The Whistles And The Bells The Whistles And The Bells on 180g LP + Download
The Whistles & The Bells’ debut album made a lot of noise in Nashville when self released locally last year and now New West Records is excited to bring the band’s ambitious and arresting sound to the masses with its worldwide release in August 2015. The vehicle of singer/songwriter Bryan Simpson, his first full-length is an accomplished effort that threads together indie rock, folk, alt-country and gospel to create a rich musical tapestry that matches the intense soul searching of his evocative and poetic lyrics.
Recorded with Grammy Award winning engineer Vance Powell (Jack White, Chris Thile, Buddy Guy), the eponymous album’s musical experimentation and exploration calls to mind Wilco's opus, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, while the powerful introspection and conviction reminds of Buddy Miller's beloved, Universal United House of Prayer. “Mercy Please” both kicks off the album and exemplifies the record’s scope and Simpson’s “everything and the kitchen sink” approach that he often takes in his genre blurring songwriting.
The track begins with a fingerpicked acoustic guitar, loping bass line and the protagonist decrying, “If we are what we eat/ then my future it is scary/ for I have been scarfing down the pages of the devil’s dictionary” giving way to drums, electric guitar, banjo and female backing vocals as he pleads for “just a little bit more mercy please.” As the song progresses, it gloriously unravels - instruments start to detune and slow - before it roars to an exhilarating climax featuring Latin trumpets over frenetic banjo playing and crashing drums. The effect is startling - that of a strange house of cards on the verge of collapse but which always manages to build itself back up again.
It was this song, one that Simpson says, “made his brain feel pregnant,” that was the catalyst for the album. It was also the one that led Nashville’s taste making station Lightning 100 to champion The Whistles & The Bells with impressive airplay which caused New West and the industry to take notice.