Maybe itʼs just me, but the music of the 21st century seems to have become exceedingly trendy. Many times, when a new band debuts, I wonder why I should even bother checking them out because they are probably just another “tooled-out” version of other groups that are already popular. It is very tough to find bands that are dedicated to originality instead of fame and fortune. However, the album Sunrise Over Sea by the John Butler Trio proves that such bands still exist. By intertwining a variety of genres with very deep and heartfelt lyrics, JBT has used this album to create a fresh sound on to which people throughout the world are latching.The John Butler Trio is an Australian- based band that is centered on the genius of singer/songwriter John Butler. In eight years, Butler has gone from singing on the streets to forming his own record company which produced this album. While Sunrise Over Sea is just now debuting in the States, it is already extremely popular with the Aussies. In fact, the trio is the first independent band to ever have a debut album reach #1 in Australia. On top of that, they also won three ARIA Awards (i.e. Grammies) in 2004. So what has allowed this album to rocket to the top on the other side of the world? The strongest aspect of the album is the innovative sounds that vary from track to track, enabling fans of many different music genres to be entertained. For the country aficionados, the songs “Damned to Hell” and “Bound to Ramble” open with the rustic twang of the banjo.
However, those who enjoy blues and rock will be amused by up-beat, funky tempo of “Treat Yo Mama” or “Oldman.” The album even features songs that move to reggae and almost hip-hop beats, as well as some songs that are simply instrumental pieces for those of you who are into the jam-band craze. The genius of the band is their ability to not only to mix these sounds together, but to do so in a very fluent manner. From start to finish the album flows smoothly, and the listener never feels surprised by the next song. A n o t h e r strong aspect of this album is the deep lyrical approach that John Butler takes. There are no corny loveydovey pop songs on this album.
All of the lyrics are personal and profound. Many of the songs come from his own experiences, such as when he met his wife, the stress of life on the road, and loss of friendship. Butler also feels very strongly about protecting the environment we live in, and that is what “Yo Mama” and “Damned to Hell” were written about. However, it is often difficult to catch every word that Butler sings. This is probably the only negative characteristic of this album. It is definitely worth hitting repeat, though, to try and hear exactly what he is saying. With their blend of music cultures and their leaderʼs sincere lyrics, the John Butler Trio hopes to revolutionize the music world. Butler feels as if he “is here to play that guitar for a reason.” As he states in one song, “You gotta earn all of your respect,” the John Butler Trio has definitely earned the respect of fans and critics alike all over the world, me included. Make sure to look for the album in stores on Mar. 15.