2010, Bedhed And Blondy
Nashville-based quintet Bedhed And Blondy And The Sleepwalkers mix a rare gumbo of southern rock, blues, Texas blues, and anything else left over in the cupboard. This blend is eye-opening on the music palate, led by the distinctive songwriting and voice of Jay Studdard and the breathtaking pipes of Fran Jackson. Bedhed And Blondy And The Sleepwalkers released their sophomore album, Nuthin’… in November of 2010, a fast follow-up to their 9-song debut Somewhere In Memphis. Nuthin’… is certainly a misnomer, as Bedhed And Blondy And The Sleepwalkers has something special cooking down in Nashville.
Bedhed And Blondy throw down the gauntlet with the soulful blues of "Grab Hold", featuring an electric vocal performance from Fran Jackson that's sensuous without trying to be. This is an edge of your seat track, an eye-opener that will have you paying close attention throughout the rest of Nuthin'.... Jay Studdard takes over on "Yeah Yeah Yeah", a love song full of a graceful carnality that's surprisingly subtle yet poignant. Bedhed And Blond build some enticing vocal harmonies in the process. "Nuthin'" is a sorrowful country/folk ballad about the mixed emotions surrounding the breakup of a relationship. It's an acknowledgement that it's right that things end, but also dwells in the loneliness such a step brings. The melody is gorgeous, with Jackson and Studdard sharing duties with heartbreakingly beautiful results.
"Hard Times And Headaches" is written in the first person and explores the travels of a restless soul who has spent a lifetime searching for something and is now heading back home. Her constant companions are in the title, but she's finally realized that those things won't help her find what she needs. It's a moment of revelation, where the song's anti-heroine realizes that the things she's been searching for all along are the very things she's run from all these years. It's a dynamic piece of songwriting based deep in the inner truths and insecurities of the human psyche. "I've Been Thinkin'" takes a similar path to the realization that a relationship she's stumbled into is home. Jackson's vocal is inspired, full of country hues and emotional undertones that speak of personal experience.
"Not Alright" explores a relationship gone stale and the concomitant graying of the hearts involved. It's a tragedy of acquiescence told in song form; A pleasant melody with a life of its own. This is a tune you could picture on a movie or television soundtrack. Fran Jackson gets a bit of attitude in the blend of country, blues and soul that is "Poison Whiskey". Jackson rips it up in a powerful vocal full of sensual gravitas and attitude. Bedhed And Blondy wind things down with "Georgia Clay", a sleepy folk/country number born of relationship dysfunction and passivity. The song is built on a tasty little guitar riff that grows into a complex guitar accompaniment as Jay Studdard ambles his way through anger and reproach.
Bedhed And Blondy hits some real high notes with Nuthin'..., a distinctive collection of songs that screams for your attention. Jay Studdard has an easy-going vocal style that's the perfect foil for Fran Jackson's sensually acerbic alto. The songwriting on Nuthin' ranges from above average to outstanding, and is of a general quality that suggests long term success is a real possibility for the band. This is one of those albums that won't leave you alone. Don't be surprised if you keep hitting play again and again, or finally give up and put the whole thing on repeat. Bedhed And Blondy will do that to you.
Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Bedhed And Blondy And The Sleepwalkers at www.bedhedandblondy.com or www.myspace.com/bedhedandblondy. Nuthin'... is available from Amazon.com as a CD or Download. The album is also available from iTunes.