With an abundance of musical options available to even the most discerning music fan in the modern age, it’s refreshing to have a show like The Bongo Boy Rock n Roll TV Show. A show that can curate and compile the cream of the crop of grassroots music. That sorts the wheat from the chaff, as the saying goes. A show that takes the effort out of finding the best new music and the rising stars of the moment. To this end, these shows are a dazzling array of video performances featuring both exceptional music and stunning visuals.
For over a decade, the Bongo Boy Rock n Roll TV Show has held a prominent position on national TV, airing in prime time on terrestrial channels. Every episode features a plethora of new music, traversing various genres, styles, and regions in its selections. Since its debut, the show has received extensive airplay on more than 72 TV channels throughout the United States.
Things kick off with The NEW Bardots, a band I consider a fantastic find thanks to these shows, and Corporate Businessman sees them doing what they do best. A sleazy, slinky, low-slung and swaggering blend of blues and old-school rock and roll, here sounding not a million miles away from the more chart-accessible end of ZZ Top’s back catalogue but a band standing on the shoulders of all manner of rock and roll giants and blues kings.
HiLo, by Dwight & Nicole, also wanders some bluesy highways, but it feels like a hot new take on the genre. When you analyse what’s going on musically, you can hear the blues, gospel and soul traditions at work, but there is also something else going on, something alternative, punky, rulebreaking and sounding like an update on what has gone before. Blues for a new age? Raucous rock n soul? Punk gospel? I don’t know; call it what you will; it still feels like a breath of fresh air breezing through some established music traditions.
Jasmine Crowe is where things change tack. Breaking Things is a slice of dance-infused pop, a sleek slice of chart-bound sonic sophistication. It is full of groove, wonderfully infectious and is just one example of why she is one to watch. And from here, things move on again, one of the great things about the curation of these shows.
Les Stroud offers a pop-rock piece with heart. Making an ecological stance against the destructive hand of man, he takes his six-string core and wraps it neatly in dynamic tones and textures – chiming piano, wandering bass lines, dramatic punctuations, heady crescendoes and delicate troughs. But if the music is impressive, the message being driven home stays in the mind after the last notes fade.
Last Kiss Goodbye sees Haley Reinhart blending light yet lively cocktail jazz vibes with pop infectiousness and spacious music with deft and delicate instrumentation. As the title suggests, a bittersweet song of leaving and longing, but so perky and poised that you can’t help but get caught up in the optimism that oozes from her voice.
If ever you have been in those positions where you feel the urge to fight back, walk out of that stress-filled job, stand up to the bully, kick against the suits and bosses who make your life hell, Christopher Shayne has the song for you. An anthemic call to arms, an invitation to break out of the status quo and leave the rat race, all put to a solid, grunge-infused sonic sucker punch to the system. Burn It Down, indeed!
And finally, the eloquently named Radiator King rounds things off with a poised and powerful piece of folk with So Long (Charlie), a heart-tugging narrative about incarceration and friendship—the perfect playout to yet another most excellent suite of songs.
You could follow internet leads, tune into the radio, listen to recommendations, and go to gigs on the off-chance of finding something new and extraordinary. You could do all that, or you could tune into Bongo Boy’s Rock n Roll TV show every month and listen to the music they selected for you. You may not fall in love with everything they put in front of you (although there is a good chance that you will), but it’s a much more secure system than just leaving everything to chance.