REVIEW: Wicked Peace bring the best of then and now to “High Road” EP

By Matt Wickstrom

Wicked Peace is Jared Davis, Patrick Brumback, John Tanner Blevins, Amanda Turner and Matthew Holleran

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Indie folk/pop quartet Wicked Peace return to their whimsical ways on the High Road EP, out June 28 via CherryMoon Media. the three-song effort is the band’s third EP in eight months following November 2018’s Portland EP and February’s Evening EP.

Recorded at the band’s home base of Butchwood Studio, High Road features special guest Raymond McClain, the director of the Kentucky Center For Traditional Music at Morehead State University and member of the McLain Family Band, on fiddle and banjo arrangements on portions of the project, adding a bluegrass and distinct Appalachian flavor to Wicked Peace’s otherwise catchy and quirky concoction of indie rock. The connection comes about from each of Wicked Peace’s members — John Tanner Blevins, Patrick Brumback, Amanda Jade Turner, Matthew Holleran, Jared Davis — having all graduated from the university.

Kicking off the EP, front woman Amanda Turner takes the high road on “Your Girlfriend Thinks I’m Crazy,” a striking tale of love lost that’s anything but run of the mill. The song begins with a foot stomping banjo beat from Brumback before Turner chimes in, conjuring visions of a past flame long burned out, too focused on thinking of the good times shared together to remember the reasons things between them never worked out in the first place. Turner goes on to explain her conundrum in the song’s chorus, stating “You’re my weak spot / You’re my achilles heel / You’re the only thing that let’s me know forever is real / You’re my downfall / You run me off the tracks / And I know right now you’re gone / But I know you’ll be back.”

Following the light-hearted banjo flurry on the EP’s opening track, McLain trades it out for a fiddle on “Anything,” a somber and desolate tale of love gone sour from Turner. The song describes the experience of someone in cahoots with a narcissist with a victim mindset, never wanting to take accountability of their own actions and misdeeds as they continue down their reckless path. As the song unfolds it becomes clear that it’s a moment of empowerment and breakthrough for Turner, who breaks through the shackles near the tune’s conclusion, exclaiming “I let you walk all over me / I used to feel the sting” before describing her future reluctance to open up with “Now that you’re gone I’m terrified / That I’ll never feel anything.”

View the band’s official video for “Anything,” filmed in the scenic, snowy backdrop of Kentucky’s iconic rolling horse farm fields, below.

Closing out the EP is title track “High Road,” a cut that sees Amanda Turner hand the reigns over to brother and guitarist Tanner Blevins for a slow building rock medley that gives proper justice to the band’s unpredictable and infectious live sound. With heavily layered harmonies, extended jams an a surprise foot-stomping fiddle break down, the song expertly welds together the band’s upbeat, new age indie rock vibe with the region’s intimate and illustrious folk and Appalachian roots for a sound bringing the best of yesterday and tomorrow to the present.

Wicked Peace is next in action locally on July 19 at the recently opened Abettor Brewing Co. in Winchester. For more on the band visit WickedPeaceBand.com.

Listen to the High Road EP in it’s entirety below.


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