Bios 2020-02-01T17:01:00+00:00

BIOS

Two Years Gone… 2020
In early 2015, Gaslight Street stood at a familiar crossroads that every band comes to at one point or another. Their long time guitarist had left the band, and the quartet was reduced to three. They had a calendar full of dates, including a month long tour out to Colorado. They could have easily decided to stop and take a break, but Whitt Algar (Keyboards/Bass) decided he would simply combine his skills as bassist/keyboardist and keep the band rolling. He learned to play bass lines on the top organ while still playing the keys on the piano stacked underneath all in the matter of weeks. Stratton Moore (Drums) and Campbell Brown (Guitar/Vocals) went to the woodshed with their band mate and forged a new sound. Soul, the backbone of their music, had become more prominent and Algar’s own songs were being introduced to the band. They continued their journey out west for a month long tour to Colorado and back. When they returned to their hometown a new band had been born.

In 2016 the band won the CPMA Blues Band of the Year and released “Two Years Gone”, and after two years on the road the band recorded and released “You Already Know” in 2018. By then the band was regularly touring with Ryan Bonner (Guitar/Vocals) of Sideshow Americans and Lorra Amos and Kaitlin Casteel (Vocals) of Sunflowers & Sin as an extended family band. In 2019 Ryan Bonner was formerly installed in Gaslight Street, and he has become a catalyst for pre-production and writing sessions as the band gears up to visit the studio again in 2020.

A Brief History…

Gaslight Street’s regional presence had grown by 2013 behind the release of their third album, Heavy Wind. Featuring the unmistakably soulful lyrics and vocals of Campbell Brown, the follow-up to 2011’s Idle Speed and 2009’s Blue Skies For Fools strongly stakes the band’s place as worthy inheritors of the Southern soul tradition. Brown is joined in Gaslight by keyboardist/bassist Whitt Algar, 2014 CPMA Keyboardist of the year, who is also a key vocalist and songwriter to this blues-based rock outfit. Stratton Moore rounds out the rhythm section with his tastefully funky chops and keeps the band grooving much like the pioneers of the Muscle Shoals days.

Idle Speed starkly reminds us of music’s ability to take the most desolate of human emotions and give them shine. Not that it’s a sad album. Rather, it’s a career defining body of songs from a man coming to terms with a crumbling family life, heard in the opening strains of “Fast and Slow,” a late night, solo home recording by Brown. It’s fittingly followed by “Vicksburg,” a Civil War tale of a man reluctantly forced into a bitter battled, destined for defeat, featuring Cary Ann Hearst on harmony vocals. With a driving, gritty Southern backbeat, Campbell Brown’s heart wrenching, soulful vocals lift the analog tape-recording album into an optimistic backwoods boogie. The title track “Idle Speed” and “Black As Coal” (both of which are featured in a spring 2012 episode of the popular fishing television show GillzNFinz ) keep the wheels rolling fast, before the album’s closer and second single, “April Mournin’.”

“Gaslight Street have crafted a signature sound that is equal parts honey and moonshine, with Brown the catalyst for the soul-infused swagger,” remarks Jamie Lee of Honest Tune and Hittin’ the Note magazines. “ Idle Speed could’ve been the swan song for Gaslight Street. But the spark remains. The band is stoking it, and rightfully so.”

After five years of touring the Southeast and recording, Gaslight Street is quickly making strides. Their fall tour includes a notable stop at the Bear Creek Music Festival in Live Oak, Florida, performing alongside musicians that have influenced their sound, including The Funky Meters and Galactic. “Constantly Running” (from Blue Skies ) and “April Mournin’” continue to enjoy local airplay on Charleston’s 105.5 The Bridge, and Campbell Brown and Whitt Algar were both nominated in the 2011 Charleston Music Award’s for “Best Male Singer” and “Best Keyboardist.”

Album Reviews

You Already Know

Charleston Roots Group Gaslight Street Drop Bluesy New Album (1/29/19)
– Savannah Davanzo (The Music Mermaid)

Charleston has been home to some of TMM’s most favorite artists like Tyler Boone and Michael Flynn, so it’s no surprise that rollicking roots group Gaslight Street also hail from The Holy City. What is a surprise, though, is just how rich and robust their latest album, You Already Know, is. Maybe we shouldn’t be in awe, considering what we already know about Charleston’s overwhelming talent, but there’s something about this record that’s so full of magic that we can’t help but be taken aback.

Of course, the guys of Gaslight Street are veterans of music success. They’ve already got a bunch of releases under their belt and they’re basically hometown heroes, so You Already Know is aptly named — we do already know that Gaslight Street is good. The album is a continuation, then, of what is already a vibrant discography of blues-rock and roots anthems.

You Already Know opens with “Let Me Go,” a powerful ballad serving as the perfect introduction to a versatile record. We get a taste of those gritty vocals and some woozy blues treatment, a pulsing arrangement almost elegiac in its choir harmonies and sweeping melody. On “Try To Remember,” the band replaces a funeral with a celebration — it’s an upbeat blues-rock anthem wild with a buzzy brass section and simple fun. The band is just rocking and rolling here, a number that must delight when performed live. Next comes “Tear Us Apart,” a slinking halfway point between the ballads and bangers that Gaslight Street pay equal attention to. There’s a cool edge to the rhythm section and the vocals are almost drowsy, too, so that even when there are moments of rich brass or peppy percussion, there’s still a shadowy tone laying like a film over the soulful arrangement.

On “Salvation,” the band keep experimenting with genre-bending tactics, pairing searing guitar riffs with jazzy interludes. It’s a slightly frazzled composition, each new element fighting for space, but it’s big with color and energy. The middle of You Already Know finds “Therapy,” an impossibly sleek roots-rock arrangement. Veering from the band’s typical tempo, it feels slow-going despite the all-in nature of its quirky instrumentation. It begs you to keep interested (and you will because how can you not?) and it rewards you with these lurching, groovy rhythms, a true standout on the record. “Demon” has the same addictive effect but it’s more obvious — straight away it kicks off with searing rhythms and a catchy hook, consistent throughout the track in its rollicking, high-energy performance built on sweet rock ‘n roll.

Nearing the end of You Already Know comes “No Time,” another standout for its smooth bluesy production and relaxed pacing. It’s not nearly as in-your-face as other arrangements even though it still bursts with vibrant rhythm wars and droning brass sections. On “Hey Brother,” things pick up once again with the plink of keys and steady percussion pulsing far beneath the creeping soul composition rich with new vocal tones and shuffle of layered blues-rock rhythms — the solos are fiery, major examples of the kind of talent this band boasts. You Already Know ends with its longest track, “Easy Papa,” well-deserving of its length because it languishes, drowsily trailing a sweet, sleepy conclusion like honey. It sounds like amber, clear and golden in its slow rolls of bluesified rhythms and soulful vocal delivery. It takes its time until it comes to a rich bursting halt.

On You Already Know, Gaslight Street depict their talent as blues rockers over and over again. Each song is a spirited exploration of shaky roots and energetic rock, resulting in a dynamic combination bringing to life a powerful selection.

“You Already Know” by Charleston group Gaslight Street is a soul-soaked disc with an invigorating groove
– Kalyn Oyer (Charleston Scene)

“Let Me Go” starts off the new full-length record with a smooth and sultry rhythm and gospel harmonies followed by “Try to Remember” with its dynamic horn section. Trumpet and saxophone jibe with an echoing slide guitar for some irresistibly dance-worthy feel-good soul. Then, “Tear Us Apart” transitions from an organ solo and dazzling high-hats into a layered, harmony-laced chorus. “You bring me joy, confused by rain,” go the meandering lyrics. “All the sad days just turn the same.”

Bayou blues and organ staccato are highlighted by shaker beats and funky horns in “Salvation,” before “Demon” brings on some daring doo-wop dance rock. Follow-up song “No Time” pays homage to Chicago with its horn introduction before “Easy Papa” wraps up the compilation with a dizzy swagger, reminiscent of a hazy day on the water. It’s a symmetrical bookend.

Idle Speed

Idle Speed starkly reminds us of music’s ability to take the most desolate of human emotions and give them shine. Not that it’s a sad album. Rather, it’s a career defining body of songs from a man coming to terms with a crumbling family life, heard in the opening strains of “Fast and Slow,” a late night, solo home recording by Brown. It’s fittingly followed by “Vicksburg,” a Civil War tale of a man reluctantly forced into a bitter battled, destined for defeat, featuring Cary Ann Hearst on harmony vocals. With a driving, gritty Southern backbeat, Campbell Brown’s heart wrenching, soulful vocals lift the analog tape-recording album into an optimistic backwoods boogie. The title track “Idle Speed” and “Black As Coal” (both of which are featured in a spring 2012 episode of the popular fishing television show GillzNFinz ) keep the wheels rolling fast, before the album’s closer and second single, “April Mournin’.”

“Gaslight Street have crafted a signature sound that is equal parts honey and moonshine, with Brown the catalyst for the soul-infused swagger,” remarks Jamie Lee of Honest Tune and Hittin’ the Note magazines. “ Idle Speed could’ve been the swan song for Gaslight Street. But the spark remains. The band is stoking it, and rightfully so.”

After five years of touring the Southeast and recording, Gaslight Street is quickly making strides. Their fall tour includes a notable stop at the Bear Creek Music Festival in Live Oak, Florida, performing alongside musicians that have influenced their sound, including The Funky Meters and Galactic. “Constantly Running” (from Blue Skies ) and “April Mournin’” continue to enjoy local airplay on Charleston’s 105.5 The Bridge, and Campbell Brown and Whitt Algar were both nominated in the 2011 Charleston Music Award’s for “Best Male Singer” and “Best Keyboardist.”

Give Idle Speed a spin and relax with the easy-going, uplifting vibe of an intelligently crafted rock band; drunk on music history and high on artistic imagination.