Ever since the successful release of Radio Company’s debut album, Vol. 1, fans have been craving new music from the dynamic duo comprised of Steve Carlson and Jensen Ackles. After a year and a half, accompanied by teasers with singles “City Grown Willow” and “Quarter To”, the waiting is over! Vol. 2 is finally here and it does not disappoint!
If you’re not familiar with Radio Company, a brief description of the band from their website can be found below.
“Radio Company was formed in 2018 in Austin, TX as a collaboration between Jensen Ackles and Steve Carlson. The two have been writing and performing together for nearly 15 years. While roommates in Los Angeles the two developed a short hand in writing music together. Carlson’s award-winning 2014 Rockumentary, titled “Different Town”, was inspired by the song, of the same title, that was written by the two while traveling. A few years later, Ackles and Carlson relocated to Austin, TX and decided to form Radio Company.”
We over here at Nerds and Beyond are big fans of Radio Company, and as such, we compiled a track by track review of the band’s newest album to highlight their musical prowess just like we did for Vol. 1. Check it out below!
All My Livin Time
This track opens up the album with a bang. The deep, smoky tones of Ackles at the forefront of this song combined with a medium tempo instrumental accompaniment infused with aspects of both jazz and rock combines to make a soulful, alluring first track that absolutely sets the tone for the rest of the album. Carlson’s vocals fit in so seamlessly with Ackles’ that at times, you might even find it hard to distinguish between the two. The song progressively builds, and from one very memorable scream from Mr. Ackles about halfway through, the song has undeniably built to a crescendo that sets the rest of the album up for great success.
One of the lighter tracks on the album, this song sounds like sunshine on a warm summer day. Carlson and Ackles’ mellifluous voices blend seamlessly, working together to highlight each others’ vocal strengths and ranges as they trade off between carrying the harmony and melody; the two perfectly balance one another out without overpowering each other. The upbeat strumming pattern, light melodies, and powerful lyrics all build to a gloriously triumphant ending that leaves you with a sense of bone-deep satisfaction and contentment in your soul.
Watching over Me
Maintaining the slower tempo, “Watching over Me” delivers an unexpected emotional punch. The melancholic melodies heighten the heartbreakingly beautiful lyrics. The raw, emotional performance from Ackles drives a metaphorical knife through the heart as the meaning of his words “Couldn’t bear to talk/Without the will to breathe” sink in. The crescendo of vocals and instruments create a perfect sound that lulls you in and takes you on the journey laid out in the lyrics.
“Truly Forgotten” is its own unique concoction of various genres all mixed into a single song. The lyrical power of a storied country song mixed with the sultry sounds of jazz and the energy of a classic rock song puts this song in a class of it’s own. A sexy saxophone, deep base, fantastic harmonizing, and crystal clear vocals will leave you feeling as if your sat in a dark and smoky 1950’s jazz club.
Dead to Rights
“Dead to Rights” showcases the biggest strength of Radio Company — the vocals of Carlson and Ackles together. Their voices blend into smoky harmonies, and the song sounds like a classic country song made modern.
Jump on into the Fire
Radio Company brings the heat in the very best way in this instant hit. With a catchy chorus of “Jump on into the fire/ you gotta jump on into the fire” we’re more than willing to hop right into those metaphorical flames if it means jamming this hit all summer long. A killer guitar riff amplifies the powerful vocals delivered by Ackles and kicks the song up several notches just as you think it’s found it’s groove.
Eyes on Me
The Carlson-led vocals of this song curl around you in a way that feels almost dangerous — but in the best way possible. Reminiscing on the feelings that made themselves know when the speaker and their lover met for the first time, this song replicates the feel of the chase, of that initial spark and connection that one experiences in that moment. The backup vocals do a great job of drawing you in, and when all of these elements combine, it culminates in a gritty, suave, and sultry sound that you can’t help but love.
Any Way That You Want Me
The upbeat “Any Way That You Want Me” is a radio-ready track about falling in love and wanting to be everything to a new partner. It’s a happy declaration of love with excellent lyrics like “I’ll pretend that all of this is new/seal away the truth/any way that you want me/take the place of all I held onto/steal away with you/any way that you want me.”
City Grown Willow
“City Grown Willow” was the first song released from Vol. 2, and it served as an excellent introduction to the tone that permeates the album. It’s a gentle lullaby of a song with lovely lyrics, especially the refrain “City grown willow/unchain your pillow/let the man from the mountains run away with your heart.” The layered vocals give it a dreamy quality, while the guitar section builds as the song goes on to a grand finale.
Overall, Vol. 2 brought a distinctly different sound to the table than Carlson and Ackles presented in Vol. 1. While Radio Company’s debut album felt more like an excellent hodgepodge of songs, Vol. 2 managed to maintain a deeper and more cohesive feel throughout its entirety, with a few tracks deviating into a lighter but no less emotion-filled range. The album did a great job of fleshing out the musical prowess of all parties — from the main vocalists to the backup singers to the instrumentalists. We can’t imagine the album being anything other than a success.
We loved every second of Vol. 2 and can’t wait to see what the already teased Vol. 3 brings in the (hopefully near) future. In addition to the album being out, new merchandise for Vol. 2 is available as well. Happy listening!