Trey Connor is a singer/songwriter and guitarist from the Detroit/Flint area who has been playing music professionally since the age of 13. His first sustained public success came with fronting the local act Bulletproof Snow, praised in numerous quarters and recipient of a bevy of awards, but he’s taken another important step with the recording and release of his debut solo album. The six song EP While Everything Is Now is a fully realized pop rock gem with energy to burn, a little ambition, and confidence far beyond his scant twenty years on the planet. Despite his skills as a guitarist, Trey Connor never takes any virtuoso trips on this release and surrounds himself with a coterie of musicians equally focused on serving the song first and reining their egos in. The track listing shows considerable thought and While Everything Is Now flows in a live, very organic way.
“What You Are (My Spark)” is the perfect opener for his EP and recording career. One can interpret this song a number of ways; part of its serious fun is that it’s just as applicable to Connor’s relationship with the audience as it is to the love song form. There’s guitars, bass, and drums powering this song musically, but none of them are ever heavy-handed enough to throw the song’s balance out of whack. “Stay” relaxes some in comparison. The design of the song focuses on steadily elevating its intensity while never rushing things too much. Connor keeps a sharp eye on the running times throughout this EP, never taxing the listener’s patience with even a single gratuitous note or line, so it is a careful balancing act between giving songs just the right build and making sure never to overextend the composition. It has the same fist-pumping qualities heard in the first track and later songs. “Hold On” is another perfect example of that. This is much more of an audience song than the previous two, in the sense that Connor is speaking much more directly to his listeners than ever before, and he handles another slow build with even more artfulness than he mustered for the preceding track.
He sets the EP on rock and roll fire with his guitar work on “You”, but his band mates are every bit as much up to the task and turn in an authoritative performance in support. His ability to confidently handle a raw-edged rock song reveals another side to Connor’s musical character. He proves that he certainly has the capacity, not to forget the bravery, for surprising listeners with the thoughtful acoustic song “My Ghosts” and it’s further to his credit that the reality of a twenty year old singing about being haunted doesn’t produce any eye rolls from the audience. The final track “Best of Days” sort of straddles the line between the rockier attitude of the preceding track and pop sensibilities of the opening trio of songs. It finishes While Everything Is Now on a grand note and with tremendous flair.
8 out of 10 stars