Chicago-based Americana threesome Midnight Canyon releases their self-titled debut EP, a delicious blend of country-rock, pop, and SoCal-flavored soft rock.
Midnight Canyon comprises Pat McKillen (lead vocals, 12-string guitar), Packy Lundholm (bass, electric guitar, B3 organ, backing vocals), and Danny Chaimson (piano, backing vocals), who initially got together during quarantine/lockdown to jam. With everything put on hold, jamming seemed like a good way to fill the time.
As soon as they began playing together, things started to click. Songs began to take shape, so they invited drummer Jordan Kozer to join in as they recorded. Once the tracks were laid down, they burnished them in the studio at Danny’s house.
Listening to what they had created, the trio decided it was too good not to be released. They picked five of their favourite songs for an EP. The selected songs reveal intoxicating aromas reminiscent of Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, the Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac, along with touches of contemporary tones, mirroring present-day folk-rock, with dollops of pop.
There’s a freshness to the EP – the result of its pristine creative matrix, where the artists gathered just to make music, without any intention of producing an album. In other words, art for the sake of art, like a painter brushing colours on canvas simply to create beautiful images.
While all five tracks are worthy of attention, three stand out as must-listen-to entry points. “Where The Ocean Starts,” rides softly glistening guitars supported by rounded percussion and a throbbing bassline. Rife with echoes of early Springsteen, the tune projects an alluring glow bathed in scrumptious textures. McKillen’s redolent voice imbues the lyrics with tender wistful timbres.
“Meet me where your river turns / I will meet you where my fire burns / With my suitcase bare in an empty car / I will meet you where the ocean starts.”
“Angels & Devils” invokes dazzling flavours of folk-rock allied with country-rock savors. A twinkling piano merges with a braying organ to deliver iridescent textures, while McKillen’s voice offers low-slung plush tones.
“I’m gonna change my heart / Gonna change my mind / Don’t waste my love / Don’t waste my time / Sleep with the devil in your bed.”
When the guitar solo kicks in, the track elicits Dicky Betts’ stellar guitar work on “Jessica,” underscored by the scintillating piano runs.
Jackson Browne comes to mind when listening to “On My Radio,” with its simple chords offering yummy inflections as radiant backing vocals fill the tune with misty colours. Although the lyrics are melancholic, there’s an indulgent allure to the harmonics, warm and filled with haunting filaments.
Suffused with elegance, Midnight Canyon is both charismatic and gracefully wrought. Listen to the EP below: