King Calaway – Tennessee’s Waiting

This Is Hit / Stoney Creek Records

Release Date: August 4th 2023

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

King Calaway– Tennessee’s Waiting (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Best Thing About Me Now
  2. Let It Flow (feat. Hailey Whitters)
  3. High Cost of Loving You
  4. California Gold
  5. Denim Jacket
  6. Tennessee’s Waiting
  7. Hometown Night
  8. Ease My Troubled Mind
  9. When I Get Home (feat. Zac Brown)
  10. The Other Half
  11. When I Call Your Name
  12. I’m Feelin’ Good (Steve Miller Band)
  13. Dive Bar
  14. What I Know Now
  15. Heathen (feat. Marcus King)
  16. The Dash

What do you get when you cross Hanson with The Jonas Brothers, and then told them to sing in the style of country band Zac Brown Band? Give up? Well… it’s American-Gibraltarian band King Calaway, that’s who! In all seriousness though, sometimes when you’re listening to country music or even when you’re listening to pop music, things can be a tad stale sometimes and maybe in a bit of a holding pattern. Probably not the case with female country music these days- both projects from Alana Springsteen and Ashley Cooke are incredibly strong lyrically, musically, and vocally. But if you think about male vocalists and bands, and then wonder if all types of ‘bro-country’ or ‘boyfriend-country’ all sound the same; then look no further than King Calaway who immediately buck this trend. I used to think they’d be a country boyband when I first heard their song “No Matter What” a few years back; but the new album Tennessee’s Waiting is chock full of country/rock goodness and reminds us that good music can still surprise us even during the glut of album and single releases in 2023 where it’s tough to find an album you really, really connect with on a soul level.

Comprising of Chris Deaton, Simon Dumas, Chad Michael Jervis, and Caleb Miller (with lead vocals shared between Simon and Chad); this 16 track album speaks to our souls and lets us know that some albums are just special- no matter what. “Best Thing About Me Now” is a romantic song from the persona to his wife, as the band eloquently and passionately relay that they best part about their lives right now is their wife. It’s a soothing, calm and powerful melody which is also incredibly honest and vulnerable- and beginning a rock album in this vein encourages us to keep on dancing but also to realise that authenticity and vulnerability are always good things to strive for, and that music isn’t too far gone as some people may say or believe. “Let It Flow”, with Hailey Whitters on guest vocals, is about a perfect summer and a teenage relationship that was special to the band when they were young- and though the two people in question may not be together anymore, the time in the past is looked upon with fondness and happiness, reminding us all that little moments in our lives can set in motion other events in our lives, and that certain moments can be the making or breaking of who we are as a person.

The rest of the album celebrates who the band have been, who they are now, and who they are becoming. “High Cost Of Loving You” speaks about falling in love with a toxic or dangerous woman, but entering into that relationship all the same because of the thrill of it all and because of the ‘benefits’ which seem to outweigh the ‘costs’ according to that person; while “California Gold” is a dreamy, laid-back and breezy melody where the persona has fallen in love with a gypsy and a nomadic person whom he cannot find and longs to see her again, no matter how long it takes. The melody speaks about how you can’t help who you fall in love with, and this song encourages us to take stock of our lives, and inspires us to make the tough calls and the hard decisions if we really want them in life. If we want that relationship, we should pursue it- but not to the point where we are called creepy and obsessive by others. “Denim Jacket”, a powerful piano led melody about a broken relationship, has the persona outlining that his ex can keep the denim jacket if only they both can get over the other person in a quick manner; while the title track speaks about the importance of having roots, and also about being grateful to have a hometown to call your own: We’ve been a band for five years. Chris is originally from Tennessee, but me, Simon and Caleb moved here about five years ago to pursue this band and I feel like after five years of being here, we finally made this feel like our home. We’ve made Nashville and Tennessee feel like our home. As much as we’ve wanted to do this as a career, there’s no better feeling than after weeks of travel finally getting home. And when we think of home now, we’re like, Tennessee is our home and we’ve made such great connections within the music community, within the songwriting community, and it just felt really fitting that that song be the title of the album. It can relate to anybody ’cause everybody has that place where their loved ones are, that feeling you get with your home, wherever you call home. I also think it’s for any kid that has a crazy dream to write songs and all that stuff. I think Tennessee was waiting for us, for King Calaway to happen. It wouldn’t have happened without Nashville, just through all the different connections that all four of us had made separately and we all made together and that’s where King Calaway started, was in that town.

The rocker “Hometown Night”, probably an unnecessary song, is a track about letting loose and having fun on a Friday night at the bar with your friends; while “Ease My Troubled Mind” delves deep into the topic of mental health, and highlights the persona longing for relief and for rest and solace in the form of his partner. “When I Get Home”, with Zac Brown on guest vocals, speaks about forgiveness and becoming a better person and making amends for the sins of your past- and even though some people you may have wronged may not forgive you right away, they may in time or they may not, and you have to be fine with that and live with that. The slow burn rocker “The Other Half” highlights the fact that you can’t get over someone so easily, especially someone you still love- and also the fact that your heart will still long for that someone or even that familiar relationship, and that’s ok, because people heal at different rates and in different time frames. The moving and emotional Vince Gill cover “When I Call Your Name” is recorded beautifully by the band, albeit with more melancholy and sadness; while the most jovial and celebratory track on the album is “I’m Feeling Good”, where the band champion and celebrate the notion of going out and living life to the fullest with the people you love and who love you as well.

“Dive Bar”, a track with a similar theme to the Black Eyed Peas song “Where Is The Love?”, speaks about building bridges and mending fences through banding together and having a drink to quell our issues and problems- and then knowing that people aren’t so different to each other than we all might think; while “What I Know Now” speaks about a one night stand, and the beginnings of a potential relationship where the persona wants to give a chance to. “Heathen”, the penultimate melody on this project, features Marcus King on guest vocals, and speaks about an ex who has hurt the persona, and the realisation and conclusion that ‘…you’re just a heathen, just when I thought I was healin’, you crawl back and mess with my feelings, you’re creepin’ inside my mind, you said, this is the last time, girl I believed it, but you’re just a heathen…’, and is one of the standout melodies on the album (especially in a musical sense with Marcus’s insane and out-of-this-world guitar playing!); but to me it is “The Dash” that means the most to me from this album. The album closer speaks about living a life of purpose and meaning and value, and ensuring that what people write about you on your tombstone is worth the read by the other people in your life left alive to read it. And as the band reiterate that ‘…when the good Lord calls me home, it’s just me and my restless soul, waiting up there by the pearly gates, when they carve my name in stone, and they plant that rock above my bones, I won’t give a damn about the dates, it ain’t the day that I was born or the day that I passed, it’s all the living I did in the dash…’; we are encouraged to not waste a single second here on this earth, and to always love people and cherish our relationships. We do not know if tomorrow is promised to us, and all we have is today. And so, let us live life as if every day is our last on Earth. “The Dash”- the final song on Tennessee’s Waiting, reminds us of our fragility yet also gives us an extra spring in our step as well.

There are a lot of musical sounds and lyrical themes explored in this album from King Calaway. Chris Deaton, Simon Dumas, Chad Michael Jervis, and Caleb Miller have delivered a beautiful and exquisite album full of relatable lyrics and heart-wrenching lessons and advice. I cannot wait to hear what’s in store for the quartet in the future, and you will not go wrong listening to this album. Well done guys, I can’t wait to hear what’s next from you guys! Call me a fan! Hopefully you will garner more and more fans as they years progress!

5 songs to listen to: California Gold, Tennessee’s Waiting, When I Get Home, Dive Bar, The Dash

Score: 4.5/5

RIYL: Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Zac Brown Band, Dan + Shay, Lady A, Brett Young, Thomas Rhett

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *