Tom Petty Tribute performed by Royal Bliss
With Performances by: 21 Taras
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Royal Bliss pays tribute to the late Tom Petty.
Royal Bliss has been paving their own path on the national scene for years with a nonstop work ethic of writing, recording, and touring that have helped build the success of the band. Their wide variety of influences from Johnny Cash to Led Zeppelin, and everything in between, has helped to mold a sound that is uniquely theirs and cannot be denied.
Their music and lyrics speak to the common man. Their songs tell stories about life and love, but can also rock out to a huge party crowd, all while being delivered by the inimitable deep and raspy voice of front man, Neal Middleton. Backed up by the band of seasoned musicians Jake Smith (Drums), Taylor Richards (Guitar) and brothers Brian Hennesy (Bass) and Sean “Memphis” Hennesy (guitar), who combine to make Royal Bliss.
Royal Bliss was signed to Capitol Records in 2007 by Jason Flom, one of the most influential record executives of our time, worked with TKO and William Morris agencies and written SIX top 50 Active Rock singles since.
More recently in 2016 Royal Bliss released a 5 song EP entitled “The Truth”, a collection of original songs that bridge a gap between rock and country. The EP’s focus track “We’re All Livin’ The Dream” had its music video World Premier on CMT which kick started the bands summer tour season with bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Live Nation Festivals Route 91 in Las Vegas, Faster Horses in Michigan, and two sold out weekends at the Gorge in Washington for Watershed.
Royal Bliss is currently gearing up for their 20th anniversary and 6th full-length album release next year. New music, new videos, new social media antics and touring through out the milestone year are all expected starting in February 2018.
Take a ride down memory lane, from the basement to center stage.
Royal Bliss started in a basement as kids who had a passion for music and a drive to succeed. Over the years their music has evolved from what would echo a late night frat party to now what they call, “Heartland Rock” a musical cocktail that mixes lyrical themes that celebrate American life, dreams and love, all the while paying homage to their southern and classic rock roots. However, being a band for nineteen years has afforded them quite a story to tell with many twists and turns. They have weathered major label record deals, broken down buses, band member changes, weddings, kids, opened up a bar in Salt Lake City, called “The Royal” of course, and survived a devastatingly life threatening 35 foot fall off a building by lead singer, Neal Middleton. Middleton was told he might not make it through the night, and if he did, that he would be paralyzed, but Middleton was not about to give up. With a “mind over body” mindset, as he describes it, he fought his way back to the band, and together they continued on the colorful journey that is Royal Bliss.
They began as a rock ‘n’ roll band achieving early success with their music on several rock radio stations. In 2009 their Capitol Records debut "Life In-Between" charted on the Billboard top 200 and hit #1 in Billboard Heatseekers. In 2012 their self-released "Waiting Out The Storm" reached #9 on the iTunes Rock Chart and hit #2 in Billboard Heatseekers. Then again in 2014, "Chasing The Sun" was recorded and released on their own label, Air Castle Records, with distribution through Universal/Ingrooves Music Group. On their latest album the alternative roots of the band shine on the album’s single "Cry Sister” that climbed the Active Rock chart to (#31) and was Royal Bliss’ 6th Single to crack the top 50 on Active Rock radio.
In addition, they have recently toured with huge acts such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Buckcherry, Keith Urban, Candlebox, Kid Rock, and Toby Keith, and have grown into seasoned and dynamic live performers with a solid fan base across the country. “We have always done our own thing and been honest with ourselves and our music by singing about things that are real and happening to us and our fans. In recent years, rock radio has gone way heavier than what we do and we are finding that we haven’t changed direction but the industry and the genre it boxes artists in, has. Royal Bliss isn’t doing anything different than what we always have done," says Middleton. Now, their journey is evolving and they are growing as a band that is now headed straight for Nashville, TN. In an odd twist of fate, the newest member of the band, Sean “Memphis” Hennesy (guitar) was living in Nashville and came west to join Royal Bliss. Taylor Richards, an original member of the band said, “When Sean joined the band he brought a flavor that we never really had before, incorporating some finger picking styles into certain versions of our songs and contributing a new vibe. I guess you could say he brought a little Tennessee with him and it seemed to really work.” With Hennesy now in the band, Royal Bliss’ evolution is clearly undeniable and they remain a true and steady force, taking center stage and rocking out to faithful crowds and fans who love their music because it has never followed trends, compromise or lost sight of who they are.
In 2015 their long and winding journey led them back to a couple old friends from Nashville who they met eighteen years ago while skiing in the Utah Mountains, veteran Nashville producers and hit-makers, Monty Powell and Anna Wilson(Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts). This husband-wife team recently built a state of the art recording studio in their mountain home in Utah. When they invited members of Royal Bliss over for an après ski party to see their new creative workspace, the conversation quickly moved from general catching up to a creative collaboration process. Wilson says, “I remember telling Neal how I always thought several of their songs could swing country with a different production approach. I could tell he was open to co-writing and exploring what we could create together, so I made sure he didn’t leave until we scheduled time to work together.” One song led to another and before long Powell, Wilson and Royal Bliss embarked on a creative journey that is flourishing and singing a tune that cannot be silenced. “It has been so strange to know the band for so long but not really be a part of their music until now.” Powell states. “We had written a couple things for their records in the past but now for the first time I feel I can really bring out my toolbox and expertise as a songwriter to their process.”