Music Reviews

New Year, New Writers, New Reviews: Donna Kern reviews Gyasi’s “Walk On”

When original power groupie Bebe Buell sets her doe-eyed sights on a new artist, you’d better listen up. Her impressive lineup of exes includes Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Todd Rundgren and Iggy Pop, after all, but back in February, Bebe wrote on Instagram, “This is @gyasitheband … it’s safe to say that there’s no one like him in Nashville. Our very own rock God!” That’s some high praise from the high priestess of rock star muses.

Bebe and Gyasi live in Nashville now and so, it increasingly seems, does rock ‘n’ roll. From the moment you land at the Nashville airport, spinning guitar displays, live music stages, and an entire Gibson-themed café scream that the city’s nickname is more than just a marketing ploy. It’s no coincidence then that Music City, where real instruments and songwriting are still king, where people still play the guitar with their teeth just to give the crowd a little thrill, is nurturing not only country music, but some of the most interesting new rock bands fighting the good, loud fight and bringing back a rhinestone cowboy level of glamour to a genre too long drowned in flannel and ambivalence from the drab days of grunge. Bands like the Blam Blams, DeeOhGee, Savoy Motel, Good Dog Nigel, Creamer, and of course, Gyasi carry the glittery torch in style. Even glam founding father Sylvain Sylvain of the New York Dolls hangs up his feather boa in Nashville these days.

Our current climate of staying at home and quietly crying into our herbal tea feels about as far away from sequined star jackets and slinky guitar solos as it’s possible to get, especially after even the author of iconic anthem “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” the exceedingly glamorous Alan Merrill, breathed his last breath on a ventilator. But chin up, lovers of sparkle. Not even the plane crash that took Buddy Holly and friends to their frosty end in that fateful Iowa cornfield could kill the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. Cast off your bunny slippers and dust off those platform boots, the ones that aren’t really made for walking but look like fire. Gyasi’s new song doesn’t even need to plug in all their guitars to get you feeling feverish in the old-fashioned fun way, the way that Elvis meant when he sang, “Lord almighty / I feel my temperature rising / Higher, higher / It’s burning through to my soul,”  and not the current way, which is more like, “Lord almighty / I think that I might be dying / Where’s the Advil / And the nearest drive-thru test?” After persuasive 2018 EP Peacock Fantasies and sizzling 2019 full length Androgyne, Gyasi is back to sparkle in spangles and major Tyrannosaurus Rex-era Marc Bolan vibe wizardry on their new single “Walk On,” brought to life in an ultimate wild west road trip music video geared to amp up your quarantine wanderlust. Where they’re headed, all you really need to get by is a trusty eyeliner and a bad attitude. I don’t know about you, but Bebe and I are already packed.

Check out the video for “Walk On” below:

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