High-School Journalists Review Recent Houston Releases
By Lia Markantonis
In The Mighty Orq's Soulful City, an album named impeccably for the captivating blues culture it exemplifies, independently produced and locally supported music shines.
Performing the majority of music and vocals himself, Orq enthralls the masses, especially local listeners well-acquainted with Houston. "Cigarettes in Heaven" and "Houston Blues" intrigue as pieces of homegrown culture that not only open my memory to the blues of local artists that I grew up hearing in Houston's West Alabama Ice House, a social hotspot my father owns and operates, but also to time spent with my stepfather, a native Houstonian who always sings at home as well as in a local cover band.
Comprised of original lyrics laid over instrumental music of few elements, Mighty Orq's soulful riffs are irresistible in "Me and the Devil" as well as his cover of the gospel song, "I Saw the Light."
Within the album jacket, he gives credit to organizations that make his work possible, such as the Houston Arts Alliance and The Houston Blues Society. Sincere thanks to these for empowering their local artists; it is a gift.
Lia Markantonis is "Greek, British, a part-time singer and a full-time worker. I'm a St. Pius X High School junior."
The Dead Rabbits have created a wildly unique sound that blends power-packing punk with fast-paced bluegrass, sprinkled with a seasoning of Spanish influence. The loud, soulful vocals cut through the mix and deliver aggressive yet humorous lyrics. Heavy-hitting electric guitars clash with acoustic bluegrass and flamenco lines in a manner reminiscent of the Charlie Daniels Band. A talented drummer keeps the songs racing, and impressively tight.
Their music is a neat symbolic union between the Latin/folk roots of the South and the punk hustle-and-bustle of the city. In songs such as "Doin' Time," the vocalists show off their ability to deliver an upbeat and rather beautiful tune, in contrast to songs such as the album opener "Hold Your Breath." which demonstrates the lead vocalist's raw power.
Beyond the music that they have written, the Dead Rabbits' album, Our Day Will Come, is exceptionally well-produced. The engineering sounds consistent, polished and dynamic. It captures both the peaks of the erupting amplifiers as well as the softer troughs of the delicate mandolins and violins. All in all, the Dead Rabbits present an incredibly refreshing sound that is sure to intrigue.
Grayson Schoenfeld is a senior at Taylor High School. Multiinstrumentalist, audio engineer and music producer, he also writes for his school newspaper. He plans to take his skills with him to Austin in order to pursue a career in the industry.
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