By Samuel Stevens
Release Date: October 16, 2020
Genre: Hard Rock, Blues Rock, Rock
Label: Spinefarm Records
Nashville blues rocker Tyler Bryant -along with his bandmates in The Shakedown- are back with their fourth full length album, Pressure. The new album was written and recorded in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and looks to take you away from the craziness in the world for as long as this band of friends can with these thirteen mesmerizing tracks. Frontman Tyler Bryant, guitarist Graham Whitford -the son of Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford- drummer Caleb Crosby, and co-producer Roger Alan Nichols (Larkin Poe, Paramore, The Veronicas) all hunkered themselves down at Tyler Bryant’s home studio in Nashville during the quarantine to write and record the follow up to their critically acclaimed album Truth & Lies, that released in the Summer of 2019.
The lockdown and whole pandemic caused the trio of Bryant, Whitford, and Crosby to record the album at Bryant’s home studio in Nashville with their producer Roger Alan Nichols, and it lead the band to work harder than they ever have before. It lead them to realize they could not just sit and wait for things to come back to normal and they found a way to adapt to the situation and continue forth with putting out another record during these times. They were limited to a home studio and no large budget, so they took a majority of the songs you hear on Pressure from existing material from the Truth & Lies writing cycle, some new songs that were written about the COVID-19 pandemic, and filled the voids with some new material they wrote prior to the pandemic and other situations that occurred this year when prepping to get ready for the original recording plans of what ended up becoming Pressure.
Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown’s new album appropriately opens with the title track, “Pressure.” It’s a hard rock anthem that any previous listener of the band should expect from their creative minds. Although the title track, and a portion of the album, were well written before COVID-19, the tornado that tore through Nashville, or the Black Lives Matter rallies, its about chasing down any sort of passion that will likely have you hitting your head against the wall too many times to count. The following track, “Hitchhiker,” the band dust off their guitar slides to bring the blues-infused rock to the forefront for the first of a few times on their brand new album.
The lead single off Pressure is the wildly infectious, mid-tempo blast titled, “Crazy Days.” Bryant wrote the track to cope with the insanity that is 2020. Bryant’s wife Rebecca Lovell of the rock duo Larkin Poe, lends her vocals to the tune as well. Although the next track on Pressure sounds dark and gloomy, “Holdin’ My Breath” shares a hopeful message of hoping for better days ahead out of the dark times. It’s an appropriate song for the currently situation the world is facing. As the band’s situation started to change during the songs recording process, the lyrics started changing meanings for Bryant and the band. “Holdin’ My Breath” features a guest vocal performance from Charlie Starr of the southern rock band, Blackberry Smoke. On the sixth track, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown slow things down a bit for the somber acoustic number, “Like The Old Me.” Pressure closes out with the lo-fi blues shuffle, “Coastin” with all its imperfections still intact.
They keep saying, “Rock is dead.” That’s far from the honest truth. The thirteen extraordinary tracks that Bryant, Whitford, and Crosby put out on Pressure will stand the test of time, there is no doubt about it. The thirteen tracks are also for any rock fan new or old. The trio’s continued assiduous work ethic and commitment to the art of music over the last eleven years together continues to shine in their creative processes and unique signature sound that has earned Bryant, Whitford, and Crosby many fans, and fans among their peers as well. Over the years, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown have toured and/or played with many legends in the genre such as Chris Cornell, AC/DC, Aerosmith, B.B. King, Jeff Beck, ZZ Top, and Guns N’ Roses. One day soon, this will happen once again. In the mean time, stream and purchase Pressure at your leisure.