Dolly Parton once said “If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain”, my Aunty Annie once said “country music, the tunes are great but the songs are depressing, first the couple split up, then the bills pile up, then the dog dies!” Two views there, one from Tennessee and one from a terraced house in Manchester, both however for me, capture the essence of americana or country music, yes it’s mostly heartbreak and redemption but always wrapped up in amazing melodies – bleakness and beauty in perfect harmony. On Grandaddy’s sixth album, their first new studio album in seven years, and first since the tragic passing of band member Kevin Garcia, songwriter and Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle has managed to combine the Grandaddy sound, (lo-fi sparkling melodies, synth driven epic soundscapes) with a definitive country twist. It’s a wondrous concoction, like combining two ingredients which were never destined to work out but somehow did (hello salted caramel!) 

The tales of relationship breakup are all there, as well as Lytle’s well documented love of the outdoors. Heartbreak has often fuelled the flames for many songwriters and in Grandaddy’s case, it’s the match that lit the log fire somewhere in a country cabin, as Lytle ponders lost love amidst the great outdoors. Lytle is an avid trail runner and also goes for long drives in the mountains and deserts to compensate for the time spent in front of screens, all of which have fed into Blu Wav.

Songs glide along at a gentle pace, with ‘Cabin In My Mind’ being a gorgeous lullaby of a tune with slide guitars, vocal harmonies, and soaring melodies “beyond the curve where you once were, they built upon the purest earth” he reflects. Elsewhere there’s further tales of lovelorn emotions “We lost out on love and now you’re better off, and for me it’s not going so well, you’re going to be fine and I’m going to hell” he muses on ‘You’re Going To Be Fine And I’m Going To Hell’.

This being a Grandaddy album though, short bursts of synth driven wonder abound throughout, especially on on the opening title track ‘Blu Wav’ which finds Lytle in a more positive mood “Open your eyes and your laptop to the sunrise” he sings. ‘Put This Pinto On The Moon’ and ‘Yeehaw AI In The Year 2025’ (complete with a field recording of coyotes from California) also provide brief but beautiful interludes across the album, merging nature and futuristic electro in one easy, enthralling, soundscape.

Blu Wav has all the Grandaddy ingredients you’d want to hear, playful sound snippets, lush orchestration and guitar melodies, yet whereas previous albums such as The Sophtware Slump dealt more with the advance of technology, Blu Wav wears its heart firmly on its sleeve and is the most personal album Lytle has ever made. 

Lytle admits that the album title is meant to be a mash up of Bluegrass and New Wave, and it’s also the first Grandaddy album to use pedal steel, lending those lovelorn tales an even greater melodic longing. Many of the songs on here are even waltzes, yes it couldn’t be more country if it donned a nudie jacket and sang at the Grand Ole Opry, but as ever with Grandaddy, it has one foot firmly on the side of technology. I’ve always enjoyed americana/country music, and blending that sound with Lytle’s indie-synth pop, Blu Wav is a cosmic musical cocktail which is an absolute joy to the ears.

Grandaddy: Blu Wav – Out 16th February 2024 (Dangerbird Records)


From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.