Often you hear the phrase, “There are no cool rock bands anymore.” This makes sense to someone who just follows mainstream music because rock has been dead in the mainstream for a while. But bands like Cranford Hollow can assure that rock is not only alive, but it’s still kicking ass. It’s just not on the radio. It’s out there in the independent scene and at concerts across the world, its natural environment far away from corporations and suits who wouldn’t know rock if it bit them in the ass. Cranford Hollow is one of those bands that occupies a unique space, somewhere between country and rock, or put more simply southern rock. Cranford Hollow, made up of – John Cranford (vocals, guitar), Eric Reid (vocals, fiddle), Yannie Reynecke (guitar), Phillips Sirmans (bass) and Randy Rockalotta (drums), is the example of the hard working, hard touring American band.
Cranford Hollow, based in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA, criss-crosses the Southeast, the West and Midwest, year in year out, building a following based on word of mouth about their live performances. This progression is also recognizable throughout their discography as each album represents a step forward in the production and in songwriting.
We’re not talking major shifts as they operate within the well-defined, yet fairly broad paradigms of southern rock, and each of their releases shows a band becoming more and more confident in their craft.
Cranford Hollow has now released their 5th album, entitled “Color/Sound/Renew/Revive”, and from it comes their latest single – “And You Brutus”. The track swings into view with its countrified rock aura – an addictive beat and a melodic nous that should carry a health warning.
The rich, liquid-electric and warm acoustic guitars keep the pace beautifully with the rhythm section, capturing the lethargic heat of a Southern homestead just rising for the day, while John Cranford’s lightly whiskey-stained voice proves to be both evocative and powerful.
The sound taps into a cultural heritage that harks back to the likes of the Allman Brothers and Vince Gill and stakes a claim for Cranford Hollow being one of the prominent torch-bearers for Americana based music right now. The song plows a laid-back furrow to your heart with its guitar strum and its sweet and subtle, yet fiery lead work and lush vocal harmonies.
There’s a warm Southern breeze that drifts across this track, which occasionally rises to a subtle squall, sounding like Zakk Wylde taking on Bob Seger with its distorted guitar interludes and gritty vocals leading the listener into an ecstatic, smooth gospel-infused chorus worthy of the Black Crowes in their heyday.
What’s amazing is how flawless they make it look. But I probably shouldn’t be surprised. Cranford Hollow isn’t your ordinary Southern rock band.