Friday, May 15, 2009

Duchess of York in RVA

Music’s New Royalty:

Introducing Duchess of York

What separates undiscovered talent from ordinary bands trying to make it big? A little bit of magic. It is with great will power that I refrain from littering this article with references to everyone form Queen and Zeppelin to the Jackson Five. Not because this band of brothers replicates the sounds of bands that precede them, not because there’s a lack of words to describe the music, the soulful heart-thumping music, but because I want to convey the grandeur this group of musicians inspires.

Embedded in the VCU dominated town of Richmond, Virginia is a band so insightful, majestic, and passionate, you’ll scarcely believe they’ve just finished puberty. Duchess of York is creating a rumbling in the downtown Richmond scene, that is uprooting music fans from the woodwork, and giving them a new band to idolize. I am one of those adoring fans. Hearing their music for the first time only a few short months ago, has labeled me a life-long fan. I’m talking stick with them through thick and thin, die hard, scream at the top of my lungs, and make no apologies fan. That ability, the ability to capture adoration and devotion with music alone, is the magic that Michael York, Austin York, Jacob Shank, and Constantine (Dean) Giavos possess.

When these magicians join forces, they conjure music that could have easily filled the entire Almost Famous soundtrack, Elton John or no Elton John. They are a wonderful mix of old school rock, reggae, glam and metal. With compelling ballads like “Half Moon”, where vocalist Michael York croons, “If you want me to stay, I think I’ll think I’ll quietly go…” they even channel the late Johnny Cash with poignancy not often seen in people of their years. On the anthem- inspiring “Little Boom Box”, (which could easily be the next “We Will Rock You”, blasting before sports event from now until eternity), DOY switches gears completely. They pound out a hard-hitting and undeniably cool track: the likes of which they’re most known for. But it is on the band’s newest single “Tangle Me Up” which shows their talent, as musicians most profoundly.

         This masterpiece of no uncertain standing, begins, with a daunting, nursery rhyme of a guitar solo, that slowly gets murkier as Austin and Dean quietly make their entrance, which last all of forty seconds. Even at a stage so early in their career, Duchess of York can make you wait, and want for the meat of the song to commerce, without losing your interest. Now, without warning or fumble, a clean transition into the loud, soul metal, that only they can produce. As if that weren’t enough, “Tangle Me Up” then takes a spin to 1970’s Kingston, where they “play that funky music, white boy”, and yet again showcase their uniqueness. You can instantaneously picture the hazes of smoke surrounding the youthful entertainers, and smell the incense burning as they whale “Ta-a-a-a-a-angle me up!” as gloriously as if has ever been sung. In a song with lyrics intimate and important, Duchess relies solely on the music. There are no tricks, trips, or pretentious guitar solos; just the artfully created rhythms that have built the band of tomorrow their unwavering following. If your itching to hear this celebrated band, visit and have a listen.

-Erika Wilkins

- Images from Duchess of York myspace.

Check out this video. 

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