Having heard an abundance of ‘new’ music coming out of Canada over the last few years, it occurred to me that of all the genres I frequently listen to, there has been very little in the way of true old-fashioned rock music. Oh sure, the long established rock acts like The Hip and The Trews have continued to evolve whilst remaining consistent with each and every release, as have the emerging acts such as Monster Truck and The Arkells. But what about a true ‘new’ artist or band that identifies with old-school rock music without the increasingly popular ‘alternative’ or ‘indie’ tags that are easily attached and instantly pigeonhole their musical sub-genre?
Rewind to late 2014/early 2015, and whilst listening to “The Verge” on SiriusXM, I was given an answer to this question. With a ringing guitar intro, my attention was instantly drawn to the blue collar rock sounds of “The Contender” by Kingston, ON natives The Glorious Sons. Lead vocalist Brett Emmons immediately demonstrated a true rock and roll sound, with a grungy, throaty delivery that was complemented perfectly by the bands melodic harmonies and power guitar sounds. This was the band that I had been searching for; a true modern day rock and roll act who sounded like the perfect square peg to fit in the square hole of traditional rock music.
With a sound reminiscent of The Trews, should I have been surprised to learn that the Glorious Sons’ debut EP and subsequent follow-up release “The Union” were produced by The Trews’ lead guitarist John Angus MacDonald? Probably not. But whilst listening to “The Contender,” and hearing the obvious Trews influence, the band shifted gears with a bridge that embraced a blues vibe before introducing an almost ‘Angus Young’ style guitar riff that further reinforced their own rock-roots identity.
Shortly afterwards I heard “Lightning,” which started to receive a lot of decent airplay on The Verge (no complaints here!!!). With a melodic piano and guitar intro (hints of ‘White Lion’ and ‘Great White’ from generations past), and some ‘toned-down’ vocals, would Glorious Sons turn out to be a mellow ‘alt’ or ‘indie’ act after all? Once Emmons hits the chorus in full stride, the answer is a firm ‘No!’ Screaming at me to “wake up,” the band were seemingly laughing at my momentary lack of judgment, and I quickly appreciated that this was a band that has the uncanny ability to mix up their repertoire during any given moment. “Lightning” is the obligatory ‘power ballad’ that pays homage to their rock giant predecessors that sought out wider audiences with that one unique tune that would find homes on more mainstream radio-friendly channels.
Finding my own copy of “The Union,” which is an album I would strongly recommend any casual rock music fan to seek out for themselves, I was very impressed with the musical journey shared by the Glorious Sons. The tracks “White Noise” and “Man Made Man” both represent the big rock anthem sound that simultaneously work in the intimate small clubs or in front of thousands on the big stage. “Man Made Man” once again left me drawing comparisons with the bluesy sound of early AC/DC, sharing a definite “For those about to rock” vibe.
With “Mama,” we discover a delta-blues themed amalgamation of 70s Skynard meets 90s Black Crowes, and oozes that ‘crowd pleaser’ sound with infectious guitar riffs and great vocals. “Gordie” allows the band the opportunity to grab their acoustic guitars and express the ‘be true to yourself’ message in the name of their fellow Kingstonian, Gord Downie. The Trews influence is duly noted in both “Heavy” and “Amigo,” with the latter being THAT track that aims to blow your musical mind away. With the dominant piano and gradual inclusion of strings, the Trews-inspired handclaps, harmonies and slow melodic pace, “Amigo” ends the album on a high that guarantees your return to this one time and time again.
The Glorious Sons are expected to release new material in 2017, and a recent visit to their website presented a message that simply states “January 27th.” I am optimistic that new music is not too far away, and look forward to taking this latest journey with Glorious Sons. Hopefully the new release will be supported with an extensive tour, as this band have risen high on my list of artists that I desperately want to see live in the near future.