Like a caterpillar going through metamorphosis and becoming a butterfly, Magnolia Boulevard experiences a transformational process of growth on its latest EP, Things Are Gonna Change. The five song project out July 7 sees the Lexington, Kentucky based band embrace the change in their lives, both good and bad, from pandemic related isolation to motherhood and the sudden passing of founding drummer Todd Copeland in 2021, in the process proving how through all life’s hurdles you can still endure.
Throughout the EP the soul-stirring vocals of Maggie Noelle, blues-soaked electric guitar of Gregg Erwin and catchy keyboard arrangements of Ryan Allen are joined for the first time by bassist and Eastern Kentucky mainstay Chris Justice and drummer Chad Gravitt. Both are natural fits for the group who’ve helped to push the band’s fusion of rock, blues, soul and jam into new territory, especially Gravitt, a straight up rock’n roll drummer who was good friends with Copeland going all the way back to being on the drumline together in their high school marching band.
Over the course of Things Are Gonna Change’s five songs the band lays out the story of their lives over the past few years and how they’re collectively grown from it beginning with the frenetic, anxiety ridden “Grip”. Slowly the paranoia present in the lyrics of the song evolve, eventually yielding the happy, loving and nurturing “More” that concludes with Noelle triumphantly belting out how becoming a mother has given her a new perspective on life, singing “And I’ll break down the walls that I built once before, ‘Cause you build me up and you make me more.”
In many ways, the band has thrived in part of how they’ve built and lifted each other up since forming in 2017 after a chance encounter between Noelle and Erwin at a local songwriter night ignited a spark. At the time Erwin was new to town and Noelle was playing in a bluegrass band,
although she’d been yearning for a creative outlet where she could let loose like her idols Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi. Shy at first, Noelle eventually messaged Erwin on Facebook about joining forces, and a few months later the band was born.
In the six years since Magnolia Boulevard has gone on to develop a close relationship with PRS Guitars Founder and CEO Paul Reed Smith (who helped to mix and master Things Are Gonna Change) in addition to sharing stages with the likes of Blues Traveler, George Porter Jr., Marcus King, Neal Francis, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. The group has also been recognized for their excellence, winning the award for “Best Rock Band” at the Lexington Music Awards in 2018 and 2019 along with taking home first prize in the “On The Rise” band competition at Floydfest, one of the east coast’s biggest music festivals, in 2018.
Much like the band members of Magnolia Boulevard have endured over the highs and lows of the past few years, so has their music. The band’s emphatic and empowering anthems of love, self discovery, grief and uncertainty serve as a lesson to us all about life’s unpredictable nature and how to better live in the moment so we can appreciate everything and everyone around us before they’re gone.
“ All I can hope is that folks can relate to each song in their own way & can feel every ounce oflove that we put into them. There’s nothing more that I’d personally like to accomplish with ourmusic than to share space for people to bask in.” – MagBAND WEBSITE