It’s about that time to talk local music. Aren’t Wednesdays just the greatest? Just when I think I am going to run out of local music to boast about, bands and artists keep on popping up out of the woodworks, sparking my interest time and time again.
As we all know, there are many groups that have time and time again proven to me that age is nothing but a number. This week, I have another prime example of this statement: Crimson Tide. Who are they, and what do they play? Well, it’s a mix of stuff—bluesy, funky, gospel (at times), folksy, butt-kicking stuff. A few weeks back, I made a post on the Jersey Rock page for some recommendations from my fellow local music lovers, seeking some new talent for my radar. And, well, let us just say that it has been a match made in heaven since then. So, before I start blushing and boasting even more, let me tell you a little but more about them.
Crimson Sky are a blues/classic rock group from Middletown, New Jersey, with members Allison (vocals), Chris and Tristan (guitars), Dillon (drums), Paul (bass) and Samantha (keys). I don’t know too much about their history or how they met, because I am just starting to experience them in the fullest way possible. Upon cruising through their Facebook page, I didn’t find originals, though I do know they are young and working on recorded music. However, I did stumble upon a cover performance that got my heart beating in a musical frenzy: “The Sky Is Crying” by Stevie Ray Vaughan. The video was shot at one of my favorite places to hang, Paul’s Tavern in Lake Como, where they were competing in the Jersey Shore Jazz And Blues Foundation Competition. This cover is timeless, and they do it flawlessly. I was actually very surprised to see such a hip, young, eclectic group choose a song like this, and in my book, it made them even cooler. Oh, and I have to mention that this video allowed Crimson Sky to be awarded with the title of representing Jersey Shore Blues in Memphis in the 2014 International Blues Challenge’s Youth Showcase! Hey, they aren’t bragging, so I am for them!
A few moments later, I proceeded to watch another cover of “Ball And Chain,” the Janis Joplin version. In my opinion, Janis is a goddess, who is very hard to duplicate or replicate, and they do a wonderful job. I have given their version of “Ball And Chain” my official seal of approval. They have such a powerful, raw, and natural energy that is completely captured by these videos, really allowing me for a better understanding of not only what their live show is all about, but also the band in general. Needless to say, this video made me dig deeper into the investigation of this act. They’ve got everything including a little funk, a lot of blues, and a touch of genre-crossing goodness.
Each member of this six-piece combines a key element for success. They have a perfect blend of strong guitars, solid drumming, standout bass and a stellar voice that creates a sound that is untouchable for what they are trying to do. I want to also give credit where it is due, which is to Allison and her strong pipes. The raw power of her voice seems to shine in everything that she does, cranking out notes that are electrifying. I am also thoroughly impressed by her unique style, for her appearance beams out lights of originality. Trust me, she is not a one-woman band—Crimson Sky are an extremely talented group in their own right, able to rock out very hard and get down to the blues and soul—but I cannot express enough the importance of a strong frontwoman. Artists who use their voices as instruments will always succeed, and she is a prime example. Watch her perform and you will be captivated by not only her beaming style and fantastic voice, but the boundless energy coming out of this pint-sized little beauty. While I thoroughly enjoy this type of music, the problem is sometimes finding something different—a voice, acoustic act or a band that isn’t simply pumping out the blues—but Crimson Sky are the rare pink elephant.
I am excited to read on their socials that they are currently working on some original music, and I hope they’ll be able to play it one day. I’m anticipating a ton of bluesy ballads, combined with some upbeat classic rock songs. The power of YouTube has shined through on this band, and I will 100 percent be checking out one of their live sets in the near future. If you’re looking for a bunch of talented people with a drive and passion for music, they are the right match for you. I really think Crimson Sky could become something big, especially since there are not a lot of acts out there locally right now playing their unique style of music.
For your chance to see Crimson Sky live, head to the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank on Dec. 1. To find out more information about them, be sure to visit their Facebook and ReverbNation pages at facebook.com/crimsonskynj and reverbnation.com/crimsonskynj.
I will be back next week with some more fabulous local talent to spotlight. Who knows what genre it will be? Keep on sending me suggestions, CDs, emails and more, for we have to keep the scene going strong in 2014! I have a feeling next year will be bigger and better than ever, and of course, we will finish these holiday months out with a bang!