Late Night Special Navigates Thru Turbulent Times with “Halfway To Somewhere”: Album Review

With a little Rock, a little Funk, and a whole lot of Soul, Late Night Special is a band that captivates through their loose definition of what style they belong to, vying instead to play to what feels good musically. Leading the pack of five well-rounded musicians, with the occasional opening for horn & piano sections, Fred Lee strikes the lead vocals in an easy going way, bouncing off while keeping sync with his guitar and staying in line with the band, occasionally being backed up for an extra set of voices by Ryan McCoy on bass, Mikey Marrero on lead guitar, and Jason Atkins at the keys. David Furr and James Brock Jr, supporting on guitar & drums, create the meat that supports the collective frame in each performance. Their latest album, Halfway From Somewhere, puts that teamwork in the spotlight while sending listeners on a journey into wanderlust.

Late Night Special: Fred Heintz, James Brock Jr, Derek Furr, and Ryan ‘The Kid’ McCoy (Left to Right)

Kicking off the record, Disco as an opening track eases listeners in with its poppy feel while keeping an easy-going tempo. Setting out easy lines among the lyrics, the song serves as an invitation to move in place, self-aware of its purpose in giving “a little dance for the radio.”

Disco (Tiny Desk Submission Edition) – Late Night Special

Even with an upbeat start, it becomes clear the album is following a central track in its inspiration, even when not entirely being focused. Hold On is a great example of this, with careful mentions of both the lyricist’s past & present. The dismay ends up giving into a hopeful message, telling anyone reaching out into the cosmos for answers “though the times are getting tough, and there’s times you can’t give up, but sometimes you’ve got to hold on”, consistently invoking the title like a mantra.

Serving as an alternate closer, Rail Road Tracks is where the band cuts its teeth the hardest into the rock genre, showing a rougher embrace of the mood its tackling. Summoning images of common places least ventured, the track throws the audience back into a retro-adolescence where it was easy to get lost in the deepest thoughts. Rail Road Tracks is wishful and full of the desires we wish we could fix, eluding to songs lonely meditation in lines like “have you ever walked along a river bank, asking time to change a few things?”, but no matter the location, the title name is recanted like the north star, giving listeners a trail to come back on.

Halfway to Somewhere is full of the Americana spirit that would easily yet swiftly whisk the audience off to locations unknown, while carefully being detailed by the words that each song. The album is a thoughtful drive into the nether, but provides answers we can attune ourselves to in a relatable context, while also providing scenes that are too true to life not to have been experienced by the group themselves. It is that most likely truth that will carry the hope in the band’s words into our minds and hearts for an afternoon’s trek down the road, even from the comfort of our homes.

Late Night Special’s Halfway To Somewhere is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and iTunes. Follow your favorite links and listen in today!

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