After completing their 2019 “Speck” Tour in the fall, The Boxmasters’ Bud and J.D. did as they ordinarily do and went back to the studio with a few songs and started recording. Another album titled “Boxmasters ’66” was already finished before the tour, so with only the idea that the new songs would be a followup to that the recording process began. Drawing upon the sounds of the Vox Jaguar, Mellotron and Farfisa keyboards The Boxmasters formed their 9threlease “Light Rays.”
“Boxmasters ’66 was our album that took mid ’60’s garage-rock as its underlying influence and so we wanted to follow it up with an album that took a later ’60’s direction. And after we were done we decided that “Light Rays” should be the next release and “’66” we would try to release in conjunction with the 2021 ‘Record Store day’ says J.D. “Also “Light Rays” is the first album that Bud and I recorded without any outside collaboration. We recorded a few songs at Barefoot Recording where they had a vintage Vox Jaguar and I played it on the songs and it just had such a distinct sound that we were totally knocked out by. It has a sound that blends into a track in a way that modern reproductions can’t do.”
“Light Rays” starts off the album with the first track and single “Breathe Easy,” a breezy pop song that any parent can relate to. “It’s a song to my daughter Bella explaining why I’m so over-protective.” says Bud. Says J.D. “As a father myself, I totally related to the lyric and it is the only time I’ve cried when I read a lyric that Bud sent me.”
Other highlights from “Light Rays” include the title track about a man in a mental institution singing to the object of his infatuation and “Satellite Guy” which is a track influenced by The Boxmasters’ love of the legendary Los Angeles band War. “Learn to Be,” a song about rejecting the learning of hate and discrimination was the first song that J.D. wrote on the piano. “I started this song on the piano at Henson Recording during the first session we had after a good friend and mentor of mine had passed away. I started several melancholy songs and the chords that became “Learn to Be” were something that I just couldn’t stop playing.”
“Come What May” is the lone song that J.D. and Bud did not write. “‘The Yardleys’ were a local band where I grew up that were my heroes. They recorded a couple of singles and this song was written by Larry Byrd and Bucky Griggs when they were around 16. We loved it and wanted to keep it very similar to what The Yardleys did on their original.” explains Bud.
“Light Rays” will be the first album that The Boxmasters have released that won’t have a tour based on it to support the release due to the Coronavirus. A European, Canadian and U.S. tour was booked for the summer of 2020 but has been postponed until the summer of 2021 which was a first for The Boxmasters. “We’ve always talked about touring Europe and we’ve heard from many fans over the years that they would love to see us. So we were very excited about the opportunity to play our music in front of a lot of different audiences that haven’t heard us live before.” says J.D.
Formed in 2007, The Boxmasters have recorded an impressive and diverse catalogue of music that touches on their love of a wide array of influences, but most importantly, the rock and roll of the 1960’s. Listening to The Boxmasters, one can hear obvious odes to the Beatles, Byrds and Beach Boys, but also important to The Boxmasters are The Mothers of Invention, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine and Big Star.
Since forming The Boxmasters, several long-time friends have contributed to the sound of the band, but the core of The Boxmasters has always been Andrew and Thornton. As primary songwriters, the sound of the Boxmasters has been an evolution as the duo constantly strive to find new inspiration, new sounds and new ways of expressing what is in their hearts and on their minds. But at the core, there is a backbeat, a lyric with meaning and music played with emotion.
As a touring band, The Boxmasters have cultivated a rabid cult fanbase across the United States and Canada. Opening for the likes of ZZ Top, Steve Miller, George Thorogood and Kid Rock The Boxmasters have proven to win over large audiences. As a headliner, frequent stops in Kansas City at “Knuckleheads”, Springfield, Illinois at “Boondocks” and “Merrimack Hall” in Huntsville, Alabama have shown dedicated yet still growing audiences. Two appearances at Levon Helm’s “Midnight Ramble” in Woodstock, New York were highlight performances for the band, as well as the “Ramble at The Ryman” that Levon hosted in 2008. The Boxmasters performed on “The Grand Ole Opry” in 2015, another in a growing resume of must-play venues.
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