Salt Lake City’s own Royal Bliss have some experience when it comes to making music. After 18 years, Neal Middleton (vocals), Taylor Richards (guitar), Jake Smith (drums), Dwayne Crawford (bass) and Sean “Memphis” Hennesy (guitar) have found the Royal Bliss sound in the form of their 5-song EP, The Truth. Released on June 3, the five songs are a reflection of a band that likes to have a good time and wants to send out a positive message. In a previous interview with us, Neal stated, “I need to be telling stories about my life and songs that I can relate to and writing songs that make people feel good. Bring people together.” For anyone that listens to this EP, you will quickly understand where he’s coming from.
The EP starts off with the title track and a fast-paced build-up of drum, bass and guitar that leads into Neal Middleton’s deep vocals during the verses. During the chorus, The Truth takes on a more mellow sound musically, including softer sounding vocals by Neal, almost as if two different songs were melded together. The pace of this song is a bit up and down, but there is some beautiful sounding guitar work going on throughout this entire song.
During We’re All Livin’ The Dream, almost immediately, you’re drawn in by the guitar intro that leads into a mid-tempo song telling the story of hard working musicians and people in general. “If Monday’s the devil, then Friday is Jesus, at 5 o’clock we all get saved.” In our previous interview, Neal mentioned the song was about being with friends. This song could easily be an anthem for every BBQ, bonfire or any gathering with friends. “Life is a blessing, here with our best friends, tonight we’re all livin’ the dream.” Watch the video below that was originally featured as part of CMT’s Artist Discovery Program. The video shows the lives of musicians doing their best to hold down their “day jobs” while trying to “live the dream” of being in a band and performing out on the road.
The most easy going tune on the EP, Racin’ is about life on the road and the choices made and yet to be made. The guitar is at the forefront in this song as it weaves in and out alongside Neal’s vocals. From his first word to his last, the emotion heard through his singing automatically captures your attention and holds it until the very end.
Previously released as an iTunes single in 2015, Drown With Me kicks the EP up a notch. This song is a definite sing along especially during the “woo, woo, woo’s.” A fun addition to the song is the banjo pickin’ by Memphis Hennesy. At almost the two minute mark in the song, the pace picks up and makes the listener feel like they’re speeding down the road in a fast car with the windows down. The song is super catchy and the gang vocals are a nice touch. Watch behind the scenes footage on the making of the song here.
The EP ends on a high note with Goin’ To Hell. The guitar pickin’ and foot stompin’ vibe at the beginning of the song make it one of the more upbeat of the five. The guitar playing is fantastic and overall performance wise the band is pretty much on fire. No pun intended. There are plenty of opportunities to sing along, especially with the line, “I’m going to hell.”
For long time fans of Royal Bliss, The Truth may feel like a bit of a departure from the rock songs they’ve released in the past and to some degree, that is the case. However, these songs are Royal Bliss being honest with themselves. For me, I couldn’t ask for anything more from any band. Actually, my only complaint is that there aren’t more songs. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we get a bigger dose of what Royal Bliss has to offer.