NYCS First Impression: King Calaway ‘Rivers’
The country music group that Billboard described as “The Eagles meet One Direction”, King Calaway released their highly anticipated debut album, Rivers on Friday. The record features twelve tracks, five of which were on their self-titled EP including the lead single “World For Two”. They create a unique sound that’s a little bit country, a little bit 80’s rock, a little bit boy band and undoubtedly new, different, creative and perhaps revolutionary.
King Calaway is made up of six members who are all from different backgrounds and hometowns. Born in Portsmouth, Ohio guitarist Caleb Miller is the youngest member. He played every genre as a kid from country to heavy metal to blues. Vocalist and acoustic guitar player Chad Michael Jervis grew up in Wilmington, Delaware where his biggest influence was Elvis Presley. Bassist, Austin Luther hails from Marshall, Minnesota, listening to mainly Irish-rock group, U2. Pianist, Simon Dumas, and Jordan Harvey grew up in Europe; Spain and Scotland, respectively. Drummer Chris Deaton, son of famous producer Robert Deaton, is the Tennessee native that rounds out the group.
Listeners can hear the diversity right off the bat with the lead track “No Matter What”. It is an upbeat song with the message “no matter what happens, we got us and our love will always be there”. Penned by big names Andy Albert, Paul DiGiovanni, Jordan Schmidt, Devin Dawson, and Mitchell Tenpenny, it has the potential to become a big hit.
There are a lot of love songs on this record, the first of which is “More Than I Do”. This song, which starts off slow than progresses, is about a man who admits his faults but has one quality that reigns supreme over all others; he will love this girl more than anyone will. The title track, “Rivers” is similar as it starts slow but when develops it gains a slight EDM beat, similar to one you’d hear in Maren Morris/ZEDD’s “The Middle” and Zac Brown Band’s “Tomorrow Never Comes”. It was written by Teddy Geiger, Bruce Fielder, Tom Parker, RuthAnne Cunningham, and ØJM. Parker, Cunningham and ØJM also penned the seventh track, “Grow Old”. King Calaway will perform “Rivers” on The Late Late Show with James Corden on October 8.
“Obvious” is a fun song that fans can dance and sing along to as the group spells out the word for us. “O-B-V-I-O-U-S / I’m in love with you / And it’s obvious”. “Driver’s Seat” is another happy track with harmonies and electric guitars. This song represents freedom as the two people in the story have a car and a pocket full of gas money. It was the first new song the band released when they announced their upcoming album.
“Missing You” is the saddest track on the album; it just makes you want to find them and give them a hug. The person in the song is getting over a breakup and is having a tough time doing so. “Makeup, or hang up / girl, I’m begging you / it’s the ‘getting over’ that I gotta get through”.
When you hear the words, “I do” you immediately associate them with marriage and weddings. “I Do” puts a different spin on the short phrase. The guy in the song wonders what life would’ve been like if he could have committed to a marriage like his ex wanted him to. “I do / yeah, I do / oh, I do / think about you”. This song was written by established writers Ross Copperman, Jon Nite, and Brett and Brad Warren.
The lead single, “World For Two”, also co-written by Copperman, Josh Osborne, and James Abrahart depicts how the man wants to create a world with only him and his girl in it. When released in January, the track became the #1 most added song at country radio in its debut week. Watch the music video for it here:
Closing the record is their cover of Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Love the One You’re With” and “I Did”. The former puts a unique, upbeat spin on the classic track and the latter is the opposite as it may be the slowest song on the album. The man is recalling what he could’ve done wrong to make his girl leave him. He comes to the realization that he gave this relationship his all so there is nothing to be ashamed of. Although it’s sad, it’s a nice way to end the album as most of it was about someone struggling to get over a breakup but after twelve tracks he has finally come to terms with it. Rivers was a story in itself, another reason why it is so unique.
Back in January, we had the privilege of hosting a show at New York City’s Bowery Electric featuring King Calaway. Since that time, they already taken the world by storm – from performing with Ricky Skaggs at the Grand Ole Opry, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, opening for Garth Brooks at one of his stadium dates and headlining a festival in Gibraltar, the group has already accomplished major milestones most country artists can only dream of.
They’re country stars for a new generation, singing songs that erase the boundaries between genres and countries. King Calaway isn’t looking to blend into the crowd. They’re not even looking to fit in. They’re in the business of standing out and King Calaway stands tall.
To keep up with King Calaway, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Rivers is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.
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