Uplifting, reflective, and liberating: Across the span of Feel, a new five song EP, the Southern California-based rock band Happy to Be Here delivers potent perspectives on life, love, and the emancipation of casting off the chains of addiction.
Showcasing the uplifting clarity of the band’s striking melodies, vocalist and songwriter Greyson Grimes and guitarist James Hamilton create an extraordinary alchemy underscored with a vital authenticity. Sensitivity and truth are keys to the artistry of Happy To Be Here, as the title track “Feel,” illustrates with these lines: “I could kill to feel what you feel/A piece of your serenity/A cure for my instability.”
A sophisticated slice of rock the band delivers a polished performance on the emotionally evocative release. They incorporate their own styles into the mix beyond the rock anchor, with surprises in every listen. The vocals tie the release together done with such dignity. Everything here matters. Instrumentally rich they run the gamut from absolute celebration to quiet reflective odes. The lyrics possess a poetry to them. Lots of love is poured into each second of the sound.
The project was tracked at Revolver Recordings by multi-platinum producer Mikal Blue (OneRepublic, Five for Fighting,) and Dean Dinning, producer, composer, and bassist for Toad The Wet Sprocket. The arrangements highlight essential elements, framing Grimes’ poignant voice with evocative keyboards and layered guitars floating above the fire of a rock solid rhythm section.
All of the instruments are stripped away on “Heroin,” with Grimes’ imploring narrative stark against deep piano chords as he recalls a romance destroyed by drugs. “It was crazy what the drugs did to you/Everything they say about heroin/I know it to be true.” Both Grimes and Hamilton exemplify a hard-won sobriety, and their songs pull no punches as they share. “Every song we’re recorded has deep elements of heartbreak, trauma, drums, alcohol, recovery, broken homes and abuse.”
As riveting live performers with a commanding onstage presence, Happy To Be Here is sharing their message in select live shows, highlighted by a recent headlining spot at the legendary Whisky a Go Go on the historic Sunset Strip. The themes, the songs, and most of all the truth in their music are transcendent connecting points that now resonate with a post- pandemic audience. “The beauty of music is it boils down to emotion,” explains Greyson Grimes. “Even if you’re not an addict, you’ve had the lowest moments of your life. But if you kept going, you got through it. James and I found our sound, our rhythms, and our message.”
Finding solace in the fact that life is a beautiful miracle whose endless possibilities are there to be explored, the "Feel EP" is inspiring from start to finish.