High Road Crown
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High Road Crown

Band Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Altitude Via Luxury (Feb. 2004)"

High Road Crown's new release, Altitude Via Luxury, delivers energetic songs that echo classic 70's rock...O'Brien's lyrics revel a bit in the darker side of life, turning many songs into late night alcohol filled confessions.... Altitude Via Luxury provides a party hearty mix with all the standard rock and roll swagger. - LMIA (Louisville Music Industry Alliance)

"HRC: Altitude Via Luxury (Feb. 2004)"

These Louisville rockers have a lot of energy. The band's new EP is an aggressive, high-octane road trip down the modern rock highway...High Road Crown deserves the same kind of shot at commercial success that Creed and Puddle of Mudd have gotten. A single listen to this EP will tell you that the passion and intensity behind these songs is worth giving these guys a break...High Road Crown performs as well as a lot of today's stars of the modern rock format. These guys could certainly appear on your radio dial in the future. - LEO Weekly (Louisville Eccentric Observer)

"High Road Crown plays royally hard Southern rock"

By Chris Quay

If you've seen High Road Crown, then you may have noticed singer Heath O'Brien's signature white loafers.

The interesting choice in footwear played a role in getting O'Brien the vocalist gig, guitarist Ben Lovely said.

Between eccentric shoes and a bassist named Bong, it's clear that High Road Crown has an energized sense of fun when it comes to rocking the stage.

Lovely says the band members all have nicknames, but only Bong sticks to his enlightening moniker.

"Most don't know him by his real name ... he's been Bong for so long," Lovely said.


High Road Crown started about three years ago when Lovely and college buddy/guitarist Donovan Sears teamed up at the University of Louisville. Bong, a friend of Sears, hopped on board next to play bass.

Jason Lakes took over drum duties shortly after that, but the band was still in need of a set of pipes to crank out the vocals.

Lovely said the band went through two singers before enlisting O'Brien, with his great stage presence and white kicks.

O'Brien had the image, but Lovely admitted that wasn't all. "His writing was definitely a big plus. It meshed well with ours."

The band has since played a number of shows, festivals and benefits and in between released a couple of EPs, most recently "Altitude Via Luxury," a seven-song disc available at Ear X-tacy and through the band's website, http://www.highroadcrown.com


Lovely said the band's music is aggressive and something that is "coalescing into Southern rock, but not like Skynyrd, more like Mountain."

The band plays mainly original material, but it does offer up a cover of "Mississippi Queen." He said the band was able to tweak it and give it a different flavor.


The most pressing issue facing High Road Crown is prepping for a trip to Atlanta in August to record another EP in the famous Tree Sound Studios.

"We're trying to figure out costs, schedule and exactly how many songs we can afford to do," Lovely said. "It's much more expensive down there."

The band tries to play at least two shows a month, but because most of its songs are originals, Lovely said it can be tough getting gigs because many venues are interested mostly in cover bands.

"We're at the mercy of the venue," he said.

Lovely said the band does have one gig scheduled — it will rock Boondocks in Shepherdsville on July 16, but think twice before hollering for "Free Bird."
- Velocity Weekly: July 6, 2005

"HIGH ROAD CROWN : Altitude Via Luxury"

High Road Crown's CD landed in my lap just a few days before deadline, so I was fortunate that this was one of those albums that grabs your ear from the first listen.

This group of Kentucky boys plays hard rock with an emphasis on the melody and one foot set in the '70s, when guitars reigned supreme and the tones used were raw.

At times, vocalist Heath O'Brien's voice bears an uncanny resemblance to Goth-rock icon Peter Murphy. An unlikely comparison, sure, but O'Brien's low, ominous tone and articulate phrasing give these songs an edge lacking in much of modern rock. Adding to this mystique is the fact that O'Brien is a Louisville firefighter, which provides him with some lyrical inspiration, as in the standout opening track "Sour Grapes," which builds (much like an arsonist's fire) from slow verses about fire-fascination to a great chorus hook. This segues nicely into "Shuteye," an acoustic ballad featuring some melancholy harmonica work and tastefully restrained guitar solos, which is followed by "Fit To Be Tied," a roaring rocker that proves once again why the wah-pedal is still the coolest guitar effect ever made.

By the time I got to the opening chords of "Hear What?," the album's fourth track, I wasn't sure what to expect - always a good sign. Even the requisite drinking song, "Footstomp 2 for 1," pulled some surprises (love the Bambi Bar reference) and rocked like vintage Aerosmith. This track also showed off this band's secret weapon: drummer Jason Lakes. He shows a ton of versatility on these seven tracks - I found myself wishing he had been featured more prominently in the CD's mix.

High Road Crown has played it smart by releasing a well-paced CD of seven songs that leaves the listener wanting more. Two days after getting the disc, I was on their website checking for shows. By placing an emphasis on crafting tight songs that manage to sound familiar but new at the same time, they certainly made me a fan.
- Louisville Music News (April 2004)

"Taking Rock's High Road"

High Road Crown is a band with a plan. It's a simple plan, one a lot of bands these days don't seem too interested in.

But it's tried and true, and for the five man Louisville band it just might work.

The different band members express it a bit differently, but it comes down to one thing: Play honest music the best you can.

For lead singer Heath O'Brien, that means playing with passion. It's important to him as a performer and, he says, for the listene, too.

"if people are as passionate about the music as the band is, they're in for one hell of a show," he said. Even when he doesn't like another band's music enough to buy their CD, O'Brien will enjoy watching them play if they are passionate.

Speaking of passion, Dan Hyatt, the band's manager, has got it in spades. He sees High Road Crown going all the way to the top — even if he has to carry the band there on his back.

"I'm one of those people that make things happen," Hyatt said. "give me a task, and I'll do it. And I know one day, these guys will get signed."

Which is why he is so committed to them. "I believe these guys are a special group of individuals and that the band has got what it takes," he said. "I would not put time that I don't have into this if it didn't."

The band started playing together as High Road Crown in summer 2001. Guitarists Donovan Sears and Ben Lovely were fraternity brothers in college. They hooked up with drummer Jason Lakes and a bass player known as Big Bong, Bonger, or just plain Bong. After a couple of singer changes, they hired O'Brien about a year and a half ago.

With influences from Led Zeppelin to Johnny Cash, the members of High Road Crown consider their own sound to be everything from straight-up rock n' roll to Southern-fried rock, to something they call "Hilljackian."

We've got a pretty straightforward rock sound with 70's guitar tones," Sears said. "The rythmn section adds more of a modern funk sound."

Things are starting to happen for them.

In Febuary, High Road Crown was the Louisville Music Industry Alliance band of the month. On Feb. 28, it threw a release party at Tailgaters for its first CD, Altitude Via Luxury, to a crowd of 400-plus. Right afterward the band got invited to play at Phoenix Hill Tavern. Soon to come will be shows in the Louisville are and beyond. "We'd like to start tackling touring this summer," Sears said.

While the CD is a big step, the guys still consider themselves a band you need to see live.

Its growing fan base is starting to request favorites. "We play a bluesy song, 'Shuteye,'" Sears said. "It's acoustic with a harmonica in it. It's been a crowd favorite since we added it to the playlist. I've had people from mid-20s to late 40s yell, 'Play that harmonica song.'"

The band reworks songs so people have something different to look forward to at every performance. And, it's less boring. They play one cover, "Mississippi Queen" by Mountain, a song they've made their own.

While all of this sounds great, you've probably been wondering something all this time; What does the name High Road Crown mean?

"We wanted a name that didn't evoke something specific," Sears said. "Like Dripping Blood or Crushed Skulls. When you hear High Road Crown, you only think of us."

Check out the band's website at http://www.highroadcrown.com.
- SNITCH (March 31, 2004)


• Untitled (2006)

• Altitude Via Luxury (2004)

• EP No.000001 (2002)


Feeling a bit camera shy


With one foot planted solidly in the 70's & the other steadily inching more toward southern rock, High Road Crown's sound continually evolves. The band looks to the roots of Rock N Roll for a more stripped down sound, void of layered effects and studio trickery prevalent on modern rock radio. 70's rock, blues, bluegrass, even old-school country...its all in there, rolled into a big ball of feedback & served on the rocks. O'Brien applies harmonica to many of the band's tunes, adding another highlight to the outrageous live show, that he emphatically commands. The rhythm section (Muzz & BONG) recalls the days when drummers and bassists were well known, and well heard. Guitars, handled by Sears and Lovely, focus on riff rocking & melody, which define this guitar-driven band.

With over three years of shows under its belt, HRC is a seasoned Louisville-area band that is moving outward to spread the sound regionally. Capable of pulling off 2 hour sets, the band continually adds to a setlist that currently features over 25 original songs. Live performances have been described as follows;

"The atmosphere prior to a show parallels that of locking yourself into a roller coaster that's under construction and closed to the general public...As the band plugs in, situates the kit and checks the levels, the chain collects the cart and wrenches the audience upwards, rattling their seats...The remainder of the track's condition is uncertain, but if the smile on Heathen's face is any indication, rest assured that everyone is in for one hell of a ride...Nothing left to do but hold on, hope for the best, and enjoy the show."