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    July for Kings

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    Most Popular Songs (more)

    Daylight Savings lyrics
    2More Than This lyrics
    3As The Crow Flies lyrics
    4Orion lyrics
    5July lyrics
    6Perfect World lyrics
    7Float Away lyrics
    8Archaic Smile lyrics
    9Stride lyrics
    10I'll Go lyrics

    Most Popular Albums (more)

    1Monochrome [2009]
    2Safe Unless [1999]
    3Nostalgia [2004]
    4The Laughter And The Noise [2000]
    5Swim [2002]


    July For Kings

    Joe Hedges – vocals, guitar
    T Miller - cello, guitar, vocals
    Drew Phillips – bass, vocals
    Dan McQuinn – drums, percussion

    Often, it's not the good times that a band shares that defines and shapes them, but the bad. Just ask July For Kings.

    Since November 2002, the Middletown, Ohio five-piece have fulfilled the dream of releasing a major label debut, followed by the low point of finding themselves without a record deal and their two long-time friends and band members. The pain of parting ways with MCA Records and original bass player and drummer might have seriously damaged the confidence of lesser bands, but July For Kings responded to such adversity by regrouping, refocusing and rejecting the politics for the only thing that really matters to a band: the music.

    "We are fired up," admits July For Kings' lead singer/songwriter, Joe Hedges. "I don't want to over dramatize anything, but to be honest things felt pretty bleak for a while. Now we're just totally going for it and are excited that we're finally going to be releasing some new music."

    That new music is the brand new seven-song CD, Nostalgia, a body of work that builds impressively on the crunching riffs, stellar musicianship and memorable hooks of their 2002 MCA debut, Swim, with the CD's title confirming that the band is looking forward, having learned from the past.

    "If anything, the downtime only made us hungrier to make music and get out there and play," says Hedges. "But I really think we are a better group because of it. Fortunately, we all share an idea of what it means to be a rock group, and we are willing to put in the time and work to make it happen. We're in it for the right reasons, for the long haul."

    Produced by Hedges and Eric Stewart, Nostalgia embodies JFK's blue-collar ethic and indefatigable spirit as well as displaying the creative spark that sent songs like "Normal Life" from Swim to the top of radio play lists in 2002. Calling in favours from industry friends like LA mixer Blumpy and recording on an independent budget, the CD was crafted over a two and a half month period, during which Hedges and the rest of the band brought their own unique talents to the fore to create seven uniquely textured yet equally memorable songs.

    "I think for the most part, the arrangements and parts fell together naturally, mostly at rehearsal and at live shows," recalls Hedges. "Everyone in the band brings something special to the songs, and in some cases production was as simple as rubber-stamping the stuff that everyone had come up with. I like to think we are growing and maturing as players, and I am learning to write better songs. These songs have more of a cohesiveness and clarity compared to some of the stuff on Swim."

    30 songs were whittled down to the seven that made the cut for Nostalgia, and of those, songs like the opener "Invincible" - which deals with the uncertainty surrounding the band– are perhaps more rooted in reality than others in JFK's back catalogue. That's something Hedges believes develops with maturity and experience.

    "I've been trying to use words that are more direct and honest," he admits. "Looking back on Swim, it's almost like we were just doing whatever came to mind. With Nostalgia, the lyrics and the music are more thought-out and straightforward. I am more comfortable with myself and my life now than I used to be, and I think that makes it easier to write reality. With the new songs I let my emotions guide the writing process, but not dictate it."

    That's certainly true of the beautiful and affecting "Float Away" and the delicate closing track, "Just Right." They're two of the most personal tracks Hedges has written to date and showcase the extra dimension T Miller's cello brings to Delaney's guitar and the solid rhythm section consisting of bassist Drew Phillips and drummer Dan McQuinn. Meanwhile, a powerful exploration of the fragility of the supposedly intransient night sky on "One By One" and a thought-provoking attempt to demystify the mystery of a person's inner soul in "Blue Eyes" prove that Hedges remains a writer with something important and interesting to say.

    Elsewhere, the simmering overtones of lust and sexuality on the highly-charged "Like That" and the magical portrait of autumnal change in the atmospheric "The Distance" demonstrate the unique combination of grit and grace that makes July For Kings such a special rock band.

    Those qualities were first hinted at in two self-released albums as the band's former incarnation, Swim, until MCA Records signed the band in 2001 and Swim became July For Kings. MCA recognized a band that had the contemporary appeal of Creed and the classic vibe of U2 yet the label somehow failed to capitalize on that promise. But July For Kings continued to tour around their home Midwest territories and beyond, reaching out to the considerable support that earlier won them two Cammys (Cincinnati Music Awards) including Favorite Band.

    A December 26th release show for Nostalgia aims to serve notice of the return of July For Kings and an early 2005 tour will reward a fan base that has been consistently loyal and encouraging.

    "We are extremely fortunate that we have the fans we do and that they've stuck by us even through some slow times," comments Hedges. "We want to try and really get Nostalgia working for us through shows, the Internet and word of mouth. It's been a while since we've been out promoting new music, so it's going to be fun to have everyone know the words to these new songs.

    "None of us want to spend another few years waiting on a label just to have it fall apart. That energy would be better spent building our career on our own terms, so we'll be doing our thing and connecting with as many people as we can."

    So with a difficult couple of years firmly behind them, July For Kings are set to let the good times roll.

    -Andrew Ellis

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