Tag Archives soul

New England’s Blue Light Bandits Release Highly Anticipated Album “Honestly Glad It Happened”


New England’s very own Blue Light Bandits have released their highly anticipated sophomore LP Honestly Glad It Happened on all streaming platforms today. An eclectic mix across genres and styles, from bluesy accents in “Everyday Is A Holiday” to ‘70s retro vibes in “Without You,” Honestly Glad It Happened is, in many ways, an ode to love: love for significant others, for friends or even for music itself. In fact, the album is a huge labor of love for the band, as it was entirely recorded and produced within the BLB team.

“It’s everything to have been able to do this stuff as a squad on our own with our own resources. We’re very blessed and lucky to have what we have and to have had the resources and personnel to do this at this level. We’ve made records in the past…but nothing felt as right as doing all that work ourselves with a group of people that stays internal, stays loyal and trustworthy, and stays on the same track, on the same schedule… It’s amazing to think that this is gonna come out and it’s something that belongs to us and only to us and will forever belong only to us. It’s a reminder that making music is a team sport, or at least I believe it should always be viewed that way, and we have the best team in the damn business.” – Blue Light Bandits

The Blue Light Bandits are an award winning, 4-piece independent groove rock band from Worcester, MA. The BLB sound is inspired by a soulful mix of jazz, neo-soul, pop, and funk music. Since the release of their B.L.B Demo in 2014 and the self titled debut LP in 2017, they have amassed over 2.8 million streams on Spotify. Live BLB shows have become a staple of the Boston, Worcester and New England music scenes with residencies at Lucky’s Lounge in Boston and Michael’s Cigar Bar in Worcester as well as frequent appearances at the best breweries, wineries, and festivals in the region. 

Dan DeCristofaro (keys and vocals) and Ethan Bates (bass and vocals) are the founding members, singers, and songwriters behind BLB. Dan is a soulful writer, producer, and arranger who has also begun releasing singles as a solo artist with “Give Me Your Love” in May of 2020 and “Unbreakable” in November 2019. Ethan is also an accomplished cellist and performs and writes solo compositions as “Ethan Bates Orchestra” where he builds live loops and layers organically for each performance. The current iteration of the BLB lineup features veteran touring and session drummer, Simon Adamsson, and multi-faceted guitarist, Jay Faires, who also rounds out the signature 3-part BLB harmonies.

As of January 2020 the band began work on their second full length album, Honestly Glad It Happened. The project –  released today on June 25, 2021 – introduces the next evolution of their songs, sound, and direction. 

Take a listen to the Blue Light Bandits’ sophomore LP Honestly Glad It Happened on all DSPS, and catch the band live via an exclusive release performance through Dreamstage.

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Images provided by Isaac Bates @badluk_goodvibes 

Remembering Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul


On August 16th, Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul passed away at 76. Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 25, 1942. We can thank her father, Rev. C. L. Franklin, for exposing Aretha to the world of gospel music. She began singing in her father’s Detroit Baptist church, undoubtedly where she began to polish her soulful singing style.

I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You

Columbia Records was the first to sign the singer in 1960. However, it was not until her contract with Atlantic and the release of her 1967 album, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, that Franklin became a household name with a gold album under her belt. Franklin’s single, “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” was her first pop hit, scoring a spot in the Top 10 list and number one spot for R&B.

It was neither my intention nor my plan, but some were saying that in my voice they heard the sound of confidence and self-assurance.

Aretha Franklin

Following Aretha Franklin’s Passing, Her Music Sales Have Soared

Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin, 1961. Photo Credit: Metronome, Getty Images

The Queen of Soul’s passing is a loss of a music legend. Countless artists who followed in Soul, R&B, and Pop were influenced by the songstress. In her lifetime, Franklin had 73 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 and 100 songs on Billboard’s R&B singles list. She released 17 songs that placed on the Top 10 chart, as well as 21 songs that landed the number one spot for R&B singles.

On the day of her death, Aretha’s album sales skyrocketed to an astounding 19,000 copies in a single day. The day prior, her album sales were around 1,000 copies. According to Nielsen Music and The Hollywood Reporter, combined with digital song downloads, August 16th saw 134,000 copies of Franklin’s albums and tracks sold.

“Respect” and Women’s Empowerment

Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul

1967 Aretha Franklin studio portrait. Photo Credit: Gilles Petard/Redferns

One of the best ways to honor the music legend is to continue to share her music. Franklin left an indelible mark on the music industry with her talents, as well as on the world with her strong presence and influence in racial issues and women’s rights. Much of her music was geared toward the empowerment of women, most notably her rendition of Otis Redding’s song, “Respect.” Redding’s version from a male perspective was a representation of a man’s world. But when Franklin reimagined the song, she had something else in mind. She took “Respect” and utterly transformed the entire meaning. It was—and continues to be—a woman’s anthem and a reminder that as women, we need to demand respect.

Music Stars’ React to Franklin’s Death: Crafting “the Soundtrack to the Lives of Many”

Many musicians took to Twitter yesterday to express their love and the loss of Aretha. Singers like Elton John, Patti LaBelle, and Diana Ross have truly embodied the impact that Franklin made on the world.


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Remembering Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul. Featured Photo Credit: David Redfern, Redferns.

4 Artists Who Should Try Another Genre


There’s been a few times we’ve listened to our favorite artists sing a particular note or cover a particular song, and us as the listeners choose to question what if they take it a step further? What if they create an original work in a different genre, giving us a seamless gift of music? With current works and vocal capabilities in mind, here a few artists who should try another genre.


An artist with a very flexible voice that spans numerous hits, stages and audiences, Beyonce is at the top of any list when it comes to venturing into another genre, and doing it well. With her most recent release Lemonade, she swam into various musical styles and spoken word, but her collaboration with Jack White for “Don’t Hurt Yourself” was especially thrilling for those stubborn to understand her artistry. Aside from it coming from a place of anger and betrayal, this song definitely showed her vocal capabilities to own a funk rock song with no hesitation. With something just as enthralling, intensive & a chance to show off her vocals, a performance-heavy track would be interesting to hear (and see!).


Let’s Try: Beyonce meets Lenny Kravitz’sTunnel Vision


FKA Twigs

This artist created a space for herself and her listeners, with her electronic, alternative R&B style & effortless performances. Twigs constantly pushes the expectations of her fans aside, keeping true to her sound but giving results that are unexpected yet still very much appealing and almost hypnotic to listen to. Twigs has a few songs where she gives her listeners a stripped-back feel such as “Good to Love.” Because her musical sound encapsulates her very careful and sweet sounding voice, it would be very interesting hearing it with more acoustic rock instrumentals that complement rather than take over her voice & songwriting.


Let’s Try: FKA Twigs meets The Cranberries’ “Roses”


Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is an artist evoking classic and modern styles across her discography. Taking on jazz, glam and dance pop, house, rock and little bit of country, narrowing down what genre Gaga should take a gander at next gives pause. Though some didn’t care for it, “Perfect Illusion,” featuring production by Mark Ronson & Kevin Parker, definitely kept in-style with Gaga & showed she’s capable of continuing with a synth & rock infused track. It’d be interesting to hear her bring her extravagant vocals & poetic lyrics to a song with more synth and carrying beat (the Eurythmics anyone?).


Let’s Try: Lady Gaga meets Eurythmics’ “Forever”



Usher is an artist that got his start in his early years, and thus grew up with a variety of different sounds, and wasn’t afraid to make his velvety-smooth voice a part of it. Everything from classic and contemporary R&B, dance pop, hip-hop, trap, indie pop & electronica, can be found somewhere in his discography. Along with various appearances in time for his love life, Usher has caused various debates among fans regarding sticking to a sound that enhances his vocals rather than drowning it in heavy production An example of a mature sound was “Here I Stand,” that featured on his fourth album. The love ballad featured various instruments, like the keyboard, soft drums, and piano that were layered to give harmony to Usher’s voice. It was slow paced, but rhythmic. It evoked comparisons to Stevie Wonder influences with production from Drev & Vidal (Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild) and Polow da Don. It would be complimentary for Usher to try more within the soul genre among the wide universe that R&B has taken over the years.


Let’s Try: Usher meets Stevie Wonder’s “Moon Blue”


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4 Artists Who Should Try Another Genre. Featured Image Sourced from Wikimedia Commons. All photo credits to Yne Van De Mergel, Bobo Boom, RocBeyonce, and Eli Watson

Lauren Wilhelm Interview


Free-spirited, powerhouse, soulful—all these words describe singer-songwriter Lauren Wilhelm, also known as Dazy (The Girl). Hailing from Tallahassee, Wilhelm has already made splashes with her cover of The 1975’s “Chocolate” and will be performing at Warped Tour this summer. We had a Lauren Wilhelm interview about finding inspiration for her music and lyrics and her upcoming plans.


Photo credit to Matt Burke

Cliché: First, any reason in particular you decided to cover The 1975’s “Chocolate?”
Lauren Wilhelm: It was actually a last-minute decision the day before I had an acoustic performance at the Gunz show. My buddy the Heavy Empty suggested the song and I was skeptical because I had no idea what any of the real lyrics were. We made it work and I enjoyed singing it so much that I decided to add it to my setlist.

What other music would you like to do covers of?
I just finished recording and mixing my next cover “All Of Me” by John Legend. I really like how it turned out! Pretty soon I’m taking it back to my roots and am going to do some Brand New and Taking Back Sunday.

Your soulful version of that song follows closely to the soulful, pop sound of your single “I Told You So.” What draws you to that type of music?
I think it’s just my voice that has that bluesy raspy sound to it. It’s not really a sound I’m trying to create, it’s just my words with my feelings coming through my vocal chords. It’s a natural feeling to me.

You describe your music as “aggressive pop with a little rock and intense soul.” How did you find a balance between these three different sounds?
The underlying theme in those words is “passion.” I’m passionate about singing and having my songs heard, so they reflect that. I enjoy a catchy tune that can be both meaningful and memorable.

When writing your own music, what is your process like when coming up with the sound and the lyrics?
It’s different every time. Sometimes a song comes to me when I’m playing the piano or guitar. My favorite songs I’ve written have come to me while sitting alone in the back of someone’s car on a road trip. I used GarageBand for the last eight years or so, and that’s how I got a lot of my music heard. I’ve recently (finally) upgraded to ProTools and my whole life has changed. It’s easy being able to record myself in my home studio.

You’ve said that your mom was a big musical influence growing up. How did she influence the type of music you listen to, as well as the music you make now?
That woman could harmonize to a vacuum cleaner. She really taught me the importance of finding pitch and harmonies. She listened to a lot of Enya growing up, and I still love that spacey sound in songs. (Think Coldplay.)

What is it like getting to work with Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade (also your boyfriend)? Are you thinking about any future music with him?
It was great being able to do something with him finally. He’s a pretty laid back guy, so being in the studio was just as relaxing as being at home. As far as future music, who knows! Nothing planned as of right now, and I’d like to see who else I can collaborate with.

What can listeners expect from your upcoming performance at Warped Tour?
Expect sensual, sexual lullabies and a good f-ing time!


Photo credit to Matt Burke