by Kimberly Shires
Check out Maryland native Neal Hooks’ most recent creation. Neal’s second album, “Juliette and Clyde,” is available to grace your earbuds wherever you choose to stream. Old school folks can even get hold of a CD soon.
“Juliette and Clyde” follows Neal Hooks’ first album, “Paper Lanterns,” from 2017. Neal says, “The album [“Juliette and Clyde”] means so much to me personally. The quality of the songs makes me feel like I belong as a songwriter. I feel like I have found my voice with this one.”
“Juliette and Clyde” features Neal on lead and rhythm guitar. He is joined by his childhood friends Jeremy Mason on drums and Jon Ennis on bass guitar. The album also features Gabe Resto on guitar, who is killing it at just 17 years old. Neal’s brother and sister, Keily Wolff and Brian Hooks, round out the sound on vocal harmony and Neal’s mom, Rhonie Wolff, adds great texture with the flute. Neal says, “The process of recording this album and working with my great friends is inspiring in and of itself.”
“Juliette and Clyde” is full of southern rock grooves and clever lyrics. The album title is a rendering of the fictional characters from Romeo and Juliette and Bonnie and Clyde. It ponders a partner switcharoo of the famous and infamous duos. What if Juliette got tired of the nice guy act in favor of the ‘rough around the edges’ Clyde? And, what if Bonnie decided she needed a little more romance in her life? The album track, “The Ballad of Bonnie and Romeo,” divulges the whole imaginative story. Neal says that the process of creating this album “became a muse of sorts and led to the writing of two more albums worth of material over the last year.” This is great news as it means we are just whetting our appetite for what is to come.
Kimberly Shires is a producer and owner of Hear Me Roar Studio. She is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who is passionate about empowering women to express themselves through music. Outside of music she enjoys hiking, biking and snuggling with her dog. Kimberly has called the DMV home her whole life.
Flow-bending artist aSanTIS discusses art, culture, and whether sound can solve the world’s problems in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
My interview with Amy Santis aka aSanTIS began in the most unexpected way. The Maryland-based flow-bending artist and lyrical storyteller came prepared to engage in conversation around questions I had posed – and she also brought one or two of her own thoughtful prompts based on her curiosities around my view of learning.
This practice of taking in her surroundings deeply through observation and inquiry has come naturally to aSanTIS ever since she was a young child. In terms of her early starts in music, she notes that she began as a discerning listener. “Just listening to music from my mom, on the radio, just being a consumer in the world of sound. But I think mainly, my mom has always loved dancing and listening to music, so that was sort of like second nature. We play music at gatherings, we play music in the car, and these songs are sort of like diaries that take us into a specific place.”
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