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EP Review: Two Story Road by Two Story Road

Two Story Road is the husband and wife duo of Brandon and Jamelle Fraley. Brandon has toured with Gretchen Wilson and Danny Gokey while Jamelle used to sing backup for Carrie Underwood. They met each other while they were both attending Belmont University and the rest is history. They released their self titled EP last December. The trouble was I first listened to it while I was listening to all of the other music I got in 2015. It sort of lost in the shuffle after having listened to so much other new stuff. Please note that that is in no way a reflection of the EP itself; I did like it quite a bit. It was more a case of listening too much new stuff too close together. I'm a little ashamed to say that I hadn't thought about it in a while until the opening song, "Arson", came on when I had my music of shuffle.

I'd had my music on in the background while focusing on something else so I hadn't really been paying too much attention to what was playing. At least not until "Arson" came on. The music grabbed my ear immediately and then I got completely caught up in the story that was unfolding. I had to go back and listen to it again. From there I had to go and listen to the rest of the EP which I ended up loving. So here's this great EP that's just been casually chilling out in my music library over the past few months. "Arson" coming on that day was like a musical slap upside the head. You need those every now and then. 

The past couple of days I've been spending some time not only listening to Two Story Road, but watching some of the videos they have on their YouTube channel and some on Facebook - as always, links to all of their socials will be included at the end of the post. But in watching their videos and hearing them talk about these songs, it's given me an idea of what they're like not just as artists but as people. And you know what? I like them a lot. There's something very endearing and charming about them. As a couple, they're kind of adorable. Musically speaking, their voices were made for each other. They remind me of Thompson Square that way, though their music has elements of Little Big Town and even Trick Pony to it. Considering how much I love all three of those acts, that is high praise indeed. So let's talk about each of the songs.

"Arson" - Like I said in the introduction, this song immediately caught my ear. The song is pretty dark and the music reflects that darkness perfectly. Some of you know that I have a bit of a weakness for these kinds of songs. Songs about things like abuse and murder and vengeance. I find them to be the most interesting songs and I think that it's important to have songs like this out there. Music, country music in particular, is supposed to be true to life. The story "Arson" tells is not a pretty one, but life isn't always pretty. These kinds of things happen and I have a lot of respect for artists who don't shy away from them. In this case, "Arson" is the story of an older sister taking drastic measures to save her little sister from their abusive father. As Jamelle sings, "The paper called it arson/ But I did what had to be done". I think it's a great concept and Jamelle's delivery is exactly what the song needed. It's so convincing and there's something delightfully eerie about the harmonies. I like how well Brandon supports her lead and then the way his voice punches through near the end. I love that they didn't just include this song, but chose it to open the album. It's a heck of a statement to kick things off. Right off the bat, you know that this is a duo with substance. 

"I Got It" - We go from a song about arson to a sweet love song which should be jarring, but somehow isn't. At all. It somehow feels like a natural progression. Go figure. I think it's the music; it just makes for a nice follow up song. While "Arson" featured Jamelle on lead, they split the lead on "I Got It" which is nice. I love the way this song is crafted. The chorus serves to kind of answer the verse before. Isn't that what songs always do, you ask? Yes, but not quite like this. At least not all that often. You really have to listen to it to get what I mean. On a bit of a sidenote, Brandon's voice has a Bryan White quality to it. I say that as a compliment. A big one. Brandon's voice is maybe a bit huskier, for lack of a better word, but that's who came to mind. Anyway, I really like this song and knowing that it's a married couple singing it adds a little something special to it. Lovely little song. 

"Russian History" - This is a cute song about a woman who is informing the man in her life that he knows her about as well as he knows Russian history. If not less. Near the end, she admits that she doesn't know him so well yet either but something about the two of them together just makes sense. I like the way this song is structured, where she's sort of talk-singing the verses. You don't seem to hear too many songs that do that - and note that this is not what I'd consider rapping, if that's where your mind went. This song always makes me smile when I listen to it.

"Typical" - A song about an on again/off again relationship between two people that keep falling into the same patterns, Her throwing things and him going off to the bar. Breaking up just to get back together again. Because it's just so typical of them. As they sing, "I'm a wreck and you're a mess/ Always breaking up and making up/ And breaking up and making up/ It's just so typical". Great vocals by both of them. On the EP as a whole, really, but especially here. 

"Permanent Ink"- What a wonderful concept and once that can adapt to each person hearing it. It's all about a person who has left their mark on your life and on your heart. Like a tattoo that won't ever fade, the love you have for them won't ever fade either. Beautiful lyric. I really like the melody too. 

"Light of the Moon" - In one of their videos I've watched recently, they said that they were thinking of Little Big Town when writing this. Now being the huge LBT fan I am, that made me rather curious. And a little skeptical as to how well they could have possibly channeled my favorite foursome, I admit it. I admit it because my skepticism was unwarrented.This song is on par with vintage Little Big Town. This song would've been right at home on The Road to Here. Suffice to say, this is one of my favorite tracks on the EP. I love it. Great way to close out the EP.

This EP does what every EP should do. It makes you want more. It was actually a little sad to come to the end because I didn't want it to stop. I think the songs that they chose really give you a taste of who they are and what they can do. Two Story Road was produced by Mark Bright and, man, did he do a great job. This production is on point. Hopefully this has made you want to check them out for yourselves. Listening to this makes me excited to see what they do in the genre. And really hope that I get a chance to see them live at some point.

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