Minnesota’s Virginia Sweet roar and soar on their debut EP ‘The Revival,’ a passionate, intense, and in-your-face reckoning of feverish and smoldering rock n’ roll.
for fans of Black Sabbath, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gov’t Mule
Stream: “The Revival” – Virginia Sweet
It’s not often we get blown away by pure guitar muscle these days; rock n’ roll is still alive, but it’s transformed significantly from its heyday of guitar-slingers shredding epic solos. Rock in the 2020s is more refined; more graceful and glitzy, and less raucous and raw.
Or so some say. Tell this to Minnesota band Virginia Sweet, and they might just laugh in your face. The trio’s debut EP is a roaring reckoning of feverish and smoldering southern rock: As soaring as it is searing, Virginia Sweet’s five-track The Revival is a passionate, intense, and in-your-face upheaval that hits hard and leaves a lasting mark, channeling the uninhibited sounds and unapologetic spirit of rock’s mid-70s height onward and upward for the next generation.
Independently released July 30, 2021, The Revival is a charming and churning cacophony – not to mention a powerful introduction. Initially started as a side project during the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-2020, the three-piece of Jason Dove (vocals and bass), Jason Jump (lead guitar), and Ricky Parker (drums) connected over a shared love of Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, The Allman Brothers Band, Steive Ray Vaughan, and more.
“We were all in another project previous to Virginia Sweet,” Jason Dove tells Atwood Magazine. “2020 ending up being a reality check for a lot of people around the world, and our situation was no different. Virginia Sweet started off as a side project to just to keep music relevant in our lives. Once things cleared up a bit in the world, we were able to play an outside show. We didn’t have more than 2-3 songs with lyrics completed, and ended up filling a whole three hour set. The crowd response was phenomenal, and they began to ask us where they could get our music. That is when we knew that we needed to get into the studio, and get music into the peoples hands.”
“We had a lot of drive to get something out there to prove to ourselves, and others that this is a reality. Honestly I don’t think we had a clear vision of where it was going to go, or what it would end up doing for us,” he adds. “Things definitely changed along the way, but really a lot of the songs were very impromptu, free flowing, holding no expectations. The Revival is a culmination of the three of our lives put together. All the struggles, good times, creative flows… it really helps to capture our chemistry together. [It] gives people a broad view of the styles that have influenced us through the years. We wanted to be true to ourselves through and through in this EP, and it ended up blowing us away once we got the final masters, and we can only hope the same for all our listeners.”
What we ultimately hear is the product of a process the band candidly describe as “driven, experimenting, and fun.” The EP’s title captures not only the energy they felt throughout the record’s creation, but also their own view of their artistry. “We are bringing back the style of music from an older day, that just doesn’t seem to be as prevalent anymore,” they state. “Also the project ended up being very forward moving for us as a whole. Allowing us to artistically be more free than we had been in other projects, reviving our deep passion for the creation of music.”
The title also shares its name with the EP’s epic, cinematic nine-minute closer – a breathtaking, gut-wrenching, no-holds-barred explosion of energy that showcases Virginia Sweet at their finest.
“‘The Revival’ in all ways is a real proving ground song,” Dove says. “All of us dumped so much emotional angst and frustration based off of past life experiences that this song turned into an epic thing. The beginning talks of hitting those roadblocks in life, being cut down by other people, but you gotta just keep moving forward and reaching for your dreams. This can be heard in the lyrics, “I’ve spend my whole life, tripping on the stones, in the fields of time, the people that doubted and burned you, all to make themselves, feel so damn tall. They cut you to the bone, while their own live are still unknown.” Then we get into a sort of “pre-chorus” of, “Just keep on climbing higher and higher, to the places, that we belong, just don’t stop fighting, as the seasons begin to change.” Now there’s a dynamic shift, a little more in your face, the tension builds… and you hear, ‘You keep on pushing me harder and harder, but I won’t back down, ride that train to the end, see who wheres the crown, days gone by and years have passed, I’m still climbing on, I’m still climbing on.‘”
Dove notes that line as one of his favorite lyrics off the whole album. “Every time it is sung it’s a little reminder of what we’ve been through, and where our trajectory is headed,” he says with a smile. “This is sort of an anthem for those that have been burned, talked down to, told they couldn’t do something. You keep carrying on and proving them wrong, always moving forward, always climbing to reach that ultimate goal for ourselves. Then a rocket ship of guitar launches the jam, Ricky and Jump absolutely killed it, there is so much emotion that can be heard behind them, it still brings tears to my eyes listening back to the track.”
The EP’s other four tracks are each worth of their own praise – with opener “One More Time” serving as an exceptional scene-setter, and “Home of My Own” plunging joyously into the heavier sides of hard rock. Nonetheless, this might be one record where it’s better to start at the end, and work your way back to the beginning for that very first listen. Nothing we’ve heard in the past few years stings in the way “The Revival” does; this song really is a classic kind of rock rebellion, and it deserves to be listened to in full.
“We hope listeners take our music and let it bring them to another place,” the band shares. “Whether going through tough times, just rocking out, having some introspective time. Hopefully our music can be the soundtrack to their lives, and impact them as much as the album has impacted us. The album was a wake up call for us that people are really supporting what we are trying to do and create, we couldn’t ask for anymore.”
Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Virginia Sweet’s The Revival with Atwood Magazine as the band goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their latest EP!
Stream: ‘The Revival’ – Virginia Sweet
:: Inside The Revival ::
ONE MORE TIME
One More Time is an awesome song of dynamics. We were really able to open up and do some creative jam pieces in here. It’s about dealing with things like anxiety or depression, being aware of it, and wanting to seize that motivation to carry us through the ebbs and flows of life. The chorus being “We’ve all got this, fire burning deep inside, to carry us through the darkness, one more time” is all about that motivation or fire, to get past the darker times in life that happen to all of us. But life must go on. It was a blast being able to build this bridge. Using dynamics and tensions, and many different layers that just magically clicked together, all while still holding together the driving force of the chorus. It ended up as a very cool song on the album.
Little Devil was inspired by some of the darkest moments in my life, depression, addictions, bad relationships. The whole “angel and devil” on your shoulders is the best comparison. We all have our demons, and we are all inherently good. But sometimes we follow that Little Devils recommended action to make us feel better, more relevant, whatever it might be. And it’s a story of that inner turmoil during those times. Lyrics like “reaching for that good feeling, it once was a friend of mine, then I chose to fight that demon, and I think that it’s time”. This is about a time recognizing that I had an addiction problem, and wanting to make a change, I didn’t see my life at that point as what I wanted it to be. So I had to make a change. Another line “Everyday I let myself down, it’s always back and forth with him, he makes me feel just like a clown, in a circus with nobody” is directly tied to times of being stuck in your head. Feeling like people are just looking down on you, laughing at you, and letting yourself down by not only thinking that way, but responding to life as if it were a reality.
HOME OF MY OWN
Home of My Own is a bit of a story about a past relationship. We both had made many mistakes, we were young, but the biggest impact was getting cheated on. The verses are talking about the times of being in and out, on and off of the same relationship for a couple years. All the times of getting back together, or being contacted randomly in search of where I was, or what I was doing. This comes out in the words “Hey there little sweet thang, wishin that I’m around, you wanted to to check in but I’m in a different town, hey there little sweet thang, you must have slipped my mind, I chose a different road, you must have been damn blind” This then ties in the chorus “You dragged me down this gravel road, feeling so alone, I’ve made up my mind, to find, a Home of My Own” going through those painful times, feeling like I was the only person that experienced such turmoil, and deciding that I deserve better and coming to terms with that. At which point I had relocated and got linked up with the guys of Virginia Sweet. My true home.
Paradise is another great track that lyrically was inspired by procrastination, always searching for a better situation, not being content with what was. In the first verse “Waiting on this opportunity, the first step is the hardest, to how we ought to be” is talking about sitting around waiting for things to come, when really you gotta just get out, stay consistent, and give it your all. That’s how we become the people that we desire to be. The Pre Chorus and Chorus are based off of something that used to be said to be in a past relationship. The line goes “Well open your eyes babe, and maybe you can see” into the chorus of “The place called Paradise, it’s all in your mind, the place called Paradise, is just a real life fantasy” This is talking about opening your eyes and mind to see what’s around you and realizing we all live in some form of Paradise, and this is because it’s a perception of life, AKA a “real life fantasy”. We are in control of our own attitudes and gratitude…its all based on how you want to live. Your world can be hell or it can be a tropical paradise, the choice is yours.
The Revival in all ways is a real proving ground song. All of us dumped so much emotional angst and frustration based off of past life experiences that this song turned into an epic thing. The beginning talks of hitting those roadblocks in life, being cut down by other people, but you gotta just keep moving forward and reaching for your dreams. This can be heard in the lyrics “Ive spend my whole life, tripping on the stones, in the fields of time, the people that doubted and burned you, all to make themselves, feel so damn tall. They cut you to the bone, while their own live are still unknown.” Then we get into a sort of “prechorus” of “Just keep on climbing higher and higher, to the places, that we belong, just don’t stop fighting, as the seasons begin to change.” Now there’s a dynamic shift, a little more in your face, the tension builds…and you hear “You keep on pushing me harder and harder, but I won’t back down, ride that train to the end, see who wheres the crown, days gone by and years have passed, I’m still climbing on, I’m still climbing on” his is sort of an anthem for those that have been burned, talked down to, told they couldn’t do something. You keep carrying on and proving them wrong, always moving forward, always climbing to reach that ultimate goal for ourselves. Then a rocketship of guitar launches the jam, Ricky and Jump absolutely killed it, there is so much emotion that can be heard behind them, it still brings tears to my eyes listening back to the track.
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? © courtesy of the band
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