song’s rich suffering to unearth swirling warmth and contentment on magnetic background harmony. “But I also know my faith and that in us there is strength / So I tell myself, there’s no giving up / Long as I got a heart inside, until the day I die…” When the guitar fades away to reveal the chilling a cappella stanza, the listener is left with the most basic of human endeavor: experience. We are all connected by the blood pumping in our veins, the air filling our lungs and the bones sinking us in the dirt.
Photo Credit: John Shearer