Manufactured bands are nothing new, but this is the first country band we’ve seen. It’s probably giving websites whose names include “rebel” and “outlaw” collective heart attacks.
King Calaway are your stereotypical boyband, five singers who don’t write any of the tunes. They seem to have had money thrown at them and have — it is alleged — bought their way onto tours (nothing new either; if you’ve got enough money you buy a support slot).
On the plus side, all have worked as musicians, in bands and as session players; each one plays an instrument. The group is Jordan, Chad and Simon, Chris, Caleb and Austin and doubtless they’ve all been picked for their appeal to certain demographics. Which one is the talented Jason or the Robbie about to go rogue, only time will tell. Simon went to the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, while Jordan Harvey is from Edinburgh, so they’re not all from Nashville or even Americans.
The tunes are as you’d expect: easy on the ear pop with a country bent, and clichés aplenty. The boys sing individually and severally (or in harmony as it’s known in the trade). The songs are Sheeran-like and aimed at markets: the mid-tempo one for dudes in trucks, the ballad, the rocky one etc, though it all lacks the charm of Ed.
The songwriters and copyright holders are many and varied, suggesting a song-writing factory. We Googled a few names: Jordan Schmidt is a Nashville song-writer; Mitchell Tenpenny has released albums in his own right; Nate Cypher gets credits in the Disney film Maleficent: Mistress of Evil; producer and songwriter Ross Copperman had some minor hits in the UK and has written / produced for the likes of Keith Urban and Brett Eldredge.
“Ross has had numerous major synch placements,” says his Wikipedia entry and this is the basic aim here: get songs in places that will make money. Nowt wrong with that: Dolly Parton can tell you the return on every song she wrote, down to the cent.
This is entertaining and catchy, lots of melody, and will sound good on the radio — and wholesome, with no swears, for parents and God-fearing country fans.
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