Roadcase Royale – Get Loud
Released on January 20th following the Concert for America: Stand Up, Sing Out and featured in the Women’s March on Austin, Texas a day later, the debut single from Nancy Wilson and Liv Warfield’s new band Roadcase Royale is a memorable track entitled “Get Loud”. The band features three members of Heart’s current lineup, Warfield on vocals, Ryan Waters on lead guitar, and Nancy Wilson’s inimitable rhythm guitar work. The first single might sound like some sort of call to arms, especially in light of the exposure it has received, but it’s a much more personal song that doesn’t deal in sweeping, politically-tinged statements and shows enough artistry to temper its exuberance. The result is one of the year’s most compelling debuts and bodes well for the six piece’s future releases. This is the sort of music we’re missing from the modern scene – stylish invocations of rock and soul that will seem familiar, but contains enough individuality to strike listeners as being something truly different and new.
Liv Warfield’s voice is the real revelation here. Far removed from her youthful membership in Prince’s New Power Generation band, Warfield’s voice may no longer be familiar to those who didn’t closely follow Prince’s recording output in the nineties. Warfield provided a key spark for that band and a lights-out talented vocalist for the Purple One to play off of, but time and added maturity has only deepened her talents. She is nothing less than a virtuoso vocalist with the way she glides through the verses and her superlative phrasing never lacks for confidence. There’s also a gentle exhortation in her voice, not quite gospel, but still difficult to resist when she urges us to use our voice and speak up for who we are and what we believe. The lyrics give her plenty to work with. This isn’t the typical cliché ridden rallying cry song and takes a more personal route to urging the audience, but it’s a well-written piece that never bites off anymore than it can chew.
The arrangement is obviously the product of great care and deliberation, but the five instrumentalists, sans Warfield, make it all sound ridiculously easy. The band, undoubtedly, benefits from Wilson’s long professional relationship with the bass player, drummer, and keyboardist since they hail from her full time job as one of Heart’s two guiding lights, but this music is far removed from what Heart does and none of them sound uncomfortable at all with the song’s fresh mix of rock and light R&B. The guitars are, nominally, the center of the music arsenal, but there’s a case to be made that bassist Dan Rothchild and drummer Ben Smith play an even more crucial role for how they hold down the bottom end while still carrying listeners through the verses. They never overplay and their restraint allows the song more room to breathe than it might otherwise enjoy. “Get Loud” is a fantastic beginning for Roadcase Royale and this unique configuration is sure to enjoy even greater future success.