The universe works in mysterious ways. Meeting The Vegbonds was one of those days when everything aligned perfectly in my universe. I woke up May 14, 2019 and found I had a message from Paul Bruens, the bass player of the Vegabonds, asking if I could come out to their show at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta where they were opening for Lukas Nelson and The Promise of the Real. Of course I said yes, I love going to shows and discovering new music. What I discovered was that The Vegabonds understand southern rock all the way down to a molecular level and prove it even more on their fifth album “V”.
The Vegabonds consist of five members; Daniel Allen (vocals), Richard Forehand (Electric Guitar), Paul Bruens (Bass), Beau Cooper (Piano), and Bryan Harris (Drums) who met while they were attending Auburn University. The combination of the five creates a Tom Petty/ Cross Canadian Ragweed vibe, making this southern girl’s heart flutter.
The Vegabonds “V” album gives us an album that has many dynamic shadings, electrifying guitar chords, solid thought provoking lyrics, and vocals that drip with just the right amount of southern twang.
Southern rock is a genre that many bands have attempted to take on, most falling short. I grew up forty five minutes from where The Allman Brothers recorded with Capricorn Records and wrote many of their finest songs while living near Rose Hill Cemetery. I’ve learned that this kind of music is not something that is taught, rather it’s a small seed inside of the musician from the time they’re born that’s watered with sweet tea, fertilized with boiled peanut shells and grows wild like blackberry bushes.
“Partyin’ With Strangers” is the first song on the album and one that stands out immediately, from the very first chords it sucks you in. It pulled me in even further once I heard the line “Today there was a melody in my head/ turns out it was your favorite song by The Dead/ You’re both taken and damn it’s a shame.” We all remember a painful breakup and the roller coaster of emotions that come along with seeing them out in public for the first time, living a life that seems vastly different from the one shared with a significant other. The deep ache of realizing the person you loved has actually moved on with their life. Daniel Allen’s vocals have just the right amount nostalgia and ache that move like water with the upbeat tempo of the music.
The second song, “Generation of Happiness” is such a poignant song and one so many of us can relate to, especially the millennial generation. We were bombarded with technology and socio-economic issues all at once. “Oh yeah/here comes the generation of happiness/ getting high on change and having growing pains.” Those lyrics spark a familiar feeling; we are the generation who has to work more than ever before just to get by, some of us working two or three jobs just to put food on the table. Growing up in the 90’s it seemed like every one was doing well. The economy was booming and it seemed that everyone had money, which made us believe that when we grew up we would have our own shot at that kind of happiness.
“Best I Can” is the sixth song on the album and opens up with an electrifying guitar rift that I couldn’t help but groove to. This song reminds us that sometimes all we can do is wake up and give the ‘it’ everything we have. Some days we feel drained, like there is never enough of us to go around, this song is the inspiration we all need on days like that, all you can do is your best and never give up.
“ Have mercy on a poor boy/ I’m doing the best I can/ I ain’t ever claimed to be more than I am/ if you could see my good intentions/ I think you would understand/ I’m just a poor boy doing the best I can.”
Music can change my mood and I always like to listen to music as I get dressed for work; it helps me get ready to tackle the day. Since I’ve had the Vegabond’s album this has been one of my regular morning songs, adding a little more pep in my step and getting me ready to take on the day. To me, that’s how you know a song is good, it inspires you, it lifts your mood, it reaches inside and plants a seed of hope.
This whole album is Southern rock gold and as refreshing as jumping into cold water on a summer day in Georgia. The Vegabonds did not disappoint and accomplished making a true southern rock album, an album I’m sure the fathers of southern rock would truly appreciate. Are you listening, Gregg?