One-time band-mate and friend, Ross Metcalfe is cranking out some good music. Splitting his time between two bands, Harlan County Kings and 12 Gauge Sunrise, he has recently released a new full length album with each project.
Ross shares his lead vocal and guitar duties with Rosalie Wampler on the Harlan County Kings release, Majestic Hotel. Joe Manfre rounds out the trio and they are joined by a few others that contributed to the studio recording. While straddling a lot of territory stylistically as you would expect from a group with co-lead vocalists, they manage to stick closely to the just plug it in the amp and go for it brand of rock that the group is known for.
Harlan County Kings have been at it for a while; long enough to outlast some of the venues that they have appeared at over the years in their hometown of Baltimore. That longevity is apparent in the songwriting and performances on Majestic Hotel. Ross’ roots and punk rock inspired vocals coupled with Rosalie’s classic rock anthem meets singer songwriter stylings balance the band’s overall power-pop/Americana feel. A well-produced recording and a fun ride from start to finish.
12-Gauge Sunrise’s self-titled release is a driving, upbeat collection that doesn’t let its foot off of the gas. Throughout its 10 songs Ross Metcalfe and Alexei Yukna sling guitar riffs that recall garage rock with a twist of clarity and polish that is refreshing. These riffs are punctuated by some lively teamwork in the rhythm section provided by Joe Manfre on drums and Greg Poseno on bass, the latter's tongue-in-cheek walking bass is perfect on “Hammer.”
The album’s production and mixing let the instrumentalists shine leaving plenty of room for Ross’ vocals. The songwriting is full of clever hooks and ear candy topped off with memorable verses and phrases about life, love, and…naturally, grand theft auto. Not one track of filler is to be found on this rocker.