Thinking Plyers
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Thinking Plyers

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Band R&B Soul


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Thinking Plyers have developed the distinctly Deadhead attitude that it's cool to be serious about music and have fun with it at the same time. The result is music that's
enjoyable to listen to but doesn't insult your intelligence. These people understand what music is all about - Brad Goins

Featuring some amazingly accomplished musicians, this outfit is dedicated to the extended jam and the road
- The Nashville Rage

...The greatest indie jam rock trio of this decade. Thinking Plyers have given me hope that good music still does exist in this world - Chelsea Schwartz

Anyone who has seen the Nashville-based trio Thinking Plyers will likely contend that the experience of a Plyers' live show is incomparable to any other music act on the road today. Deep South fans of the Plyers' follow the groovin' eclectic sounds across state lines into the latest nights of musical revelry. The good times and great beats of Thinking Plyers take an often wayfaring direction at the command of Colin Allured, Paul Westbrook, and Ryan Westbrook. Though many of the progressive rock group's followers hold preciously onto the Plyers' first two albums, their self-titled first album and their second, Cosmic Romance, the spirit of their latest recording venture Fourteen Real Dreams, is a strong collection of classic lyrics and rhythms quite distinct from its precursors. The third and highly anticipated album became available in March and has since brought these accomplished musicians to a new level of popularity along the Deep South and the Tennessee - North Carolina stretch of their regional touring. Why the sudden propulsion of critical acclaim? The recording rocks! The most significant change in this album compared to those of the past is the fact that the Plyers themselves have outgrown their own musical image. Excelling beyond the bounds of personal identities, they still maintain a coherent and clearly defined sound. A duality of sorts has transpired in the merging of music and its musicians. The Plyers' music evokes all sorts of feelings into its listener while the sounds permeate into your inner most desires and regrets only to leave you curiously satiated. "I Saw You Dancing" infuses a jumping tempo into a groove that is dance worthy and a classic in its own rite. There is something to be said and praised about a song that can sound familiar upon its initial hearing, yet transcends your expectations every time it's heard thereafter. It's called timeless and a classic. The point is that this show favorite never gets old and is so well written that a change in tempo can bring a whole new sound to the tune allowing you to experience the song again for the first time. A beautiful guitar tone creates a melody so soothing to the ears that you can not resist moving with a nostalgic rhythm to "Long Road." This jam has the most relaxed pace and ease at which one can listen to it and just be permeated through and through by never ending verses. The lyrics seem to describe the emotional charges that occur when chance meets desire. One can experience the truth of such relationships in, "Natalie." Allured's voice cries over the bars of this tune that sounds like a brooding last look at an exhausted romance until the uplifting accompaniment of guest musician Jacob Tilton on keys rings vibrantly through the melancholy hum of this tale of dimming love. While "Divin' In" exhibits the band's more playful side, "Eldorado" is a wickedly soothing tune with an interesting guitar jam and some heart raising drumming. "Moonlight" has a distinctively different pace from other tracks, yet exudes the somber graveness of "Eldorado" and similarly lulls you into thought and dreamy projections of the future. The sitar infused song, "Broken Triangle" is this author's second favorite from the album. The poetry is sad, and it is honest. A note on lyrics. The consistency of theme throughout the album is intriguing. All words are not completely audible upon the first spinning of the cd, but the feeling conveyed is very clear. To go back and read the lyrics is almost a treat, filling in gaps in verses you missed and connecting references once misunderstood. Never will you find a contradiction nor a hypocritical phrase, just music with integrity. Guest musician Andy Hall's lap steel on "Beloved" makes this high tempo country two-step a winner. "Nashville Ballad" and "A Bump in the Road" feature vocals by bassist, Paul Westbrook, and give the album a down home country essence. These are songs you would hear from a humbly optimistic voice singing from the lonely corner of a small café. Like a daily devotional the lyrics of "A Bump in the Road" read, and when set to music they ring through your speakers like an ode to the past. "King Visualizer" is another tease at your emotions. The song is chock-full of lyrics that are so tastefully set in motion with the beat of the song that you will find yourself both puzzled by the meaning of this syncopated rant and pondering the meaning it has on your dancing feet. The album is intense, but intensely fun at the same time. So where is Home for the Thinking Plyers? One could only guess by the many allusions made throughout the course of this album. A place of birth? An address? Security? What is your interpretation? Are there ends to our beginnings? "Nowhere to go but home," "too proud to come back home," "dream back home," they sing until finally saying, "we are back home."

- Shannon Lynn McCombs (Freelance)

Fourteen Real Dreams, the latest release from Thinking Plyers, is a cool drink of water in a desert of the ordinary. The first thing that stikes the listener is that the three members of the band went to the studio with a very clear and unified vision to each song. Every image that the band conjures is perfectly illistrated by the bands superb playing. Take, for example, "Long Road", track 2 on the disk. The band so seemlessly flows through ideas that I had to wonder if there was some wierd telepathy going on. This track, like the rest of the album, captures you with subtlety and effortlessly takes you to a high place when the band is really rocking and just plain going for it. Throughout the album, the band is aided by special guests, however, the music created by the three members of the band certainly stands on its own. The playing is great and the songs are honest and well crafted. Don't let this album pass you by.


The production is great, and the songs have an almost instant appeal. Allured's guitar sound and style is incredibly polished and generally the overall mood is quite laid back-- a late nite smoky bar with some good ale, good company, and Thinking Plyers playing away. Moonlight, Long Road, Ananda Dream and Beloved are all well above average.
- Modern Dance Magazine (UK)


Gnostic Love Songs - 2007
Fourteen Real Dreams - 2003
Cosmic Romance - 2000
Thinking Plyers - 1999



The ceilings are low, the gear is piled high and the band is sitting on a couch listening to the final mix of their new album. Smiles of unanimous approval appear as their unique blend of riff-driven guitar rock and vintage R&B flow from the speakers. This is the unveiling of an intriguing new genre they proudly boast as "Progressive Soul Music." Any ideas one might have of what a Nashville band should look or sound like simply don’t apply.

Colin, the lead singer and guitarist, looks more like a yoga instructor or liberal arts professor than the classically trained virtuoso he's become. On first listen to Colin’s singing one can only assume he has a righteous collection of 60's Soul and R&B records stashed somewhere in his apartment. As for the remaining two, twin brothers Ryan and Paul share a connection that most drum and bass duos work years to solidify. Seeing these two sitting side by side in a near mirror image of one another unveils the mystery of how this band maneuvers so fluidly through the improvisational moments that makes their live shows so memorable.

Thinking Plyers' music is rooted in familiar melodies and textures, interlaced with surprising combinations of rhythms and sounds from a variety of genres. Their love-soaked lyrics and keen instrumental intuition create a genuine spiritual element, transporting the listener to a place where hearts are warmed, smiles are formed and positivity prevails. Hints of psychedelia and East Indian ragas weave in and out of their live shows, but the danceable grooves maintained throughout keep audiences on their feet and screaming for more.

The band formed in Lake Charles, Louisiana while the three friends were in middle school. Spending the mid- 90’s writing songs in a backyard beauty shop and listening to the likes of Dave Matthews Band, Steely Dan and Van Morrison, the boys formed a style that focuses on constant change and evolution. "We always try to find new sounds and ideas when we write", states Colin, "After fourteen years of playing together, change and movement are the key to keeping it fresh."

Thinking Plyers have spent the past decade and a half putting out their own records, booking their own tours, managing their own press and building a solid fan base from Austin to Asheville. Now calling Nashville home, they are on the verge of releasing their most ambitious album yet. Gnostic Love Songs was recorded at their own Aeolia House Studios in 2006. It is the result of ten years of writing around a common musical and lyrical theme, chronicling the trials and tribulations of a fictional character curiously named Linus. "On previous records, we explored a broad range of styles, but with Gnostic Love Songs, we made a conscious effort to focus on the common elements of these songs. We wanted to create a unified soundscape as opposed to a dizzying cacophony of styles," claims Ryan. "Yeah, I feel like the new record is simply the best of what we do. These songs are at the core of who we are as a band," comments Paul.

With the release of this new album, Thinking Plyers hope to find distribution and marketing support from a record label or management team, and a skilled booking agent to return them to the road. "We've gone about as far as we can go on our own," replies Ryan. "If we're spending all our time ironing out business affairs, then we're left with very little time and energy to focus on the music. We want to put the band back on the road full time and we feel that seeking assistance from inside the industry is the next step in our career. "

Look for Thinking Plyers as they plan to bring Gnostic Love Songs and their thrilling live show to their loyal fans throughout the southeast US and beyond!