AUGUST ALBUM OF THE MONTH
A wellbeing tonic for troubled times, Marshall Potts delivers an album of musical sunshine that will brighten your day.
We live in dark times; the media selling fear, tribalism on social media, polarisation in politics – and too many people worrying about money and profit as the icebergs continue to melt. It is a time for rock n roll to testify again and some bands have done this with class and panache. With the new albums from Scarlet Rebels and Amongst Liars, we’ve seen bands protest against society’s wrongs, whilst Marillion’s new opus tackled the climate emergency with urgency and depth.
The Marshall Potts album is also music for our times but he uses music to lift and inspire rather than to protest. There is more than enough room for both forms of music, but sometimes when you live through dark times you need music that affirms belief in the human condition to do good. Music that encourages you to make the world a better place. What Marshall Potts brings us is hope.
I have enjoyed this album because it makes you feel good. It’s an album that feels close to the natural world, the life and vitality of sunshine oozes through the music lending it a healing quality. From the clean air, mountains and pine forests of Canada the music is a crossover between rock and country – but in an age when genres don’t help, this album is really a showcase of good song writing. Alongside albums from the likes of Austin Jenckes, Melissa Etheridge, this album works well as music just to enjoy for good songwriting, an expressive voice and involved storytelling.
‘The Change’ is a song as vital as a summer’s morning – the bright light, the blooming plants, the clean air, the vitality of life. Upbeat, full of belief and promise – this is a hopeful song where the music empowers and inspires: “We have to change / it’s not too late / I don’t believe things should stay the same, I believe things have to change.” As we all stare at the drama of calamity in the news or on social media, we need to be reminded that we can be the change and that it’s never too late to start a positive journey. From this song, change is good, it is empowering and it can be easy to make a start. A track that sets the mood for the album that unfolds.
‘Free And Easy’ serves up one of those big arena anthems – with rock and country roots crossing over, it’s one of those songs for summer festivals, hands in the air as the summer sun goes down. The end of the song almost has a ‘We Will Rock You’ moment, a song about an audience being together in a moment. And the great thing about rock concerts in arenas or football stadiums is everyone is on the same side. Music’s ability to remind us what we have in common is one of its timeless qualities.
Title track ‘The Storm’ is a standout – imbuing the drama of a looming storm. The lyrics again are strong – “We are worlds apart / didn’t I warn you, when the wind comes it brings change.” In a way, we need to go through a storm to come out the other side better. Again the message “we have to change our ways” reminds us of the work to be done to heal a world that is at a tipping point. But again, as is the theme through this album, we have the answers, we have the ability to be the change. This is a positive, enabling message we all need to hear more often. Change doesn’t come from shocking news headlines and blaming others, it comes from us being the change we want in the world. And it’s time to wake up.
‘Heaven Or Home’ is special. From the opening 20 seconds, it’s clear this is a perfect radio song for summer. Melodic, uplifting, catchy and fun. One for the car with the roof and windows down.
From its first play on the Friday show, ‘Heaven Or Home’ instantly clicked with listeners and has gone on to become one of the Top 5 requested songs of the last six weeks – often called by people that knew nothing about the artist. And here is the hallmark of a great song. It’s not over-baked, but nothing is wasted and there’s nothing that’s not needed. It just works. I have a feeling it’s still going to be on the playlist by Christmas. A song that just lifts your day and makes you feel good, no matter what kind of day you’re having.
‘Hearts In The Sky’ is a tender and heartfelt acoustic love song. Great control and build in the vocal. Another summer song, for the garden in the evening when the party’s over and there’s still a few candles burning between the wine glasses.
The clue may be in the name but I think ‘I Like The Fall’ will be a big song for the autumn when the leaves fall, the reds the browns being a favourite time of year for many. This is another muscular, empowering song. With “We can be stronger” the force of the chorus lines inspire. And set against angry protest songs, sometimes we need music to inspire us to stand up and make the world better. The counterpoint between the delicate verses and power choruses works well. And of note, none of the songs are too long. Coming in between three and four minutes, the songs start and finish well with purpose and without fading. Well-constructed songs.
‘Let It All Go’ – a self-help song for good wellbeing, time to learn about yourself and heal. The song encourages you to take time for yourself and free yourself from dark shadows of life and find freedom. A simple song but an honest and direct piece about a state of mind – and, as The Beatles showed us, sometimes the simple songs work the best.
After a helping of soul food from ‘Never Gets Old’, ‘Rope’ ushers in a galloping country cowboy party at a Canadian rock & roll ranch. Frantic and high energy, this is one to dance around to, it brings a nice touch of variety to the album.
The album closer ‘Thank You’ finishes with the glass as being half full. Take a moment to be thankful for what’s good in life and use it as a building block. The album closes with a warm heart.
For rockers that define a good album by how loud it is, this one may not be for you. This album is about the truth of good songwriting and its message is one of hope. Whilst we all get distracted by the wrong things in life, and social media gets filled up with people seeking attention and affirmation, the elephant in the room is we have a world to look after. We need to change so the world we are passing through can heal. This is an album that tells us all it’s time to stand up and be the change, one person at a time.
Everyone in rock in roll has favourite genres or sub-genres. Everyone has favourite bands and some people like new bands that sound a bit like the old bands they love. This album by Marshall Potts doesn’t fit within a box or silo. It’s a collection of fluently-conceived songs and it will bring hope and summer sunshine to anyone that gives it a listen. There’s a time for heavy rock, for prog and metal. And beyond this, there’s always room for an album in your collection that just makes you feel happy. Marshall Potts has released the summer album that brings hope to a troubled world that desperately needs to change and heal.
The Storm and merch available at: https://store.marshallpotts.com/index.php/shop/
Band members, instruments played
Marshall Potts – singer, song writer, vocals and guitar
Kirby Kaye – Guitar – originally from Montreal, Quebec
Chris MacAlpine – Drums
Mitch Potts – Piano/Keyboards
Stephen Franz – Bass – originally from Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada
PR / publicity