10 Songs, 33 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Royal Bliss are nothing if not survivors—they’ve endured years of hard touring and label changes, not to mention lead singer Neal Middleton’s near-fatal fall from a balcony in 2003. These experiences lend depth to Chasing the Sun, the Salt Lake City–based band’s self-released seventh album. The quartet have refined their blend of classic hard rock and post-grunge with each successive release; Middleton’s commanding snarl defines the band’s music, supported by Taylor Richards’ burly guitar work and the adamant rhythm section of bassist Dwayne Crawford and drummer Jake Smith. Royal Bliss switch from blazing frontal assaults (“Welcome”) to strutting funk grooves (“Rock You All Night Long”) and melodic arena-sized ballads (“Impossible”) with easy confidence. Lyrically, “Dreamer” and “Home” radiate a scarred but defiant idealism, while “Cry Sister” and “Turn Me On” seethe with erotic tension and danger. The album’s most revealing moment may be “Drink My Stupid Away,” a piano-centered confession that hints at the rough road the band have sometimes traveled.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Royal Bliss are nothing if not survivors—they’ve endured years of hard touring and label changes, not to mention lead singer Neal Middleton’s near-fatal fall from a balcony in 2003. These experiences lend depth to Chasing the Sun, the Salt Lake City–based band’s self-released seventh album. The quartet have refined their blend of classic hard rock and post-grunge with each successive release; Middleton’s commanding snarl defines the band’s music, supported by Taylor Richards’ burly guitar work and the adamant rhythm section of bassist Dwayne Crawford and drummer Jake Smith. Royal Bliss switch from blazing frontal assaults (“Welcome”) to strutting funk grooves (“Rock You All Night Long”) and melodic arena-sized ballads (“Impossible”) with easy confidence. Lyrically, “Dreamer” and “Home” radiate a scarred but defiant idealism, while “Cry Sister” and “Turn Me On” seethe with erotic tension and danger. The album’s most revealing moment may be “Drink My Stupid Away,” a piano-centered confession that hints at the rough road the band have sometimes traveled.

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About Royal Bliss

Self-described crafters of "heartland rock," hard rock band Royal Bliss formed in 1997 in Salt Lake City, Utah when guitarist Chris Harding met singer Neal Middleton at a Middleton solo gig. The band played and toured constantly in the Salt Lake area, building a solid fan base, finally settling on a lineup that included Middleton on vocals, Harding, and Taylor Richards on guitar, Jake Smith on drums, and Tommy Gunn on bass.

The group released the seven-song CD Free Again in 1998, following it up with the EP Gimmie a Little Bliss in 1999 and the full-length Old's Cool in 2001. Also appearing in 2001 was King Size, which included what would become several fan favorites. After the Chaos was issued in 2005, and again in modified form in 2006 as After the Chaos II. Thanks to a national distribution deal and strong sales, Royal Bliss caught the attention of Capitol Records, which released Life In-Between as part of a joint collaboration between Merovingian Music and Caroline Records in 2009. It cracked the Billboard 200, a first for the band. That same year saw the EP Live and Acoustic in Studio A and a holiday single called "I Just Want You (For Christmas)." The group's next two full-length studio albums, 2012's Waiting Out the Storm and 2014's Chasing the Sun, were released on their own Air Castle label.

The band had been touring steadily over the years and underwent some lineup changes before they relocated to Nashville, Tennessee for their next record and a fresh start of sorts. Invigorated by the finger-picking flair of their newest member, guitar and banjo player Sean Hennesy, Royal Bliss' next release incorporated a stronger country influence without letting up on their hard rock delivery. Self-released in 2016, The Truth EP featured the lineup of Middleton, Richards, Smith, Hennesy, and bassist Dwayne Crawford. ~ Steve Leggett & Marcy Donelson

ORIGIN
Salt Lake City, UT
GENRE
Rock
FORMED
1997

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