"Do not trust people who call themselves musicians or record collectors who say that they don't like Bob Dylan or The Beatles. They do not love music if those words come out of their mouths." - Jack White
I spend a lot of time with a lot of musicians. MOST all of them agree that the Beatles are THE Beatles, enough said BUT I have heard from a lot of musician's, a disdain for Bob Dylan. Okay, personal preferences, yes, BUT........ I think it sparks a bigger question.
Are lyrics music?
Does music need lyrics?
I feel like the musicians I meet are either jazz, funk, groove music-nerd types OR pen and journal, acoustic guitar, southern twang folk musicians and unfortunately I don't see a lot of cross over between the two different groups. They don't create music together, they don't go to the same open-mics/jams, they frankly seem to not even acknowledge that the other group is creating something at the same time they are in the club next door. Speaking generally of course, there are exceptions.
The critiques I imagine each group has for the other:
"The music-nerd types don't care about the "art" when they write lyrics its always half assed and goofy because they are afraid and incapable of saying anything real and this is frustrating and boring."
"The folk-singer types think that they can read an essay over the same three chords and we are all supposed to drop what we are doing and gawk in awe but if these people cared about their art they would study music and get some real skills"
Now this is harsh but I think it accounts for some of the segregation. You might say to yourself, "well yeah each person thinks the other is lacking and boring sooo, to each his own! Let each ignore the other, no harm done." And, well, you would be right in step with a lot of the music scene but, I believe, this attitude has a significant negative impact on creative output.
Lets look at this through a different lense:
Is music a movie?
Do Movies need Music?
The answer to these questions, and the lyric/music questions above is clearly: NO
BUT imagine A George Lucas film with a John Williams soundtrack... pretty amazing right? Well what if a director spent years, and millions of dollars filming Star Wars and then was like, oh shit..... I have to put music in this..... um just play some random piano keys it doesn't really matter, its about the MOVIE after all, not the music...... This would be insane it would be....... like spending a life-time studying music, creating something beautiful and then bullshitting some lyrics about silly puddy.
The same could be said if John Williams threw his music over some youtube videos of Kittens playing with yarn because he didn't have time to find a fitting film for the music and didn't want to write music FOR a film or compromise his pure music so it could be used to better a movie. Cute yes, but definitely won't help the music to have an impact on the listener.... this would be insane...... like studying words and pouring your soul out in a perfect poem but not taking the time to learn a 4th chord.......
So, the answer above is NO, LYRICS are NOT MUSIC and MUSIC does NOT need LYRICS but if you are going to put your song in a movie, make sure its a good movie and make sure you write music that fits the movie, and give the director freedom and authority to alter your music or put it where it best serves the movie AND if you are going to make a movie and you think it needs some music.... take some time and make sure you get some music that makes your movie BETTER because music CAN make movies BETTER and lyrics CAN make MUSIC better.
Its about respecting your art, respecting other people's skills and passions and pushing yourself and not half assing any single element of the creative process.
- Billy Litz
We are making efforts and taking steps to better reach out to and connect with the larger Hustle Souls family. Facebook and its peers have their benefits but the platform has its limits. A blog, we hope, will allow us to open up and communicate in a more authentic manner. We want to dig in and get to the real grit of things.
For our first entry we are more than honored to publish an article written about the band by Kerri Tucker. Reading this article was extremely humbling and serves to remind all of us why we put so much sweat into what we do. Check it out below!
Hustle and Heart Will Set You Apart - Kerri Tucker
I recently had the pleasure of discovering a new band, Hustle Souls! They are a high energy soul collective from Asheville, NC. Their rhythm is full of beautiful southern magic, and the lyrics are comfortingly familiar. Hitting you with raw emotion, and soul opening connection, they have a southern charm and smooth flow that warms the whole room with nostalgia. When something touches your soul, it never leaves you.
It is my pleasure to introduce the members of Hustle Souls. Billy Litz is on lead vocals, trumpet, piano/organ, and harmonica. Sean McCann is full of deep smiles on the bass. Christopher Everett lays down steady soul shreds on guitar. Tommy Moore sits on drums with steady rhythm that gets me movin and grovin along with a fresh young voice that compliments Billy’s deep soulful vocals. All the guys sing, creating a beautiful connection that has me singing my own heart out with them every time I hear them now. Each member plays their complimentary parts as emotions do in our mind, body, hearts and souls. You will find them often in North Carolina, where they found themselves a home, as well as up and down the east coast. They are new to the scene, and I have a good feeling about what they will bring to our music community.
The inspiration of the name Hustle souls is a play on the magical Muscle Shoals, home to Fame Studios in Alabama. The magic of Muscle Shoals has been a great inspiration to the music of America, as well as the members of the band. Hustle Souls has found their own piece of Muscle Shoals magic in the heart of Asheville NC, where they have made their selves a home. I had the pleasure of experiencing the mountain magic of North Carolina recently, and I am really looking forward to catching a Hustle Souls show here soon for the full experience.
I first saw Hustle souls when they opened for LITZ at the 8x10 in Baltimore, MD this winter. Both talented front men Austin Litz (LITZ) and Billy Litz (Hustle Souls) are brothers, leading the audience with vocals, keys, horns, and strong stage presence. The energy was a little distracting here, with the high energy of our lovely, funky LITZ family taking over the vibes.
I got to experience a different vibe when they came to my hometown of Solomons, MD a few months later. This was a last minute surprise show for me and I was up-close and personal, their energy taking my soul for one hell of a ride. They mellowed it out somewhat at this show, adjusting to their audience. This is a family friendly bar in a southern Maryland vs. the high energy club vibes of the 8x10. Their smooth southern soul was a sweet Sunday delight for my town. I got their beautiful stickers and their first and only EP; which I played nonstop for weeks. I had the pleasure of speaking with each of them and they showed gratitude for expression of themselves, music, and the support and energy there that night.
Their EP is a go to when my soul needs deep comforting healing. It makes great summer backyard chilling music, Sunday morning cruises to brunch with the windows down, or late night loving with your lover. It is what I jam to with my coworker at the end of a shift when we just got to sing out those blues!
Starting with “me oh my” (my favorite to sing to!) which tells the familiar tale of navigating relationships, and ourselves. Each note and lyrics glides through your soul with grace and beautiful rawness. Each song guides us through a collective soul session. They sing about how we live and learn through the dance of love and life, and express it in a way that is healing for anyone who listens. You’ll find Guitar that squeezes and pulls, and lyrics that are all too familiar yet comforting and full of inevitable evolving change.
I jammed this album through a month of rain this spring, which brought heavy soul growth to me which I am forever grateful for. A particular favorite bliss moment of mine off the album is near the end of “shake hands”. The harmonizing in here is so touching, gracing me with the most beauty I have felt in a long time. I feel like a harp being stroked gently, longingly. Listening to their EP I can’t help but hug myself, my core warm and cozy, music moving me.
They have the courage to put their stories, emotions, and souls out there, and that is inspiration for us all. We can acknowledge the familiar stories of love heartbreak, lessons, and life itself. This is what soul music is all about, feeling deep emotion through sound. This is the kind of band that sets a tone to make history through the “sound” of soul. When something touches your soul it never leaves you. It may come in waves, but they’ll hit you in that heavy place, hitting spots of your soul you didn’t know needed healing.
Hustle Souls just announced a collection of shows in North Carolina for the months of August and September. You are in for a healthy dose of southern hospitality and soul healing if you give their EP a listen or have the chance to make it down south for a show! Hustle and heart will surely set these southern souls apart.
AMERICAN ROOTS AND SOUL BAND BASED IN ASHEVILLE, NC