The Nightowls

Fame Sessions

by John Paul

23 November 2015

cover art

The Nightowls

Fame Sessions

(Super Sonic Sounds)
US: 4 Sep 2015
UK: 4 Sep 2015

Austin-based 10-piece the Nightowls’ decision to record their latest at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals simply makes sense. The eight originals on Fame Sessions perfectly capture the sound and feel of the countless iconic sides cut at the legendary studio during its heyday. While more slickly produced than their spiritual predecessors, one can still hear the ghosts of soul singers past haunting the album’s tight half hour runtime.

Lead vocalist Ryan Harkrider’s timbre manages to sit between that of contemporaries Bruno Mars and Sharon Jones, capable of the former’s silky smooth phrasing and the latter’s raspy soul shouting. Backed by a sprawling cast of musicians, the group taps into the best of Aretha, Sam and Dave, Motown and a host of soul luminaries. Both “City Love” and opening track “Nobody But You” could easily pass for lost classics were it not for the at-times distractingly slick production. By no means a backhanded compliment, instead it speaks volumes to the overall quality of the material. Given its place of origin, it’s simply a little jarring to hear such a modern-sounding album after years of consuming the countless classics produced in Muscle Shoals.

Fame Sessions


We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.

//Mixed media

Call for Music Writers... Hip-Hop, Soul, Electronic, Rock, Indie, Americana, Jazz, World and More

// Announcements

"PopMatters is looking for smart music writers. We're looking for talented writers with deep genre knowledge of music and its present and…

READ the article