Nocturnal Blonde, from Athens, Georgia, are a band with a purpose. Their album, ‘Still Gushing’, is set for release on August 23.
Established by Ritchie Williams, Nocturnal Blonde is a strictly studio project, the band doesn’t perform live – and the vast majority of the tracks on ‘Still Gushing’ were written by Ritchie and his brother Dave, while Dave was addicted to opioids. He nearly died from an overdose; it’s left him permanently damaged neurologically. This had an incredible effect on Ritchie, who, having to write the rest of the album on his own, had a full system breakdown.
Nocturnal Blonde was created to bring awareness to the opioid epidemic, and the effect it has not just on the addicts, but their families and friends. ‘Still Gushing’ follows from their debut EP, ‘Smart Heart’. The band comprises Ritchie Williams, who produces, sings, and writes, as well as playing instruments, Rachel Adams, on lead vocals, Kevin Sims, on bass, and James Owen on drums and percussion.
‘Scripted’, from ‘Still Gushing’, is like a clever blend of Americana and alt-rock. It’s Rachel and Ritchie’s vocals set starkly against the instrumentation, not jarring, but juxtaposed. It starts out slowly enough, you think it’s going to be Americana, it’s jolly, uplifting…then suddenly the instrumental pace speeds up, and vocals chase along. Bass guitar thrumming just above the drums and cymbals, electric guitar twanging, the speed increases rapidly, and it feels like a race to the end of the song…conveying the idea of a life spiralling out of control.
Is it scripted
Everything you said
The song starts out dreamily, and rapidly descends into a nightmare, giving the listener the idea of what it must be like to be in the throes of an opioid addiction – paranoia, fear, unable to be left alone.
Prior to forming Nocturnal Blonde, Ritchie had the opportunity to meet legendary R.E.M. frontman, and fellow Athens native, Michael Stipe, when he produced an album by a local band, in which Ritchie sang, wrote, and played guitar. Stipe also lent Ritchie a hand by co-writing and simplifying one of his songs. Ritchie took inspiration from Stipe’s production methods, and put them into effect on the EP, and new album.
Within three months of forming – Ritchie found Kevin and James easily among the considerable talent pool in Athens, and later chanced upon Rachel at work while she was singing harmonies to songs on the radio – the band released ‘Smart Heart’, to critical acclaim. In Ritchie Williams’ words:
“The positive press reviews of ‘Smart Heart’ and positive feedback from my brother was so encouraging that I had to keep the project alive. The next step was to share the whole story, and hopefully touch someone who’s struggling with similar issues, with our LP, ‘Still Gushing’. – Ritchie Williams.