In the age of mass-produced, factory-line tunes, there’s a soulful siren emerging from the bayous of Hammond, Louisiana. Troy Bennett’s Graveyard Lips is more than just an artist; he’s a force, a tapestry of raw emotions wrapped up in melodies that tug at the very fibers of the human heart.
His latest opus, “(Bare)Ly Existing”, launched on July 5, 2023, is a 9-track musical journey that sees Bennett delve deep into the realms of vulnerability, melancholy, and profound introspection. At a runtime of 36 minutes, this isn’t just an album; it’s a meditative retreat. And yes, it’s utterly fantastic.
Dive into the album here, and you’re immediately cocooned in the ambiance of “Dr(0)Ne”, where Critter Piano notes flutter around you, playing with additional soundscapes masterfully woven by James Whitten. But Bennett’s prowess doesn’t end here. He also partners with Silver Godling on “You Were”, a duet that juxtaposes the earthy tones of acoustic guitar with a celestial piano.
Critics are raving about “(Bare)Ly Existing”, with Tunepical praising its “genuine human experiences”, while Jukebox Mind exalts the album’s “adventurous spirit.” And rightly so. Every track from “Pale Room” to “Barely Existing” reverberates with a unique narrative – of love, loss, hope, and the complexities of human emotions.
What’s particularly notable is the depth of collaboration on this album. Troy’s distinctive voice and musical intuition harmonize perfectly with artists like Nat Heck (on Bass/Synth), Ryan Church (lead guitars), and Wade Hymel (drums, backup vocals). Then there are the unexpected, delightful additions: Adrian Joseph’s horn arrangements and trombone, and Doyle Cooper’s trumpet on “30.5044 N, 90.4612 W”, which take the track to soaring heights.
The album’s sonic architecture is also a testament to the genius of James Whitten. The magic touch of this maestro from HighTower Studios, New Orleans, lends a polished, yet raw authenticity to the tracks, making them aurally immersive.
Of course, the visuals matter, and the cover photo by Dusty Cooper, combined with the concept ideated by Bennett himself, rounds off the offering, making “(Bare)Ly Existing” an experience that tantalizes all senses.
Dive deeper, and one realizes that this isn’t Bennett’s first tryst with music. The artist’s Bandcamp profile reveals a rich tapestry of earlier releases, including gems like “Leap Year” and “Pale Room Demo.” Fans can avail a 50% discount on all five releases – a treat for those late to the party.
The haunting yet relatable name, Troy Bennett’s Graveyard Lips, encapsulates the very essence of the artist’s philosophy: life is fleeting, memories are eternal, and emotions are our most genuine touchpoints. As the album’s underlying message suggests, “TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND BE KIND TO YOURSELF.”
As the music landscape shifts and transforms, it’s artists like Troy Bennett who anchor us to our true selves. He reminds us of the sheer power of authentic emotion, the beauty of vulnerability, and the magic that happens when genuine talent merges with raw passion.
Hammond, Louisiana, may have birthed Troy Bennett’s Graveyard Lips, but with “(Bare)Ly Existing”, he’s ready to conquer the world.
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