Around 32k followers. That’s about how many followers Blacktop Mojo had on Facebook when they finally came across my headphones and certainly got my attention. A few years later and lord knows how many live shows and photo shoots, they still do. We connected, I guess you could say. They seem to have that impact on people.
In a relatively short amount of time I’ve seen a whole lot of Mojo. I’ve seen them anywhere from the small venue to the Dos Equis Pavillion in Dallas. Usually up close with my Pentax in tow getting shots of the guys as they grow. Yea, a whole lot of that growth stuff has been happening and it seems they never miss an opportunity to show it off. But before we get to Static, let’s back up and look at this growth.
Their first self-titled effort was in all honesty, one hell of a raw debut. Potential out the ass. While certainly good music, you knew there was something more. Next up, Burn the Ships. Ok – we’re seeing the band widen their talents here and mixing it up some. Same style; this southern grunge they do. Same style but something a bit more.
While front-man Matt James cuts loose vocally on their cover of Dream On (yea, that song), you see the depth of the band in “Prodigal” and “Underneath”. It gets personal and suddenly you find yourself able to relate in a manner you simply didn’t expect. Were they singing about you in these songs? Sure seems like it, doesn’t it? While certainly on the slower side, the raw passion takes you in and suddenly these songs *do* become about you. Rare is the band that can hit you so hard with something so quiet.
At this point, Blacktop Mojo recorded a live video for “In the Air Tonight” in of all places, a brewery. But hey, 4 million views can’t be wrong, right? Riding the wave of views, this became a hallmark for live shows as Catt Murtis would join James in the audience and get the crowd to sing along to this very song. As 4 million views built up, everyone wanted to be a part of those moments. Blacktop Mojo found a way to make that happen time and time again. Hey, I got to sing with the guys in Paris, TX for one show.
There’s that connection I was talking about. You become part of something at a live BTM show.
I’ve already got a review up for Under the Sun so please feel free to check it out. My one thought about Under the Sun was we didn’t have the wide range to go from say Burn the Ships to Prodigal. The depth this time went to a southern grunge blues. Surprise! Another release, another side to the band and we grow all over again.
Enter Static. Recorded at the same time as Under the Sun, the songs themselves are just a glimpse into their growing collection of unreleased gems they will hopefully continue to put out as they can.
“This was all recorded during the Under the Sun cycle” Catt Murtis let me know. “The End was technically the first song we wrote after Burn the Ships.”
One of the released songs, “Watch Me Drown” Matt James recently went into some detail on Facebook about the story itself.
“This song was written at a mental valley in my life. I was in my head all the time.” James explained. “I was angry. I was depressed. I felt like I was obviously down in the dumps and couldn’t understand why no one could see that I was in pain.”
One of the most amazing things I’ve come to see in Blacktop Mojo over the years is how they go through the same cycles as the rest of us, but unlike the rest of us, they have the talent to say it in a manner we all find so fascinating. They say what we feel in a way we only wish we could express.
And we connect.
I don’t want to go into this song by song; you do that. It should be pretty obvious I hold a special appreciation for Blacktop Mojo and even a short EP such as Static is most welcome and needed in the world of rock and roll today. On May 29th, discover yourself some brand new Blacktop Mojo and figure out what it means to you. That’s the 2nd most amazing things you can do with new music. When shows fire up again and the guys hit the road, make it a point to go out and see them live.
Make that connection; that’s the most amazing thing you can do.
See our Renegade Radio Profile for more info about Blacktop Mojo.5