Traveling around the country playing music is was nothing new to the Followill boys — brothers Nathan, Caleb, Jared and cousin Matthew — when they started their American swamp-rock quartet, Kings of Leon. As boys, they traveled around the country with Nathan, Caleb and Jared’s father, Ivan, a Pentecostal preacher with a flair for the road. Equally influenced by their Pentecostal upbringing and Jack Daniels, the boys set off to woo the American Dream.
Little do Kings of Leon know, but they are the quintessential manifestation of what American dreams of are made of. With a little grit and even more moxie, a rag-tag troupe of country boys with a nothing more than a song to sing —and a little pomp and swagger — can eventually rattle the hallowed chambers of Madison Square Garden.
The Kings have an advantage other bands can always boast: They share not only a similar narrative, but a bloodline as well. Genetically speaking, these four troubadours are more similar to anyone else on the planet which — despite their obvious distinctions — make them the perfect band mates. This can only be why their sound (rich, swampy, tempestuously brutal) is achieved so effortlessly. Watching their performances, one notices the harmony that’s achieved not only in dulcet tones, but in presence as well, fluidly constructing sounds and harmonics in the way Eastern European family might bake the week’s bread: step by step and with great zeal.
Listen to the track "Charmer" on Because of the Times for a sonic diorama of this concept: the mortar of a staccato bass line cuts sharply through audio haze, followed by a layer of percussion adhesive, topped of with equally perforated guitar riffs. By the time Caleb’s vocal slather on smoothly, the edifice is already sound. It’s almost as if the same rhythm was derived internally — perhaps on the chromosomal level.
Kings of Leon and their guests The Walkmen open the PNC Pavilion's outdoor concert season Tuesday evening. The show is sold out. Find more details here.