Stranger Friends

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Stranger Friends

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Jamie Floyd and John Martin of Stranger Friends, met in 2010. To their surprise, songs came naturally, as though these strangers had been friends all along. And their vocal blend was instantly, undeniably special. Since that time, they have followed their musical instincts from recording sessions in a garage in Nashville to writing songs for television and film. Floyd grew up singing professionally with her parents, who are longtime performers in West Palm Beach, Florida. Martin is a native of Stillwater, Oklahoma, who played football for Baylor University while continuing to write songs. Together they’ve recorded a soundtrack and now an EP. A self-titled collection of five well-written, arranged, and produced tracks. The EP starts off with a bang on “Country Song” and it does the business to get the right feel to open with. The first thing you notice is how well they sing together. It’s not chalk and cheese, let’s put it that way, as they go together as if they were born to sing with each other.

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Once you hear that natural appeal, then you are half way home with any good song. An opener that totally holds its own is the result, and that’s just an easy consensus. It shows they know how to write a good song and deliver it with maximum results.

The next track, “Sacred Garden” is another finely-crafted opus, but with a completely different country flavor to it. There is more of a sing-along style to this and it’s instantly addicting compared to the opening track. It takes you much closer to what they’re doing, after getting the first track out of the way. This has an almost 50s feel to it as it starts, and it doesn’t stay old fashioned but it does maintain a retro-ambience throughout.

This is slightly moody in contrast to the former, as well. But the mood is substantially good. If you like dreamy tracks, this is right up your alley with much to spare. And if that isn’t moody enough, then “I Ain’t Dead” comes a long just in time to deepen the score with an amazing, if sort of sinister song. This isn’t a bad thing because it gets down to the nitty gritty, as it’s not all roses in country music. This rocks on a certain level, while it slowly cruises along with occasionally big sounding breaks. It’s captivating because it draws you in, and then bam, it’s over. You can take or leave any of these tracks but they’re best heard together for both country and rock music fans. And this is certainly one of three highlight tracks, but they all have something to offer, there are no fillers. For instance, “November & June,” while not the strongest track, still carries some of the best lyrics on the EP. It’s a completely uplifting song with all the same ingredients found on the rest. It’s how they all manage to cover a variety of moods, that make it such a consistently good variety of songs. You’ll pick right up on that by the time you get to the finale, “Don’t Get Back Up” with its great advice about love in general, and it too is another winning effort. This is a beautiful track with a cool snare drum effect. Don’t miss it like many tend to dismiss the last track of any good record.

Elvin Graham

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