There is no such thing as a landlocked island, except the one where Sol Cat seems to live. It’s like a place where the mind isn’t fully aware of its surroundings, and confusion welcomes the creativity it inspires. Sol Cat’s eponymous self-released debut album doesn’t necessarily transport you to South Florida from Nashville, TN, but that is an appropriate enough concept. If Music City defines firm lines between genres, Sol Cat’s album champions redistricting, creating challenging new sounds in this arena of the traditional.
Think of a midnight drive somewhere warm, certainly the top is down, and yes, a beauty is in the passenger seat. The six-piece band suggests you can take this foggy, dreamlike scenario with you wherever you go. However, Sol Cat finds its own contentment and happiness in the valleys of Middle TN, grateful for the opportunity to tap into the mystical and spiritual musical foundation on which the land is built. The Athens of the South has an appeal any artist can feel — an enticing, drawing temptation.
Before relocating, Sol Cat’s members spent their time across the country, Miami to Los Angeles, New York City to The Gulf of Mexico. Musical influences span just as wide, yet an eclectic and oceanic resonance remains prevalent in their sound. Smooth grooves along the lines of George McCrae mix with semi-psych synth layers, while the likes of The Talking Heads and Laid Back inspire bouncy bass and slick guitar riffs.
With such a range of cultural and artistic influence, the creative process is equally interesting. Vocalist and writer Brett Hammann steers the musical direction of the band while guitarist Johnny Fisher leads the group into new and uncharted territory. Drummer Ryan Usher provides the rhythmic backbone for bassist Aaron Martin, who also acts as Sol Cat’s Art Director. Lead guitarist Jaan Cohan brings catchy licks and skills to melt any face, leaving keyboardist and studio engineer Jeremy Clark to play intuitively as the music essentially produces itself.
The group is now prepared and eager for the road, with its groundwork set for the message to spread. The Sol Cat sound is not as unfamiliar as it is forgotten; and those feelings and emotions poured into music past are ready to gracefully wash over a new generation. -Pedro Sanchez III