Nashville Demos (2015)
With long locks and a voice straight from the Blue Ridge Parkway of Virginia, Oliver John-Rodgers instantly harks back to the days of Flower Power, when Hendrix soundtracked sticking it to ‘The Man’ and musicians had clout.
“Once I have the podium, I swear to goodness I’m going to say things the way artists used to,” says the musician, more commonly known as OJR. Nonchalant by nature, perhaps, but he’s impassioned about the world we live in, and his role in it. Between the apathetic and the overwhelmed, OJR’s position as a mouthpiece is one he takes earnestly. The songwriter is compelled by restlessness in his artistry, ostensibly forever with a bag packed and a plan to just see what happens.
After studying at NYU, OJR rejected the opinion that super fuzzed out indie-rock was the only ‘cool’ and ‘interesting’ realised genre, and left the concrete jungle to travel abroad. The self-confessed Anglophile spent a couple of months in London, busking in the streets of Peckham, before running out of money and returning to Nashville. This duality is notable in his first two LP’s High School and Human Style, however 2015’s Nashville Demos shows a sonic departure, and one that he’s currently expanding on. Not half-hearted, this Acid Cowboy is bringing psychedelia back, right down to its roots.
With his latest release, Nashville Demos, OJR continues to transform his sound, intertwining soundscapes from the 60s and 70s with clever storytelling from one track to the next. He poignantly comments on contemporary culture while making us bop our heads to the bouncy, retro melody of “My Generation” and captures our attention with the fuzzed-out, grunge-y guitars and gritty vocals of “Numb.” The 50’s doo-wop parallels of “In Love with a Bowler” completely charm, while “Runnin’ from the Law” could be pulled straight from a Western-outlaw theme song, a-la Bonnie and Clyde – complete with horns, whips, wolf howls, and “yeehaw”s. It’s an incredibly entertaining musical adventure, and you want to stay along for the ride.
Nashville Demos. . .is much more than a traditional blues-rock album. I don’t want to simply compartmentalize this album and this band into that because the album is a such a magical blend of many styles that are produced extremely well. There are hints of Americana; an undeniably indie- rock sound; and that bluesy, Johnny Cash, almost-country sound... [plus] much more.
-The Even Ground
Lady Bushwick EP (2013)
Singer-songwriter/actor OJR might have been raised in Virginia, but his heart belongs to New York. One-half stone cold rocker, one-half rootsy folkie, Oliver John-Rodgers is a missing connection between Dylan's acerbic lyrics, and Lou Reed's deadpan rock posturing that's desperately needed out there in the jungles of Bushwick.
-Mike Levine (The Deli NYC)
Human Style (2012)
High School (2012)
It’s the kind of sound that you didn’t realize you missed until it found it’s way back to your ears.