Courtesy of Big Machine Records
TUPPER LAKE, NY (April 21, 2021) – BROCK GONYEA (pronounced GONE-yay) didn’t chase his dreams with trips to Nashville or go to countless writers’ nights and co-writes. He didn’t network or seek meetings with Music City movers and shakers. That is all evident from the very first notes of “All Night Long,” a transcendent take on vintage Country music. Without one bit of being mannered, the lanky upstate New Yorker who grew up listening to “Frauhlein,” “You Win Again,” “Pick Me Up On Your Way Down” and “There Stands The Glass” sounds as right now as anyone making records today.
Gonyea was raised in a family of musicians, bands that reach back generations. In a small town where logging was the chief occupation, the young man with the voice that has bits of Hank Sr.’s hollowed tone, Ray Price’s glisten and a touch of Ferlin Huskey’s strength absorbed what his family played. He emerged with a tone that was uniquely his own and extends to the songs he writes.
“As much as I want to be reminiscent of those old records of my grandparents, I want to get to that sound without sounding like a novelty,” Gonyea says. “With my voice, I come by the vibrato honestly. That’s what I was exposed to when I was younger, so that’s what I soaked up as a kid. This music comes from the inside out, and all of the players I recorded with for this project understood that.”
Whether the bittersweet “Pretending It’s Me,” the Hank Williams-evoking “Lovin’ You” or the Rockabilly thromp of “Where My Heart Is,” there’s a freshness to his music that captures the ear. His whisper of Roy Orbison vocal on “My World Turns To Silver” is impressive, as is Gonyea’s unearthing of an unrecorded Mel Tillis/Webb Pierce song: “All night Long.”
“I didn’t even know there were unreleased catalogues,” marvels Gonyea. “But the idea I could perform a song by one of my heroes? My father used to sing ‘There Stands The Glass,’ and say, ‘Your grandfather used to sing that song.’ Now I’m getting to sing a song by that artist? I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.”
Producer Julian Raymond (Glen Campbell, Insane Clown Posse, Fastball, Cheap Trick) assembled a core band of Time Jumpers steelmaster and Musicians Hall of Famer Paul Franklin, acclaimed upright bassist and Mark Knopfler vet Glenn Whorf, Academy of Country Music Guitarist of the Year Tom Bukovac and Emmy-nominated arranger/keyboardist Tim Lauer to create a cohesion of Gonyea’s influences that also captured the immediacy of today.
More refined than much of what’s happening on Country radio, Gonyea wanted to honor his roots. Recognizing that a 25-year-old channels where they come from, he also knows that influences can have a profound effect on how one writes – and he’s a cipher for all that’s come before. Fiercely protective of his creativity, he offers, “My music teacher told me, ‘Some of your lyrical content is a little beyond your years…’ So I got that feedback early, and I learned: I didn’t show my lyrics to her anymore. I’d show my friends and play some of the songs out, and that was plenty, because I knew this was what I should be doing.”
Gonyea’s teacher’s loss is contemporary music’s gain. Starting this Friday, April 23, people can hear this unique synthesis of old and new, borrowed and blue Country throughout a five-song collection called WHERE MY HEART IS (Big Machine Records). An introduction to a voice that chills, this young artist brings a perspective all his own.