County Line Strangers
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County Line Strangers

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Nov
21
County Line Strangers @ Preservation Pub

Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

Nov
07
County Line Strangers @ The Independent

Auburn, Alabama, USA

Auburn, Alabama, USA

Oct
16
County Line Strangers @ Prevue Music Hall

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


"This is the best original country music I have yet to hear in the South" --Julie Silverman (A&R Citi-Jamz Entertainment) - Julie Silverman


On Heartbreak Motel, County Line Strangers combine classic country heartbreak and rock rowdiness to produce a promising alt-country album debut. With ten tracks spanning love, loss, and longing, this Atlanta/ Charleston quartet plays with creative imagery and musical progressions to create a mood of surrender. Whether succumbing to a hangover on the fast-paced “Sunday Morning” or yielding to a stagnant state of mind and life on “Armarillo Blues,” Strangers invokes a timeless sense of embracing restlessness.

Strangers flawlessly melt their music and lyrics without one distracting from the other, which shows the band’s established sound of playing together on different ventures for over six years. “Going to New York” illustrates this musical harmony where lyrics such as- where the steam from the subway in Chelsea looks like ghosts/ that stroll on down the street and then fade away- play against a dreamy, mellow country soundscape. Many bands try to use their debut albums to showcase all their best hits, but Strangers takes a chance in producing a mood-like album with a solid theme and emotion that runs throughout. Their gamble works, because it keeps the listener guessing and anxiously waiting to see where they will explore next.

Add this to your Mixtape: “Don’t Mean Nothing”- the opening track will add a little bounce to your step while humming the catchy chorus.

Get your copy of Heartbreak Motel now at Amazon and coming soon to iTunes. Also catch County Line Strangers live at Unplugged in the Park at Park Tavern with David Berkeley on July 12. - www.mixtapeatlanta.com


Oh, me with the advance listens.

This time around I got the opportunity to hear the debut album from Charleston/Atlanta country-rockers County Line Strangers titled Heartbreak Motel, due around June 20. The seasoned road vets of Matt Megrue, Matt Kelley, Al Gardner, and Brian McMickle have played together in various bands for 6 years, and their tightness shows. Heartbreak Motel sounds less like a first album and more like a second or third.

For those wondering what the Strangers sound like, the band sounds like the young sons of Ryan Adams, Old '97's, and Uncle Tupelo, throwing long into southern balladry and tempered with rowdy bar-band relief. Megrue's end-of-innocence vocals mesh just right with songs about bad love gone worse and the geographic dislocation that only makes it harder. There's no coincidence in the titles either: "I-75", "Amarillo Blues", "Going To New York", and arguably "Savannah" (I don't buy that it's only about a girl with the name). And on songs like "Let Me Let You Go" and "The Hardest Thing", the Strangers sound almost tempted to become a country-rock version of The Cure, Megrue digging deep into his misery while the band lets their melodies nearly stretch to the breaking point.

It's not all hard whiskey. The first single "Don't Mean Nothing" kicks like No Depression-era Uncle Tupelo with a candy-pop bounce, and while "Sunday Morning" sounds nothing like the Velvet Underground classic, it rips with post-"Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" vigor. The only misstep, and a minor one, is "Marilyn Merlot" - the slide guitars sure swing like a halftime show, but the lyrics come across as if the title came first and the concept followed, not the other way around.

Still, Heartbreak Motel hints at greater and riskier things to come. Check out the isolated desperation of "Amarillo Blues" and you can hear the Strangers itching to get to their Hotel California. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy when it gets released. You can hear some samples for yourself at www.myspace.com/countylinestrangers. - www.musicnerdclub.com


The bipolarization of contradictory emotions—such as sadness and happiness—undermines a lot of music. It’s hard to genuinely evoke the “I can’t get over you” feeling within a listener when the next song’s saying the opposite.

On the other hand, County Line, though not groundbreaking, navigate cohesive honesty between the two. The band's new alt-country album Heartbreak Motel, a solid 10-track body of work, brims with personal confession, helping overcome sneering, heard-it-all-before impressions.

Stylistically, too, there’s a little freshness. Matt Megrue, the singer-songwriter-guitarist of the six-year-old outfit, has a truly amazing voice that augments the country-based sound. Where others may succumb to fake twangs, Megrue stays real, using the smokiness and sincerity of pitch to platform lyrics.

The Hardest Thing, arguably the album’s strongest track and its longest, is a confluence of everything good about County Line Strangers (a band that divides its time between Atlanta, where two members live, and Charleston, where the other two live). Megrue’s vocal range is tested and passes with flying colors. His voice keeps the band under restraint until later in the song, and then, with minimal force, creates a strong impact. So strong, in fact, there’s genuine chance of consistent radio play for this one and perhaps others, given the commercial tinge of the band’s overall sound.

Ironically, it’s also here where the greatest problem lays. The album’s first few tracks do come across as slightly rehashed, both lyrically and instrumentally. A quick glance at the playlist, too, sees reference to three landmarks—New York, Amarillo and Interstate 75. Perhaps this subject matter has much to do with life on the road, a reality for County Line Strangers, though it, again, sets a stale impression.

By the bluesy Marilyn Merlot, the fifth track, there’s a stylistic turning point—and redressing the balance demonstrates both the potential and talent that County Line Strangers possess. - Metromix Atlanta


Discography

"Heartbreak Motel" (BMI - 2009)

1 Don't Mean Nothing
2 Sunday Morning
3 I-75
4 Savannah
5 Let Me Let You Go
6 Amarillo Blues
7 Going to New York
8 Marilyn Merlot
9 Falling in Love is Easy
10 Insomnia City

Photos

Bio

County Line Strangers
By Kim Burdges

County Line Strangers may be one of the newest players in the rock/alt-country scene, but they are hardly music industry rookies. Consistently touring and recording with each other for over 6 years, this four-piece band is not afraid to experiment with their fine-tuned sound. Infusing their punk-rock past with their southern roots, County Line Strangers produce a weathered, yet fresh sound. Combining elements of Social Distortion’s energy with honest lyrics similar to Ryan Adams and rowdy, classic rock hooks, the Strangers prove passionate talent like theirs can give a new band an established sound.

The candid emotion and musical rawness threaded throughout their material is what makes their songs like “Don’t Mean Nothing” and “Savannah” so captivating and memorable. The Strangers’ catalogue ranges from introspection to revelry with lead singer and guitarist Matt Megrue’s songwriting serving as the driver of this emotional rollercoaster.

“There are some really happy songs and really sad ones,” explains Megrue. “We are trying to take your feelings to every high and low and cover a whole spectrum of emotion.”

“It’s really the tempos and themes to match the moodiness of Matt,” jokes drummer Brian McMickle.

The tightness of the band’s sound can be largely attributed to their closeness off stage as longtime friends, who work hard together but always keep the mood light. With two members located in Charleston and two in native Atlanta, Strangers pull from the different area's influences and work to insure that their sound is not affected by distance.

“Being in different places is a challenge,” says bassist Al Gardner. “But, it also makes it easier to focus on particular parts so when we all come together it is more solid. Plus we get the benefit of combining the different vibes of Atlanta and Charleston.” Most bands are doomed by distance, but it is the constant communication and camaraderie of this group that makes distance a non-issue. Bands are often referred to as families and Strangers come across as siblings without the rivalry. Even with their constant banter and sarcasm, all decisions are decided as a group including the new name.

“We just all sat down and figured it out. It was the one name we could all agree on,” says Megrue. “Everyone refers to our hometown as “The County” so that’s where that came from, but really we tried to find a name that didn’t make us all want to cringe every time we heard it.”

“Really we are mostly surface level friends like strangers,” jokes guitarist Matt Kelley. “We don’t know each other or like each other.”

If initial crowd reaction is any indication to the potential and appeal of this band, look for County Line Strangers to dominate playlists and concerts calendars, especially with the release of their upcoming full-length album, Heartbreak Motel. Although excited about performing and releasing their new material, Strangers are genuine artists who focus on the passion, not the pay off.

“We would rather make a decent living making this type of music for the next 50 years than making $50 million off of one album and walking away from it all,” says Matt Megrue.