Written and media by Jake Cannon.
It’s hard to come by good rock and roll nowadays in the world of pop, auto-tune, and Lady Gaga. You can hardly find any truly good music with some soul. That’s where southern Illinois band, Ravenhill, steps in. Ravenhill has its humble beginnings in the lowly southern Illinois region, (in)famous for being a “quaint rural area,” according to the all-powerful Wikipedia. In an interview with Geek Sheek, front man Joshua Clifton said, “We started off with two of us and a friend in my living room after our other bands had ended with an acoustic [guitar], an air organ and a plastic tub just writing and experimenting with some songs for the fun of it.” Thus, Ravenhill was born. The band name came from evangelist, Leonard Ravenhill. “He lived for our Savior,” says Clifton, “He lived for truth and that’s what we want this band to be about.” The independent band (now residing in Nashville, Tennessee), has already released two EPs called “Ladies and Gentlemen, I Present To You” and “Lions.” Fresh off the recording block is their latest album entitled “Soul,” set to drop in about a month.
What can I compare Ravenhill’s sound to? Maybe NEEDTOBREATHE, blended with The Black Keys. But their sound, I feel, goes deeper than that. In the spirit of Leonard Ravenhill, Ravenhill sounds like something you would hear at a southern Baptist revival, minus any semblance of rock and roll, because that’s the devil’s music. The lyrics have soul. The guitars riffs have soul. The vocals have soul. Even the soul has soul. Ravenhill has successfully created the most soulful rock and roll I’ve heard in a while.
The album opens with a short little hymn as the band sings “Hallelujah.” This just gives you a brief taste of how the album will sound. After that, comes “You’ll Go Far Boy,” where the catchiest part easily comes at the end when the band sings in unison: “Rock and roll can save my soul/gotta get my head out of the clouds/gonna make my momma proud/gonna make my momma proud.” From there we really start to see the band shine with its spiritual side poking its head out with “Witches” where Clifton sings: “The truth it stings still we choose not to listen/living one foot in the grave/rotting from the inside out.” In “Oh Mercy!” Clifton sings of a man burdened by the seeds he has sown, “I have a heart but it needs life Lord/and you’re the only way/we will fight but lord we know we are strong/and all my enemies just seem to crumble/I’ve got a mansion built by the good Lord/and He’s come to carry me home.” But the most inspiring moment comes with “Blood On The Church Floor.” “I cried to God/and I questioned why/I was born to watch my momma die/your heart will heal/so you’ll be a man/and you can share her story with the world/there’s blood on the church floor.”
“After ‘Blood on the Church Floor’ was written,” says Clifton, “we knew that we had a niche to share the love of God to a different crowd then the norm.'” This seems to be the trend with a lot of “Christian” bands who seek to spread the love of Christ without shoving it down your throat. “Soul” balances this out perfectly. At Agapefest, I had the privilege of seeing these guys perform and let me tell you they know how to put on a show. Ravenhill has successfully blended gospel, soul, and rock and roll into perfect harmony. This is one band I would recommend you keep your eye on in the coming years. As Clifton sings, “we got the soul/we got that heart/we got a voice and a melody/let’s do our part.” Do your part and support this local band. You won’t regret it.
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Joshua Clifton – Lead Singer/Guitar
Dane Johns – Guitar
Taylor Chance – Guitar
Coleman Fitch – Drums
Brady Clifton – Bass