REVIEW: THE GREAT AFFAIRS – EVERYBODY MOVES, NOBODY GETS HURT (2020)
October 31, 2020
When I was doing some research (honestly, I do!) before writing this, I went on to The Great Affairs website. I wish I hadn’t bothered.
That’s no reflection on the band – or indeed this record, which is superb – but, well. I’ll explain.
See, “Everybody Moves, Nobody Gets Hurt” has been out for a few weeks, and how did they celebrate this. From that very website, this is how: “We’ll be celebrating the album drop tomorrow(10/3) in Evansville, IN at Bokeh Lounge, doing an “Evening With”-style show, playing all night, with sets featuring stuff from every record in our catalog, along with a few covers we fancy, so wear sensible shoes if you plan on attending, because we’re going long.”
A proper gig. A real thing. Something you can be part of. Not a soulless thing on Facebook. Damn.
I’ll bet it was fabulous too, because this is exactly the sort of music that should be played live, to people, by people who give the impression that if they weren’t on stage, they’d be in the crowd.
Even if, you’ve never heard of TGA before, then you have heard them. Right from “I’m Alright”, the gleeful opener, this a journey through rock n roll. The sort you, me and everyone with any taste has always loved. When I was six years old, in 1982, My gran worked in a shop where there was a box of singles. I used to take my pocket money there every time we went to visit. The first single I can really, properly remember buying was “Centerfold” by J. Geils Band. This has the same gritty vibe.
Indeed, “….Alright” is way better than merely “alright”. Taking as it does the idea that Cheap Trick might jam on some Georgia Satellites tunes as its starting point.
That said, don’t think this is going to be a template for the album. No, instead, “….Hurt” does its thing, by begging, borrowing, stealing and rocking just the way it damn well pleases. “Believe In Ghosts”, a mid paced radio rocker, would make the likes of Gin Blossoms blush, “Lyvia” is an arena filler. Think Stereophonics in the “Dakota” era, or “High On Rose” which is so good it might be better than the opener. If you have heard The New Roses, you need this in your life. A 70’s sounding thing, but not retro, and crackling with energy.
As if to emphasise the point that this won’t fit in your box, nor does it do what you think it will, “In The Wreckage” would, if it was a Goo Goo Dolls song, see Messrs Rzeznik and Takac polishing another gold disc. Which they merrily follow up with a slice of piano led grandiosity, in “Worn Out Souls.”
Genuinely, it Is staggering how much ground they cover here across these ten songs. “Light Years” is a glam infused thing, “Three Leaf Clover” is a catchy slice of airy summertime, that has me longing for The Trews, while the day a song like “Satellite” can’t make the world better is the day we should all draw the curtains. From the same dirt roads as Petty, but sounding like everything and nothing all at once, this is music for and by people that just love it. Simple as that.
It even finishes with a genuine hard rocker. TGA have opened for Cinderella’s Tom Keifer and Jack Russell’s Great White. If they ever do again, this will go down a storm.
The Great Affairs here, surely are lust filled nights with your rock n roll bit on the side? The real skill here is that they pull all the disparate threads together and make it so cohesive. Like a compilation album, but all by one fantastic band, “Everybody Moves, Nobody Gets Hurt” is basically the sound of Denny Smith dusting off his songbook – and it is a real diamond of a thing.
The Great Affairs “Everybody Moves, Nobody Gets Hurt”
By Laurent C.
November 9, 2020
Although The GREAT AFFAIRS released a few albums in the past, it seems like their 2018 album “Ten & 2” was a fresh new start for them. After a handful of singles, The GREAT AFFAIRS are back with a full album. Opening track “I’m Alright” shows that the band still has one foot in classic rock’n’roll and the other one in powerpop. “Believe In Ghosts” has all the fine melodies and hooks to be radio hit or a movie soundtrack while “Lyvia” could please every AOR fan reading this (if there’s any!) The bands’s music sometimes gets close to BRYAN ADAMS (“High On Rose”) and can also be emotionally quiet (“In The Wreckage”, “Worn Out Souls” or “Three-Leaf Clover” that reminds me of The BLACK CROWES) but you’ll also hear a bit of 70s AEROSMITH in “Light Years” or in “The Ride” and some Southern rock in “Satellite.” These guys probably have listened to LED ZEPPELIN as much as CHEAP TRICK so you can imagine that they can’t go wrong.
"We immediately fall in love with Denny’s incredible voice. His lyrical energy and writing style will tug at the strings of your heart.
Denny Smith has a sound that you won’t be able to shut off. You’re witnessing the rise of something great and we can’t wait to see what’s around the corner for the artist."
-S. Ben Ali
-Keep Walking Music
“The Great Affairs is a rock ‘n’ roll band. And they made a rock ‘n’ roll record. You get it all: classic rock, power pop, roots rock, Southern Rock… When you think you are hearing Cheap Trick, The J. Geils Band, The Bottle Rockets and Bad Company at the same time, you are probably a good listener. More important, if you are looking for a Saturday-Night-Record, I have found you one.” - Patrick Donders
“It’s to Smith’s eternal credit that he’s able to craft songs that sound like you’ve known them forever....material that’s so good, it has to be asked: how is Smith still working on the fringes of cult fandom at this point? He deserves to be far more widely known. ”
“Denny Smith: An Overnight Low Denny Smith, the captivating frontman of rock band The Great Affairs has finally delivered his first solo album, An Overnight Low. Smith’s 12-track record contains exactly what fans have been hoping for; hook-heavy no frills rock and a healthy dose of contemplative ballads. Written and produced by Smith himself, An Overnight Low shows the singer-songwriter in a new light from his previous band efforts. The gorgeous “Leaving L.A.” is a cinematic love letter to the City of Angels, while the infectious “Hard Stop” is the kind of romantic rocker made for blasting from rooftops and car windows when needing a break away from the insanity of the world. For those not yet familiar with Denny Smith, his style can best be described as a stirring fusion of Tom Petty and Jon Bon Jovi, with a dash of the Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones. For fans of the aforementioned, An Overnight Low is the album you didn’t know you’ve been impatiently awaiting.” - Eric Allen
“Denny Smith-An Overnight Low. The frontman of The Great Affairs and fORMER finally put his own name on the cover with his solo debut. Unlike the harder-edged pop of fORMER, his solo excursion is more at peace with his other band; in other words, classic mid-tempo pop/rock that's radio-ready (90s radio that is). "Silver Lining" opens the album in fine fashion with just the right dose of melancholy to go along with a winning melody, while the more uptempo "Hard Stop" finds the golden mean between Butch Walker and The Gin Blossoms. "All in the Livin'" is an upbeat, acoustic number that's quite ingratiating, and the power ballad "Missing You" is another delight. Smith isn't going to reinvent the wheel, but that doesn't mean the ride isn't still smooth.” - Steve
“Only a few months ago I was reviewing an album called ‘Nothing’s Broken’ by The Die Youngs, aka Denny Smith and Kenny Wright, and here the dynamic duo are back again, accompanied by Henry Go on bass guitar and Patrick Miller on lead with a new album from The Great Affairs. Whilst ‘Nothing’s Broken’ was a good album I felt that it lacked some cohesion - something that, I’m happy to say, this album doesn’t suffer from. And this is despite the different flavours that Kenny and Denny bring to the table - Kenny with his classic rock stylings and Denny with his power pop sensibilities - the balance on this album is just right. ‘Left Of Me’ sees drummer Kenny Wright take the lead vocals in a low, down and dirty rock and roll track that isn’t too far away from a Cinderella kind of vibe. Denny then takes over with more of a Rick Springfield type of sound in the excellent ‘The Next Three Minutes’ which is as good a slice of power pop as Fountain Of Wayne’s ‘Stacy's Mom’ or ‘1985’ by Bowling For Soup. It’s a top, top tune and as good as they get plus, if you’re someone that simply doesn’t get The Rolling Stones, that’s an extra reason for you to sing along. Loudly and hoarsely. If the last song was one to sing along to then ‘Eyes In Every Room’ is one to sit back and listen to. The jaunty strumming of this acoustic number belies the seriousness of the lyrics which in turn make for an affecting experience. ‘California’ and ‘She Likes’ reinstates more of a party atmosphere as the band rock back out with much swagger culminating in the Foreigner-esque ‘Secret’s A Secret’. With such a choice selection of songs peppering the first half of the record it’s hard for the second half to outshine the first. But what the band manage to do is put together a solid set of songs like ‘Elise’, ‘I Can’t Sleep Alone’ and ‘Stay All Night’ which all share the lush, dreamy melodic pop overtones that equal just about anything that the Gigolo Aunts have recorded. With this record as evidence, it looks like The Great Affairs are coming into their own.” - Russ P.
— Uber Rock UK
“Imagine if you will the instant hooks and melodies of Cheap Trick with the Americana of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers complete with a hint of Ginger Wildheart’s countrified spirit and a hint here and there of the melodic edge of Aerosmith...'Dream in Stereo' is full of 13 laid back tracks which belong to be heard loud while in the car driving on an endless dusty highway.” - Gary Clarke
— Screamer Magazine
“THE GREAT AFFAIRS – Dream In StereoFollowing their third release ‘Happy Ender’ in 2011, US roots rockers seemed set to call time on their career, with frontman Denny Smith moving on to other projects. Luckily, they had a change of heart and following a shift of line up, 2013’s ‘4’ was arguably the best of their career to date.A couple of years on, ‘Dream In Stereo’ is a record that, in a few places, finds the Nashville quartet rocking harder than ever. Never more is this the case than during a hard hitting opener ‘Left of Me’. This tune comes with a huge blues-drenched swagger in the guitar department, while Kenny Wright’s throaty vocal settles for something distinctly late 80s as he channels Great White’s Jack Russell. With an additional harmony via the band’s long-serving mentor Denny Smith, there’s more than enough melody too, while musically a world of slide guitar attitude and some great harmonica ensure a decent send-off. Bringing similar old style rock ‘Secret’s A Secret’ brings a whole world of Stones-y guitars, a flash of organ and a southern charm. Despite a guitar solo straight from the Black Crowes school of thought, it’s Wright who owns the track; his hard, raspy delivery is out there front and centre, with a love it/hate it gruffness that means business. Both tracks show The Great Affairs rockin’ side in a very strong light.A little rootsier – and veering towards more of a retro-pop feel – Smith takes the reins for ‘The Next Three Minutes’, his quieter vocal tones pitched well against a staccato guitar before blooming into a rousing chorus, full of harmonies. Although a tune fairly typical of latter day Great Affairs’, it’s perhaps closer in tone to some of the material by related band The Die Youngs, particularly once it finds its stride and proves itself fairly infectious. A similar thoughtfulness cuts through the moodier ‘I Can’t Sleep Alone’ placing Smith’s aching voice against huge minor-key chords and a spacious arrangement before stepping into a strong pop/rock chorus. Under the slightly distorted chords, a melodic bass pins everything together on what occasionally feels like a twenty first century equivalent of Billy Falcon’s work. Revisiting a favourite Great Affairs theme of the open road, ‘The Highway’ is a brilliant alt-country number. A finger picked acoustic guitar is overlaid with dobro to great effect, while the protagonist tells the tale of a lost love who hates travelling – the hushed and downbeat mood providing the perfect foil for Smith’s natural voice, feeling somewhat like a throwback to the band’s excellent ‘Happy Ender’. For those who may not always enjoy the hard rock bought to the band since Wright’s arrival, this tune will certainly provide some consolation. Blending roots rock with a full and smooth sound, ‘We Just Disagree’ offers a wealth of multi-layered vocals, jangling guitars and distinctly 70s piano, resulting in one of the band’s best tunes. Hearing this for the first time, it’s absolutely amazing how much more confident the band have become since 2010.The Great Affairs certainly have sounds they know work well for them and naturally revisit them often – very much case in point for the twangy stomper ‘California’ with its rousing country rock edge – but just in case you feel ‘Dream In Stereo’ is overly familiar at times, ‘Miss America’ is set to blow you away. Cut from similar rootsy sounds as the best GA tunes, this number remodels them into a slow-burning ballad that’s worthy of standing alongside The Black Crowes ‘She Talks To Angels’ and even the Faces ‘Glad and Sorry’. A slow groove paves the way for a wall of gently stroked organ sounds recalling the late Ian McLagan, the soaring lead guitars are impeccably played and the sense of hurt within Smith’s delivery just sets everything off beautifully. Across the better part of six minutes, the band are on fire – in the polar opposite of the likes of ‘Left of Me’ – pulling back at every turn, eking out emotion and knowing in their guts that less is – indeed – more. Not only is this the album’s jewel (against stiff competition), but it’s up there with The Die Youngs’ ‘Nothing’s Broken’ as a career best for Smith and Wright.On this fifth release, The Great Affairs make no attempt to pander to anyone that isn’t already on board. The thirteen numbers recycle many familiar sounds with style and for those happy to go along for the ride, the dustbowl of the great wide open and even more tales of broken hearts are guaranteed to entertain.” - Lee
“ After teasing us with 2013’s 7-track EP, Nashville’s The Great Affairs finally return with their latest full-length set, Dream in Stereo. Denny Smith and company deliver yet another top-shelf collection of kick-ass material which begs to be featured within any play list that includes Kings of Leon, Counting Crows, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, and their ilk. Thought provoking lyrics coupled with Smith’s raspy voice invite you inside the album as it often harkens back to the kind of grit and raw emotion of Rod Stewart’s Every Picture Tells a Story. Manning the board alongside Grammy-nominated engineer Michael Saint-Leon seems to have been the right decision as TGA sound more confident and proficient than ever on each of the record’s dazzling 13 tracks. Dream in Stereo must not be overlooked by fans of no frills, balls out rock ‘n’ roll, especially since it’s getting harder and harder to find in these seemingly endless days of over produced, soulless, drivel. Not to be missed highlights (among many) include: “Miss America, “Eyes in Every Room,” and a first-rate cover of Dave Mason and Jim Krueger’s classic “We Just Disagree.” ” - Eric Allen
— Popmart Zoo