Artist Interview- Justin Payne Singer/Songwriter


Good morning, how are you? Could you introduce yourself to the readers?

Hey! I am Justin Alan Payne! I am a singer/songwriter/guitarist from Ohio, that has been based in East Nashville for 1 1/2 years. I have been making and self-releasing my own music since 2014 under the Justin Payne & Co. moniker.

Could you describe your musical journey up to this point?

It has been a long, wild, and crazy ride! I started out professionally as a solo, acoustic, singer-songwriter writing mostly in the folk-rock/Americana wheelhouse. My initial solo EP "Interstellar Vagabond" was self-released in 2014 and led to a great relationship with a high-tier booking agency, which then led to three regional solo tours, as well as two huge national routes around most of the continental US. Eventually, though, I wanted to expand and create different sounds, and play different types of crowds. My next EP, "High Water" from 2016, was my first self-released project with a band under the name Justin Payne & Co. This recording led to a regional co-tour with my buddy and fellow songwriter Zach Wilson (check him out, he's a real one). Shortly thereafter, I assembled my first electric band under the same moniker, played around our area of NW Ohio, and developed a following that led to our playing the headlining stage at the 2019 Black Swamp Arts Festival, in Bowling Green, OH. This led to a big-city tour around the Eastern and Southeastern US, as well as studio time to record the LP "Season of Loss", fresh and hot off of the road. This LP was self-released in 2021, after a long period of inactively coinciding with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent venue closures. We moved camp to Nashville in the Summer of 2021, after years of coming here for gigs and opportunities. This year in Nashville has been the most insane of the entire experience!

 Since the beginning of the year, I have written, recorded, and have been releasing singles from, our newest forthcoming LP, "underrated/overstimulated". Lots of great shows and connections have been following these efforts, including awesome music videos for two of the singles, "you're so subversive" and "together as one", with a third music video currently in the works for an LP-only song, "bad vibes".

How would you describe your sound to new listeners?

I bridge the gap between older styles of rock roll, punk rock music, and classic singer-songwriters. Our sound is a little bit Killers, a little bit Guided by Voices, with some Clash, Replacements, and Sonic Youth sprinkled in for good measure. Loud, raucous, garage rock, with a bit of a 90s/grunge vibe, but still capable of making you cry with a tender and intimate ballad.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Patti Smith, Neil Young, Robert Pollard, Townes Van Zandt, to name a few.

You have recently released ‘Together as One', What can you tell me about the track and the meaning behind the song?

"Together as one" is a song about my undying devotion and love for my fianc矇e, Miranda. At the root, it's a love ballad, but it is more realistic than most love songs, as it definitely doesn't shy away from portraying real love as a series of struggles and compromises. No rose-colored glasses on this tune, but I think that makes it all the more relatable.

I understand there have been several incarnations of Justin Payne and Co, what can you tell me about the current line-up?

There have been quite a few! The current lineup consists of two of my favorite players from my Ohio days, Eli Simon on the drums and David Cerelli on the bass. They make an absolutely crushing rhythm section, and I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to create and work with them. On the second guitar is Marshall Fassino, check him out because he is a stellar Nashville-based songwriter in his own right. All of them are top-tier players, three of us are conservatory-trained musicians after all, but most importantly, the hang is top-notch. Great friends, insights, and musical minds all rolled up into three folks I am proud to call my friends. 

This is the band I like to bring into the studio. For live dates, I also have the pleasure of working with Lauren Scheff and Joseph Jones, as an alternate Nashville-based rhythm section, and as I get to know them, they keep blowing my mind with how good they are at what they do. It has truly been a privilege to have these folks in my corner this past year, and I am excited about what the future holds for all of our collective endeavors.

What type of input do the other musicians in the band have on the overall music?

As the principal songwriter, I usually come to them with some vague ideas about arrangements for the band, and I am often surprised at how they understand even better than I do what the song needs to shine in a band setting. This collaboration has led to some sonically amazing results!

Your first release came out in 2014 called ‘Interstellar Vagabond’, do you see much difference between the music, you wrote for that album in contrast to your latest single?

Absolutely. Not only have I grown as a writer and musician between then and now, but my songwriting has become more focused and concise. I have become more open to experimentation with my songs and arrangements, shifting from acoustic folky sounds to driving garage rock. However, the same socially conscious narrative can be traced through all of my work, from beginning to present, as I attempt to cast different points of view upon the values that matter most to me. A lot of the tunes boil down to themes of love and empathy for other folks who could use some help they aren't getting, as well as anger at the corrupt institutions that have turned our society into a fascist oligarchy that couldn't care less about anyone who isn't rich or white.

I see amongst your many successes you featured in American Songwriter Magazine and secured a regional major city band tour? They sound like huge achievements. How much of an impact do you feel it had on you as a songwriter and musician breaking into the industry?

These developments only really served to show me the things that are working and the things that aren't, in a gatekeeping industry that isn't really about musicians and their art anymore. If anything, aside from the honor and privilege of being able to do these things at all, they turned my focus toward live shows, and how I believe they are one of the last remaining vestiges of real, authentic, experiences that can actually connect people. In my opinion and experience, so much of this gig has become about appearances and fakery. 

Give me something real! And the tour especially radicalized me and helped me see more clearly what aspects of the gig matter to me as an artist. Social media, music press, promo, and marketing are all tools that are important to utilize in that process, but never forget they are only that. The real-world connections at the shows are the engine that drives every other part of a career in music. It is the bottom line, and there are so many artists that seem to have that twisted, being more concerned with their socials and how they appear to the world than what they are actually offering up as part of the cultural conversation. We function best as artists as a community, not a million independent and self-centered mercenaries.

Do you have any tips for budding songwriters out there?

It is important to remember that you need to be listening and discovering as much, if not more than you are writing. Expect struggle and empty shows. This is a difficult job, with far more intangible things to maintain than a regular 9-5 job. A lot of the time you will not notice your growth and success, but that's okay. That's not our job. Our job is to make the stuff, put it out, and if we're lucky, people will connect with it. Also, don't be afraid to go your own way and do your own thing the way you want to. The industry does not serve us. You are not beholden to trends, chasing virality, or appeasing expectations of an indifferent industry more concerned with profits and TikTok numbers than the art itself. Be authentic in everything you make, and that is enough to shine through all of the fakeries in this job. Be stubborn about your values, and don't bend for money, bend for something that aligns with your values. And, don't judge and compare your journey to other artists. Comparison is the heart of misery.

Justin Payne and Co. have a new album ‘underrated/overstimulated’ in the works, what can you tell me about it, and what listeners can expect?

I don't want to give too much away, but this record is 30ish minutes of in-your-face rock n roll. No frills, no guitar solos, no studio tricks, and barely any time to come up for air. Just badass rock n roll recorded straight to analog tape. In my opinion, it's our best work yet, and concisely says the things I want to say with my unique perspective and voice.

The band has done a few tours around the States, do you plan on going on tour again? And do you have any particular venue you would love to play at?

I have no plans on touring anytime soon. Although I have had great experiences in the past that tangibly helped my career and development, the landscape has drastically changed the more our society collapses into late-stage Capitalist decay. Established, and signed to a record label, artists are coming back from routes in debt these days. Another sign that the times and the industry do not serve us or our intentions. If conditions were ideal, though, I would love the opportunity to play Space in Evanston IL, on the Sunset Strip in LA, and the Blue Room at Third Man Records, in Nashville.

And finally, what are the future aspirations for Justin Payne and Co?

My partner and I need a vacation. We have both been working extra hard on our goals throughout 2022, and it's been years since we got away. Planning on writing a new record on the beach while I am in Puerto Rico with Miranda. Outside of that, I just want to grow, meet and collaborate with more like-minded artists, and continue to strengthen and build our badass musical community here in East Nashville.

Interview conducted by Anselm Anderson©






'Together as One'


Album Review- Prince Bishop- All is Due


British Alt Rock trio Prince Bishop released their debut album All Is Due last week. Hailing from Durham, North-East England, the trio successfully attempted to create a unique sound that reflects a journey of self-discovery.

Prince Bishop originally recorded as a vocal and acoustic guitar performance before Covid reared its ugly head. Instead, they decided to create a 'Live band in a room 'experience. They did this with enhanced layers of studio work. The 44-minute LP features luscious vocal melodies, sweet acoustics, and powerful alternative rock.

'The Good of Good Will' is a haunting passage of Hammond organ amongst a crescendo of reverb and solemn harmonies to welcome the album to a new audience.

Next up is 'Come Alive' a more upbeat Indie track with vocal melodies over simply strummed guitar rhythms. The album continues in this tone with radio-friendly songs like 'Return' and the latest single 'Soul of a Man' The band feature some introspective ballads in the nature of 'Why' and 'Way of Things'

The songwriter has chosen tracks wisely to convey to the audience their journey from everyday struggles to inner peace. Other highlights to listen out for on 'All is Due' are the dreamy soundscapes on 'Roman Roads' and the lullaby 'All is Due' on the final track.

Overall, Prince Bishop will feel they have paid their dues with a solid debut full of wistful lyrics, tantalizing music, and an uplifting voyage of discovery.

Words by Anselm Anderson. Rating 7.5/10



‘All Is Due’ tracklisting:
01 The Ghost of Good Will; 02 Come Alive; 03 Return; 04 Soul of A Man; 05 Why; 06 Way of Things; 07 Truth Lies In Between; 08 You Can Count on Me; 09 Roman Roads; 10 All Is Due.

Prince Bishop is Ben Trenerry (vocals, guitar), Mark Bell (bass), and Bob Douglass (drums).


'Soul of a Man'


Song Review- Plastic Barricades: Lucid in the Fall

Photo Courtesy of Elina Pasok

London-based Indie Rock outfit Plastic Barricades introduce the world to a taste of what's to come on their upcoming new studio album We Stayed Indoors. 'Lucid in the Fall' is accompanied by the B-side single 'Tallest Trees'. Both tracks reflect the never-ending lockdowns of the dreaded Global Pandemic era.

Recorded in collaboration with Sheffield-based drummer Chris Barber and German singer/songwriter Aellie Koto, the band's third studio effort focuses on tricky subjects such as Mental health, poverty courage, etc. The brainchild of London-based singer/songwriter Dan Kert, Plastic Barricades also worked with British singer/songwriters John Sibley and Luke Joyce in getting this album finished.Tom Hill mixed the album at Brookhouse studios with longtime collaborator Andy Baldwin mastering at Metropolis Studios

'Lucid in the Fall' is a melodic tale of gluttony and shopping sprees during Lockdown. Beautiful
and enchanting vocals harmonize over simply strummed electric acoustic guitars to reflect the pressures of the time. Words by Anselm Anderson



'Lucid in the Fall'

'Tallest Trees'


Album Review- Jordan Red- Hands That Built the World

Modern Rock duo Jordan Red recently self-released their debut LP Hands That Built the World too much anticipation, following their inception during the dreaded Global Pandemic era. Recorded at Long Wave Studio and produced, mixed, and mastered by renowned record producer Romesh Dodangoda. The band soon set to work to produce something that reflected their own personal struggles. 'Hands That Built the World' focuses on the concept of overcoming challenges in life.

The band's brand of 21st-century rock and Alternative metal mixed with a punk attitude will certainly appeal to a new fanbase, eager to listen to an influx of types currently gracing the airwaves. Jordan Red was first formed by Guitarist Dan Baker and New Device vocalist Daniel Leigh. They combined the names of Clinical Psychologist Jordan B Peterson and the red pill concept from The Matrix film franchise to "seek out the truth by viewing reality through a red pill lens".

This 12-track release hopes to seek those answers by starting with the anthemic 'Awake',a melodic rock track with fist-pumping riffs and pop vocals over loud guitars and whirling effects. It certainly is a good song to introduce listeners to Jordan Red

Photo courtesy of Marianne Harris

Next up is the dark 'Spilling My Blood', taking the band through a different route. The latest single features razor-sharp riffs and a singalong chorus. The eerie pedal effects add uneasiness and a sense of lost hope to the songs on this album.

The LP takes a commercial direction through 'Beautiful Monsters' and the title track 'Hands That Built the World', which runs the risk of coming across as sounding too similar. Thankfully, the crunchy metal of 'Way Down' and 'Freak Show' helps steer the album to a more suitable sound for the vocalist and the other musicians. The warmth and connectivity of Leigh's vocals come across better on the heavier tracks in part with the help of Baker and bassist Connor O' Keefe and drummer Dave Fee.

Overall, Jordan Red is helping to build a new world of modern rock for a 21st-century suffering the side effects of war and disease. The band helps to achieve this through their positive vibes and songs for fans of Melodic Hard Rock.

Words by Anselm Anderson: Rating 7/10

Jordan Red is:

Daniel Leigh - Vocals
Dan Baker - Guitar

Studio/Live Musicians:
Conor O'Keefe - Bass
Dave Fee - Drums

Connect with Jordan Red:

Official Website: https://www.jordan-red.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jordanredband
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jordanred
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jordanredband
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jordanredband
TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@jordanredband

You can listen to the album below;


EP REVIEW- HWDU-Better You Than Me


Stoner Rock four-piece HWDU (Pronounced Hoodoo) returns with another blend of heavy rock from Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom. The six-track EP Better You Than Me is a follow-up to last year's debut EP Love Crime, A release this blog gave glowing reviews for. 

The self-proclaimed 'Twp Rockers' have been growing their fanbase since last year with support slots at local gigs in support of Ohmms, Boss Keloid, and Tuskar, and with upcoming support slots to Revival Black and Nick Olivieri in November,

The four-piece comprises lead vocalist and guitarist Matt Williams, Johnny Randall (Guitars and Vocals), drummer and vocalist Owen Foote, and bassist Gavin Smith.

The EP evolves from 'Love Crime' with more riffs and heavier songs to sink your teeth into. The lead single 'Machine' opens up with its alternative rock feeling. The singalong chorus and hook-laden riffs make this an infectious track to kick things off.  Next up is the pop-punk of the title track 'Better You Than Me'. The distorted guitars and accessible vocals remind me of bands like Foo Fighters. As I have mentioned, this EP ventures through different styles and genres to really explore the band's sound.

'President' is a reminder that HWDU still likes to bust out the odd stoner grooves in the guise of acts like Clutch. The sliding guitar salvos on 'Squat' could be the closest the band gets to an Americana track from the sunny Climates of Southwest Wales. 'White Horse' is an aggressive stoner track with pounding drums. heavily-distorted guitars and melodic breakdowns that sound like the band have enjoyed making this release. And finally, the trippy 'Lotus Eater' combines extensive guitar interplay that incorporates blues and jazz with emotive vocals to complete this outing for HWDU.

Overall, HWDU continues to grow as a band with some decent riffs, infectious vocals, and songs to kick back and rock to.

The album is now available via Bandcamp.

Words by Anselm Anderson: Rating 8/10

If you enjoyed this review of HWDU, please click on the link below to read about their debut EP 'Love Crime'.

EP OF THE WEEK- HWDU-LOVE CRIME | Rambling Man's Reviews (anselmanderson.blogspot.com)






Single Review- The Comancheros- Blue Yodel in G.


Southern Rock acts The Comancheros return with their latest single 'Blue Yodelling', ahead of their new album Memphis to Mexico, released on November 25th.

Formed in 2015, the trio has been touring non-stop throughout the states, supporting Blackberry Smoke, Cadilac Three, Whiskey Myers, etc. The band is better known for their 2022 cover of 'Mississippi Kid' by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Produced by Kentucky Headhunters' Richard Young. 'Blue in Yodel G' is a straight-up southern rock 'N' roll track that describes the everyday stresses of life.

The opening slide guitar intro builds to an infectious refrain and pounding drums. The track is a typical southern rock track full of attitude and having a good time.

Words by Anselm Anderson

You can read the interview with The Comancheros below;

Artist Interview- The Comancheros "We wanted to know what it would sound like if Van Halen did a Waylon Jennings cover album." | Rambling Man's Reviews (anselmanderson.blogspot.com)

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