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"Evangeline's "We're Alright Down Here""

You just never know when or where you're going to stumble upon a great piece of work. You know? Guadalcanal Diary singer Murray Attaway's solo album In Thrall has been one of my top 10 albums for almost a decade, and I found it at the bottom of a dollar bin at Walmart at 3 a.m. Proof positive that in all darkness there is a little light.

Evangeline's "We're Alright Down Here" is like that. Simply put, it's a local release that could easily stand toe to toe with almost any million-dollar album being forced down our throats today. Stylistically, the album is reminiscent of Tori Amos's covers album Strange Little Girls, her piano and voice replaced with frontman Jonathan Barrick's melancholy guitar and vocals.

It's a much folkier and softer opus than the band's live show would have you believe, but that's not to say that its impact is any less powerful. The simple, sad determination of the title track will, in fact, infect your head, and you just might end up like me, drinking from the bottle in the Kroger parking lot on your way home from the concert.

Not to belabor the Tori Amos comparison, but the low key chorus vocals from guest star and Nashville indie artist Madi Diaz on "We're Alright Down Here", make the song almost too much to bear, much like Trent Reznor's backing vocal work on Tori's "Past the Mission" make something extraordinary extra-extraordinary. She returns later in the album for a soul-stirring duet on "Amy," which is also of wicked virtue.

There is not one single track on this CD worth skipping, although there are many worth skipping to. Evangeline divides its time between Houston and Denver, so opportunities to catch the act live can be few and far between. I encourage everyone with open ear canals, though, to go to the band's MySpace and a) buy We're Alright Down Here; and b) keep an eye out for a chance to see them slightly elevated in front of you. In the end, you'll thank me. - Jef With One F - Houston Press

"Review of Evangeline's Album"

by Rachel Holmes

The moving lyrics of Evangeline’s self-title track on their debut album, We’re Alright Down Here, sums up the entire message of the album: we haven’t been left alone, and though the road may be a difficult one to journey along, we have hope as we walk along.

“By the time you read this, I’ll be headed far away / Past the redwoods and the sea / I will write you soon / When you wake by morning / Where my head used to lay / Silence sings / Itself a symphony / I’ll be back for you/Evangeline, don’t be discouraged or afraid / For I am with you though I seem so far away.”

Evangeline says they hope to accomplish conveying life’s struggles and challenges in relationships, pain, death, life, and faith through their music. “Evangeline” is a perfect example, along with their tracks “We’re Alright Down Here,” “All I Am,” and “Amy,” of the band doing just that. You can pull any song off the album and find one whose lyrics are unique and pleasing to the ear. They are beautifully poetic in form and sound—which is apt for a band whose name is the same as the title of the famous poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Longfellow’s poem speaks of two lovers separated for a time and the struggles that ensue from separation. The name Evangeline means “bearer of good news.” Evangeline’s music speaks to both of these references; the message of their music is that everyday life has struggles, but hope is present as well.

There is the case of a mistaken identity on the band’s part that I hope is addressed in the near future. The band’s website claims that they inhabit the southern rock genre, but it is far from that sound; their music is closer to that of acoustic rock or folk rock. The southern rock genre—which The Charlie Daniels Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd made popular and Kid Rock and Big and Rich are dominating—is the basis for most country music. While Evangeline follows southern gospel and southern rock trends of utilizing the guitar and piano, as well as using their vocals as an additional instrument, they maintain a distinct sound that you would hear in a coffeehouse or lounge in the northern part of the nation, such as Seattle, New York, or Chicago. Their current sound actually works in Evangeline’s favor, since it provides them with a much broader, commercial sound that will appeal to a larger audience, and I hope that they do not try to assimilate themselves closer to the southern rock genre.

While the first song on We’re Alright Down Here, “Rain,” opens the album up strong with an up tempo beat, for the most part, no other songs on the album rock it out like “Rain.” What makes Evangeline’s music unique is that it utilizes melodies that rely on melancholy sounds that are undercut by uplifting beats, further playing on the theme of hope through struggle. The fact that Evangeline’s music doesn’t play with up tempo rock tendencies is a positive. If their songs did not play their way down the road of reflection, it would not accomplish quite as much as it does. It is the way the lyrics intertwine with the songs’ melodies that makes Evangeline’s We’re Alright Down Here one worth buying.

We’re Alright Down Here is meant to work so that in the moments of reflection and contemplation, the listener begins to identify with and internalize this new perspective: the journey is long and, at times, difficult, but, “We’re holding our heads high / We wipe away the tears / To say we’re alright down here.” - Soul-Audio.com


"We're Alright Down Here" - first single released to Top 40 Radio "Rain". The single reached #9 on the MediaBase Indie Top 40 Chart. It ranked in the top 5 songs at R&R Indicators and New Music Weekly stations across the USA



The Houston-based Southern rock band Evangeline is bursting onto the national music scene in a big way, landing a top-10 hit on the independent singles charts, performing at prominent venues across the Southwest, and signing with the independent label management firm Indie Extreme.

Rain, the first single from the act’s debut album, We’re Alright Down Here, continues to climb various independent record charts. The album and single were co-produced by contemporary Christian EMI recording artist Robbie Seay. The single has aired on mainstream adult contemporary and top-40 radio stations in cities ranging from Peoria, Ill., Appleton, Wis., and McAllen, TX., to Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Louisville, KY., and Houston.

“In light of the difficulty for independent artists in today’s market, it is especially gratifying to see this act earn their way to commercial viability,” noted Harvey Cooper, the Hollywood-based independent marketing consultant who is overseeing retail promotion for the album and single. “What is so totally unique about Evangeline is how their root, eclectic, deep-seeded lyrical music could be so commercial.”

Songwriter/bassist Jeffery Armstreet and singer/songwriter/guitarist Jonathan Barrick met in the summer of 2005 and soon developed a close friendship around their love for songwriting, storytelling, and the beauty of melancholy. They set the stylistic tone for their new partnership a year later by forming the band Evangeline.

Described as a “Southern rock band for the 21st Century”, Evangeline uses soulful pop, rock and folk music and thought-provoking lyrics to communicate the depths of life’s struggles and challenges in relationships, pain, death and faith. Recent additions to the band are guitarist Joe Degelia (formerly with hit CCM recording artist Matt Brouwer) and drummer Beji George (formerly with the band Still Life).

“We are very excited – all of this is pretty surreal,” said Armstreet, who has produced and recorded several CDs for other artists at his Red Tree Recording Studio in Houston. “As a songwriter, it’s wonderful to know we have written songs that are being heard. As musicians, this is a dream come true. We are looking forward to performing at nightclubs and other venues across the country.”

Released in late 2007, We’re Alright Down Here features 10 songs written all or in part by Armstreet and Barrick, with contributions from songwriters Madi Diaz and Seay. Armstreet co-produced the project with Seay.

Rain received high scores from listeners during “new music face-offs” on radio stations in Houston and Louisville. Radio exposure has helped the band land bookings in Houston, Austin and Shreveport, LA. Evangeline plans to launch a national tour in mid-2008.

The act received international exposure by performing in the Independent Artist Showcase during GMA Week in Nashville in April 2007. The band has performed at prominent nightclubs such as The Engine Room in Houston; Dosey Doe’s in The Woodlands, Texas; Momo’s in Austin, Texas; and Walter’s on Washington in Houston.

“In an industry that constantly begs for comparisons, Evangeline has made a debut album that will stand out from the crowd purely on the basis of intelligent, memorable songs coupled with great vocals,” said Eddie Lambert, president of Rilex Entertainment in Hollywood. “It defines the 21st Century Southern Rock sound.”

Armstreet describes Evangeline as a “rootsy” rock band that includes elements of country, southern rock, and pop -- a perfect fit for nightclubs, concert venues and festivals. “Our music has a positive message that just about anyone can relate to,” Armstreet added. “Although there are Christian overtones in our writing, our songs are written from real life experiences that speak to the human experience. We want everyone to hear what we have to share.”

Indie Extreme, a Nashville-based independent record label management firm, provides Evangeline and its record label, Rainwater Records, with label administration services such as marketing support, distribution, administration, e-commerce, bookkeeping and inventory management. The band is managed by Houston-based Extreme Dreams Artist Agency. The album and single are being distributed by Burnside Music Distribution.