By Clayton Chaney
Assistant Music Director
Artist: River Whyless
Album: Kindness, A Rebel
Release Date: June 8, 2018
Kindness, A rebel is the third full length studio album from the indie-folk/americana group out of Asheville, North Carolina. The album is comprised of 11 tracks with a range of dynamic sounds that express the changes we experience throughout our lives, and how we can learn to overcome our egos for a greater cause by always striving to be truly kind. As the band will tell you, “true kindness is actually quite difficult.” That’s because it might take some effort to always engage with people and show authentic compassion in every situation. The album as a whole takes you on brilliantly paced adventure that provides clarity, with relaxing yet stimulating pieces.
“All of my Friends” is the first track on the album which starts off with a steady synth – pounding like a heart – that is kept calm by subtle and comforting vocals. The second track, “Born in the Right Country,” continues the theme of a steady synth pouding, but picks up the tempo and gets a little bit louder with sharp guitar licks fuller drum loops.
The fourth track is by far the most stand-out track on the album. This one is a celebration of life that will get you up and moving with jumpy and cheerful acoustic guitar chords, paired with passionate lyrics. The beautiful lyricism in this expresses how we feel when we find peace from the struggles of our lives. In this case Daniel Shearin, vocalist, is singing about the ultimate change of death and how we should celebrate the life that was lived and the freedom experienced. There is an undoubtable sense of proudness behind the line “I was lost like a politician, caught up in a game of tug of war,” as it seems like he has beaten a demon. As the song comes to a close it is clear he no longer carries the burden of the fear of death, and he invites you celebrate as he sings “wanna see you dancing in the glow of sundown all around, all around so free, so free all around my grave.”
Hopping down to the seventh track, “The Feeling of Freedom,” is one of the faster pieces off the album. The quick drums and bouncy guitar riffs build up to a liberating violin solo. This one gets you feeling ancy as it builds up fast, but relieves you and lets you shake out all your tension before it gets too overwhelming.
The last track “Mama Take Your Time” closes out the album on a slower note that gently brings you back down to earth after wandering through your mind. The slow drums and melodic acoustics make it easy to sink into this one as it turns into an anthem that might keep you from ever getting in a rush again.
There is as much (if not more) beauty in the in-between pieces of this puzzle as there is in these handful of tracks. The album has cohesive aspects as it carries a similar theme throughout it – which can be experienced to the fullest when enjoyed in its entirety. Overall, Kindness, A Rebel is an uplifting album that lets you feel free and happy to be here. Nothing feels better than being able to connect with one another. This is made possible by being able to freely express ourselves and constantly striving to simply be kind and to help each other grow. This album creates a warm atmosphere that offers relief and clarity about our uncertain lives.
Don’t miss your chance to see River Whyless as they are touring the country this summer, making a pitstop in Austin on July 27 for which is sure to be an incredible Austin City Limits live show!