By Tracy Bringhurst
The song “A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock ‘n’ Roll” as performed by Marie and Donny Osmond was ironically neither really country or rock ‘n’ roll. It was a pop song, but the lyrics do point to that age-old division between country and rock ‘n’ roll music. Rider Soran of Rider & Rolling Thunder thinks there’s not much of a difference.
“To me it’s all rock ‘n’ roll,” said Soran. “To me there’s not much of a defining line between genres, it all seems like rock ‘n’ roll to me.”
Rider & Rolling Thunder releases the new EP titled On the Banks of the Tennessee on May 28, but the band is releasing singles and a new video prior to the EP. On April 2, the band releases the single “Eyes Like Diamonds” with accompanying video and on April 30 will release the single “Main St Shuffle.” People can follow the band on social media platforms and find the music on all major streaming platforms.
Soran, formerly from local band Marshall Poole, said these songs started as his senior project in college. He decided that he would write, record and release an album. He said he kept writing songs that wouldn’t really fit with Marshall Poole, and he and his buddies — Jacob Fredrickson on bass, Wade Ronsse drums and Jake Freeman on guitar — started recording in 2019 in Alabama at the second Muscle Shoals Sound Studio B, now Portside Sound.
“I’ve always liked writing nice little songs, and with Poole it was collaborative, starting with a riff and seeing where it goes,” said Soran. “And that’s fun but I’ve been enjoying writing songs in this style. A little country, folky and rock ‘n’ rolly. Just nice little tunes that aren’t too long.”
He grew up listening to old rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly music like Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, Elvis and the Rolling Stones; his favorite song is still “Honky Tonk Women.”
The new album, On the Banks of the Tennessee, incorporates all of those influences and more. It’s a solid record that dips in and out of country and rock but is not predictable or boring. Soran said the single “Eyes Like Diamonds” has a laid-back country vibe but has a beautiful string arrangement that comes in on the second verse.
The video for the song was directed by Soran’s manager Jennifer Orr, and her partner Zach Kranzler. It fits lovely and the images seem to pair perfectly with the tone of the song. “It’s about looking back on times gone by and memories and knowing you can’t go back,” Soran said.
The idea was to make it as simple and as real as they could, he said. There’s only a couple of straight-up country songs. The rest have more of a stony-southern rock feel with a smattering of blues. It’s a great listen and might be the not-so-country, country album that gains more attention than just a local following.