That’s right, you heard me right. ROCK band. R-O-C-K. Forget the labels nu-metal, alternative, emo, etc. Rock is back and Blue Epic, a four-piece band from Birmingham, Alabama, delivers it. Their debut release is an EP, Love & Hate, on independent label Empathic Recordings, and is being marketed and distributed by New York-based TVT Records. There’s no flash, just a straight-up guitar assault that rocks for all five tracks on the EP, which was produced by Chad Blinman (Get Up Kids, Face to Face).
“We don’t listen to the radio,” admits lead singer/guitarist Phillip Roberson, 21. Instead, Blue Epic, which has been together since late 2001, draws from many influences and considers themselves separate from any “scene” that’s going on right now. At times they sound like U2 or Dishwalla, but Roberson has an incredible vocal range reminiscent of Jeff Buckley. There’s also a little Neil Young influence, further evidenced by the fact that the band chose to cover Young’s “A Man Needs a Maid” on the EP. As for their own material, you can just feel the energy exuding from this material such as the title track, “Underwater” and “Roses.”
Originally from Huntsville, Alabama, Roberson and guitarist Hadwin Brown started a cover band in high school, and continued it when they went to college in Tuscaloosa. It was here that they met bassist Max Andrews and drummer Nick Falletta. But it was a radio station in Huntsville that put on a battle of the bands that catapulted Blue Epic into an eventual record deal. “We won the grand prize of free studio time,” says Roberson. “And the engineer who recorded us was the friend of an A & R guy (Lenny Johnson) at TVT.” Johnson eventually went to see the band and signed them.
Now the foursome resides in Birmingham and has begun touring nationally in support of Love & Hate. When asked why they chose to release only a five-song EP, Roberson said, “We want to build up a grassroots following right now, and we still have a full-length CD recorded and hope to release that in the fall.” Maybe they have high hopes to build up a large following so quickly, but this band has the goods to take things to another level that fast.
Blue Epic’s songs are melodic and heartfelt (say it with me now) rock. They’re tunes you can crank up in your car that make you want to test the limits of your speedometer. Yeah, Blue Epic delivers the rock, and with all its members only 21 years old, they could be delivering it for a long time.
* Check out Blue Epic's latest release, Love and Hate Ep, on Tvt Records.
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