Silvercrush, the latest modern rock powerhouse
to hit the scenes comes from the most unlikely of places, Salt Lake City,
Utah. But when you think about it, what better way is there to develop
the angst that is the underpinning to modern alternative rock than to grow
up a non-Mormon in Mormon dominated society. It indeed gives lead vocalist
Steele Croswhite a unique outlook and that comes across perfectly in the
music especially in a song like ďtiredĒ where he laments about being stuck
in the middle. The inner turmoil and soul searching that is conveyed in
the lyrics is the stuff that modern rock heroes are made of.
Musically Silvercrush comes across as a
mix of The Counting Crows, The Cult, Nickelback and Filter. Stylistically
they donít stand out from the pack but they are gifted in what they do
so their music is on par with the leading modern rock bands of the day.
The production on this CD is well defined and a little surprising considering
that this isnít a major label big budget album, Silvercrush definitely
hold their own against bands that have far more resources in their arsenal
to work with. Itís true they donít break any new ground that hasnít been
firmly established on the charts already but they arenít an inferior copy
of the original either. If anything, they take the Counting Crows formula
and give it a more commercial appeal. It would be easy to imagine these
guys selling at multi-platinum levels with hit single after hit single.
While it remains to be seen whether Redline can accomplish that especially
when battling for radio airspace with the big guns of the major labels
but they have half of the battle won already, a great product!
As far as debut albums go, Silvercrush
come out of the gate running and easily compete with other notable debuts
from the past. The music is here, we will have to wait and see if an audience
is. Fortunately, some will find out this summer on the Jeep World Outside
Festival where Silvercrush will be able to expose their music to the masses
that show up to check out Train, Tonic, Sheryl Crow and others.
If you love modern rock, then you will
find a lot to love here. Strong delivery, exceptional songwriting and amazing
production make this CD one of the best to enter the modern rock market
You've got to stand on your own
Fight for what's right
You've got to skip the middleman
Keep your focus in sight
The idea that triumph is often born out
of tragedy is hardly news at this point in history. But each time it happens,
it always feels like something of a miracle. That's a lesson learned by
the members of Silvercrush, who came by their knowledge the hard way.
Born of a friendship forged in the unlikely
(for rock and roll, anyway) location of Salt Lake City, Silvercrush - whose
core membership includes guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Steele Croswhite,
bassist Dave Christensen, and drummer Jim Stauffer - spent four years under
the tutelage (and management) of Steele's father, Bill Croswhite, himself
a seasoned musician who had, in his days as a professional singer and guitarist,
crossed paths with Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones, among others.
After a full year of closely critiqued
rehearsals in the Croswhite family basement, Silvercrush took their impassioned,
anthemic rock to the people, conquering the local clubs, garnering a large
and loyal following, and being declared the region's preeminent rock band.
But on the eve of the showcase performance
that would take them to the next level - a high-profile gig at The Joint
in Las Vegas, during the Emerging Artists & Talents in Music (EAT'M)
Conference, the elder Croswhite died suddenly of an aortic aneurysm.
Somehow, Steele and the rest of the band
found the strength to go on with the show as a tribute to their late manager,
or as Steele thinks of his father, "my best friend."
"I won't lie," Steele says. I'd give music
up in a minute to have my dad back. But he wouldn't be happy with that.
He worked too hard for 22 years to raise me as a son, and the last four
years of that to raise me as a musician, for me to give it up now."
Indeed, such a choice is likely out of
his hands, anyway. From his earliest years, Steele was always on stage,
"singing in front of audiences at school talent shows and fairgrounds.
Anywhere they'd let a five-year-old sing, I'd be there," he remembers.
He took up the guitar at age 14, hampered
somewhat by being left-handed, which among guitarists isn't very common.
Potential teachers abandoned him because of the difference, he says, "So
my dad ended up teaching me how to play. What he did was to take onion-skin
paper and write out the chords, then flip it over so I could read it."
Steele even went so far as to learn how to play right-handed guitars "upside
down" in case he found himself in jam session or a music store where a
left-handed model wasn't available.
Steele (yes, that's his real name - he
was christened after an uncle and his grandmother) formed the band in 1997.
"We were kind of coffee-shop friends," he says. "We hung out together even
before we knew how to play music. That's what makes being in a band with
them so special. The main thing about music is brotherhood. We're all super
passionate about playing music, but we're friends first and foremost."
As for the notion that Salt Lake City isn't
exactly a rock and roll Mecca, you can save the jokes - the band has heard
"There are some misconceptions about Salt
Lake City - not too many, but a few" Steele says with a smile. "When I
tell people I'm from Salt Lake City, first they do that laugh and then
they ask me if I'm Mormon, and I tell them I'm not. Obviously, there's
a very heavy LDS presence out here, but for the people who aren't Mormon,
they're just like everybody else, looking for someplace to hang out and
drink beer and to listen to some music. The bands that are out here have
to work really hard, because they don't have the opportunities that they
might if they were from New York or L.A. or Chicago or Phoenix.
On the other hand, I think it's a good
thing we're from a place like Salt Lake City. In other places, there are
a thousand bands playing in a thousand clubs every weekend. Everybody's
trying to scratch their way up the totem poll, to get to the top. In Salt
Lake City, there are a thousand bands, but only a few really great clubs
to play. It gives you something to work for. And the fans we have out there,
we're in touch with all of them. They're our friends. They support us and
want to put Salt Lake City on the map, and take away some of the misconceptions
of what people perceive it to be."
With the triumph of the EAT'M conference
behind them, the group signed with Redline Entertainment and headed off
to Bloomington, Indiana, to record their debut album with producer Mike
Wanchic (Cowboy Mouth, The Why Store, James McMurtry), who also plays guitar
in the John Mellencamp Band.
"Mike is amazing," Steele says. "He's taken
the music in my head and the band to the next level. He recognized our
raw talent and gave us the guidance we needed -- like a beacon of light
saying, 'This is the direction you need to go in.'"
Steele wrote most of the songs on the album
in a burst of creativity that struck him once he hit the studio. Asked
about his songwriting philosophy, Steele says that his goal is to deal
with "anything emotional - if it sparks an emotion in the people who hear
it, that's what I like to write about. I don't like fluff songs - songs
that don't make people think. I'm not the kind of guy who wants to have
a hit song at any cost. I want to have a career. And to do that, you have
to write songs that strike a chord within people emotionally. When I'm
writing, I think, will this mean anything to anyone other than me? It's
an important thing to have a beautiful vagueness in there - an idea that's
universal - to make it pertain to other people's lives."
Much of that universal feeling on "Stand"
comes from emotions Steele was dealing with in the wake of his father's
death - the sorrow, anger and the loss, certainly, but also the resolve
that eventually replaced it.
"'Tired' is the first song I wrote after
he left," Steele says of the muscular rock tune. "That song is about me
feeling alone in the industry. 'Who's in the black with the deal in the
sack/With your tongue tied talkin' and your thoughts tied back/Everybody
likes the drama but me.' That's about me feeling like I'm just tired of
having to deal with this. Because he dealt with everything."
The album's opening track, "Alone," meanwhile,
"is about my internal feelings after he left," Steele says. You know: 'I
stand alone/Wasting all my time/On thoughts I would disown." Wicked thoughts,
thoughts that everybody has when they lose their best friend.
But other emotional colors are present
on the album as well, such as his forthright determination on the raging
"Dance," which is one of the oldest songs in the group's repertoire. The
moving ballad "Who Is Me," meanwhile, is a radio-ready change of pace that
offers balance and yet rivals the intensity of the band's sound.
In Silvercrush, Steele's creativity and
sense of spontaneity is matched perfectly with the instrumental fervor
of Christensen and Stauffer, and by guitarist Carl Broemel (ex-Lifehouse)
and keyboardist Mike Flynn (late of Old Pike), who co-produced the album.
The latter two joined the group on the CD, and will continue with them
on the road as well.
But wherever they go, Silvercrush will
also carry with them the spirit of Croswhite's father, who surely must
be looking down on them with pride.
"My father is the reason we're here," Steele
says. "He was the guy who made it real to begin with, and keeps it real
for me now."
the Official Website to get the lowdown on the album, find tour dates plus
get more info on the band and the latest news and multimedia files.
to sound samples and Purchase "Stand" online
Photos Courtesy of Silvercrush - All Rights Reserved by Copyright