In the same city where Bob Dylan, Prince and even those scrappy garage rockers The Replacements all got their start, another standout rock 'n' roll act, Hyland, has been quickly making a name for itself in Minneapolis and beyond.
Armed with a veritable arsenal of inventive hooks and inspired melodies, a relatable, everyman take on everything from God to girls and the tireless work ethic Midwesterners are known for, Hyland is about to make its mark on an even grander scale with Weights and Measures, the band's first full-length release.
Comprised of frontman Jon Lewis, guitarist Mitch Hansen, keyboardist Ben Early and drummer Steve Weigel, Hyland serves up eclectic anthems reminiscent of Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World and Anberlin. But instead of the same tired sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll routine, Hyland's songs were born out of the real-life joys and struggles on the journey of faith.
"I've been a Christian for almost all my life, and I still can't wrap my head around God's unchanging grace," Jon shares. "So to make up for my lack of understanding, I write songs to help basically explain it to myself."
Growing up in a conservative home were Christian music of the adult contemporary persuasion was all Jon wall allowed to listen to, he still remembers the day when Kathy Troccoli, Amy Grant and Clay Crosse was eventually replaced with classic rock's finest.
"When I was 16 and could finally drive, I immediately found the first classic rock station I could get in my car," Jon remembers. "I was just trying to catch up on all the Led Zepplin and The Who music I'd missed."
"I absolutely love writing songs with a clear message, all while feeling completely genuine and connected," Jon shares. "That's not always an easy thing to balance. And when you're combining rock with intention, you better do it with authority, and you better do it well."
And after finding that essential balance with plenty of style to boot is what inevitably caught the attention of famed producer Aaron Sprinkle .Singer Jon Lewis describes how the signing happened:
"Here we were, in the process of getting songs ready for our next independent recording... Aaron Sprinkle called, asking if he could personally pitch us to Tooth&Nail. We've always been huge supporters of T&N and their artists, it's an honor to now be one of them. The opportunity, the songs, the vision... it's all coming together. Our first single heads to radio in February... And for the first time ever, I'm excited for a Minnesota Winter!"
With a strong local following and independent EP, Hyland blew away Tooth & Nail with their live performance and strong original songs. The band also won the Club Three Degree’s music tournament, and have performed at many major festivals across the nation: Creation West, Sonshine, Lifelight, Lifest, Hills Alive, Alive Fest, Purple Door, Big Ticket, and SXSW.
You can check out the tour schedule for Hyland here, so you can see this great band live!
I have really enjoyed having the chance to partner with some amazing artists the last few months as part of my review work with Overture Music. Much of the music I have review have been my "typical" favorite genres, however every so often I have been able to find new favorite groups consisting of music I would not have thought to listen to. Hyland is one of those groups.
With an alternative rock style, Hyland combines deep, poignant lyrics with amazing guitar hooks and strong vocals to produce a fantastic debut release. Tooth and Nail hit the jackpot signing this group! I especially enjoyed tracks like "Never", and "Crying Out", but the entire album is great! The lyrics really will impact a lot of people, and many will relate to the depth with which the songs were written. I look forward to hearing more from this group in the future.
I highly recommend this CD and give it a huge thumbs up!
BUY IT: You can purchase Hyland through your favorite local Christian music retailer, from Tooth and Nail
***I received a complimentary copy of this CD, courtesy of Tooth and Nail and Overture Media, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***