Empathy Test - Roly Witherow - The Texas Gentlemen

Empathy Test forthcoming single 'Monsters' is a powerful anthem that exudes indie and synth musical traits and passionate vocals. === We are always on the lookout for different but good and Roly Witherow meets all of those hopes with 'Row Bullies Row' where punk meets sea shanty and folk (wonderful). === The Texas Gentlemen have just shared 'Ain't Nothin' New' it's a little psychedelic, a tiny bit country rock and a whole lot addictive, a fine taster for their July album release.

Empathy Test - Monsters.

Monsters is the forthcoming single from synth pop magicians, Empathy Test, the lead track from their forthcoming album which looks to cement them as one of the most inventive, emotionally affecting and addictive musical experiences around. Written collectively by all four band members, Monsters is described by the band themselves as, “an ode to anxiety” and is accompanied by a highly anticipated upcoming video, directed by the award-winning Calum Macdiarmid, which has been nominated for this year’s Berlin Music Video Awards

As the first release from the album, Monsters, which, with extraordinary prescience, covers themes such as isolation; fear; the dangers of social media and paranoia, Empathy Test’s forthcoming single sees the band at the height of their powers, with liberal doses of dark electronic atmospherics, Chrisy’s extraordinarily thunderous percussion and a lyric which deals head-on with the modern day curse of anxiety and loneliness which is often exacerbated by social media:

“When the emptiness arrives/And you've nowhere left to hide / When it's stacking up inside - From the corners of your mind”


Roly Witherow - Row Bullies Row.

Having made a name for himself as a successful composer of music for film and television, Roly Witherow has chosen an entirely different direction for the first solo release – traditional folk music. Telling stories through his music comes naturally to Roly and by expanding his universe to include sea shanties, styles from not just around the British Isles but also around the world, as well as the whole gamut of life, love, death and a dash of humour, Ballads and Yarns provides a modern yet classic celebration of the art of folk music.

Ballads and Yarns is preceded by the rollicking sea shanty, Row Bullies Row, recorded most famously by Ewan Maccoll but now updated to feature electric instruments and even Korg synthesiser, with an even keener emphasis on the sleazy and the bawdy, a brilliant and evocative tribute to the crumbling British seaside town! The album is a diverse collection of folk styles, from the  lullaby on the plight of Mankind in Paean to Earthly Things; the sparse and plaintive lament, Lord Franklin (notably recorded by Pentangle) and Wedding Song which even features a recording of Devonshire sea shanty collective, The Old Gaffers, from Roly’s wedding day! The reworking of traditional songs on Roly’s debut album are reverential whilst taking them into a more widescreen territory, fitting perfectly alongside his originals which both tug at the heartstrings and nibble at the funny bone!

Hailing from Peckham, London, though currently based in East Portlemouth on the South Devon coast during the lockdown with his heavily pregnant wife, Roly Witherow has composed for television programmes such as BBC’s hit, Who Do You Think You Are? and Channel 4’s On the Edge as well as for films such as 2014’s Gregor; Sex Ed (2017) and Try (2018). Ballads and Yarns was written and recorded in Roly’s own home studio and was mixed by Joao Noronha in Brazil (where his wife hails from). A nod to the past, present and future, Roly Witherow’s Ballads and Yarns is 21st Century folk music in all its glory.


The Texas Gentlemen - Ain't Nothin' New.

The Texas Gentlemen will release Floor It!!! on July 17th via New West Records. The 13-song set was produced by Matt Pence (Jason Isbell, John Moreland, Midlake) and recorded at the legendary Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, Niles City Sound in Ft. Worth, TX and Pence’s own EchoLab Studios in Denton, TX. Floor It!!! is the follow up to their acclaimed 2017 debut TX Jelly which Vice/Noisey described as “a fantastic collection of good-ass guitar music. Sometimes it sounds like The Beatles, sometimes Jefferson Airplane, sometimes Leon Russell.

It’s both funky and psychedelic, softly acoustic singer-songwriter, and occasionally perverted.” The band’s sound is steeped in ‘60s and ‘70s rock & pop with elements of funk, soul, country, R&B, southern rock and gospel (just about all of them played in churches early on). The album includes woozy, brass-fueled Dixieland-style jazz, to slinky, chicken-scratch country funk to lushly orchestrated pop-soul balladry all within its first ten minutes. There’s a dreamy, spacey, and occasionally progressive element to what they do that seems to detach the music from belonging to any particular place and time. It’s a rich and righteous ride.

The Lone Star-bred Texas Gentlemen consist of co-frontmen Nik Lee & Daniel Creamer (who also handle guitar and keys), Ryan Ake on guitar, Scott Edgar Lee, Jr. on bass, and Aaron Haynes on drums (who has since been replaced by Paul Grass). The band take their cues from some of the most iconic acts of the past. The quicksilver brilliance of The Wrecking Crew, The Muscle Shoals Swampers (who backed everyone from Aretha to Wilson Pickett), Booker T. and The M.G.’s, Little Feat, and Bob Dylan’s one-time backers The Band are the most obvious examples.

Originally assembled as an all-purpose studio band for an eclectic array of singer-songwriters including Leon Bridges and Nikki Lane (among others), The Texas Gentlemen quickly found themselves backing everyone from George Strait and Kris Kristofferson to Terry Allen and Ray Wylie Hubbard in a live setting. The legendary Joe Ely once described them as “the best backing band I have ever played with. Seriously.” Of a Kristofferson & Texas Gentlemen performance, the Fort Worth Star Telegram exclaimed, “Time and again, the room would seem to bloom - a feeling of dawn breaking, just barely visible but discernible, behind some of the best songs ever written.”