Whether you think of it as a belated Christmas gift or an early New Year present, Manny Blu has given us something to treasure with the launch of his latest Country Punk EP, now available worldwide on all streaming services.
Out on New Year’s Eve (December 31), this five-track EP follows hot on the heels of August’s DEViL EP and Blu says it is particularly special to him because this time he was able to co-produce the project and showcase his originality.
Consisting of songs written by Stephen Allbritten, Ryan Pattengale, Jake Olbauhm, David Brown, Matt Lukasiewicz, and Nathan Dohse, Country Punk EP is five tracks of hard-hitting rhythms and Blu’s created way of capturing the lyrical storytelling of country music in sounds of punk rock.
“The Country Punk EP was one that we were able to have fun creating without too much thinking about ‘how it should go’ or ‘what works’ musically” says Blu. “We let the songs be what they should be, what I wanted them to be, and didn’t have to deal with any pressure or restraints from anyone outside the studio.
“I wanted to make something for me that represented who I am as an artist and the Country Punk lifestyle. We created a vibe for those that don’t fit the mould and invite everyone to enjoy it along with us as we head into the New Year.”
Three out of the five tracks (Doin’ Fine, Too Bad So Sad and 95) have already been released over the last few weeks, drawing attention on streaming platforms and playlists, and leaving the final reveal for just two remaining tracks Balance and Prove Me Wrong.
Described as “more developed” than anything he has done in the past, the Country Punk EP embodies Blu’s created vibe of country punk perfectly as it combines hard-hitting rhythms, clever lyrical melodies, guitar riffs, and one stripped-down track. Fast-moving, beaty and uplifting, it is a worthy successor to DEViL.
Doin’ Fine, released for UK radio in October, is something of an anthem for our times with the words “A little laugh is the medicine we need…”, the ideal vehicle for Blu’s distinctive voice.
He has described 95 as a song about never forgetting the community back home and the family, friends and relationships that get us through every day. I found it a very busy song – it needs more listening, but I also expect it will become a fan favourite.
The harmonies of Balance reminded me a little of DEViL’s Valet and it features some of the most beautiful lyrics as he sings about trying to find the balance in life, definitely deserving of its EP debut and one I’m going to return to.
Relationships are at the heart of Prove Me Wrong, a conversation with a girl underpinned by a strong beat that really gets into your head.
Too Bad So Sad is the stripped-down song on the EP. Powerful and thought-provoking lyrics, a song that tugs at the emotions and showcases Blu’s impressive vocal range as it builds up towards the grand finale.
Interestingly, none of the writers featured on DEViL have contributed to this EP, which gives it a very fresh sound. I’m still waiting to find out which one will really get inside my head – something that Train and Valet from the preceding EP had no problem in doing.
Blu’s vocal talents are never in doubt, but with the exception of Too Bad So Sad there’s a much heavier, rockier sound coming out of this one as he bangs the country punk drum louder than ever. For fans of DEViL however, I suspect this new EP will take a little getting used to but as Blu says, it’s all about the vibe.
Along with the buzz about the new EP, Blu has also announced that he will start 2022 off on tour with DallasSmith on his ‘Some Things Never Change’ tour in Canada. Others to join that tour will be James BarkerBand, ShaunAusten, MeghanPatrick,andJoJoMason.
Country Punk EP Track List:
1. “Doin’ Fine” (Stephen Allbritten, David Brown, Nathan Dohse)
2. “95” (David Brown & Ryan Pattengale)
3. “Balance” (Stephen Allbritten, Jake Olbauhm, & Nathan Dohse)
4. “Prove Me Wrong” (Stephen Allbritten & Nathan Dohse)
5. “Too Bad So Sad” (Matt Lukasiewicz)