Chris Sullivan recently released a new single called “By the Light of the Radio.” The song is the second single from his forthcoming album and delves into his bond with music and the surrounding landscape of the world.
Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Sullivan grew up in Charleston, South Carolina where his attachment to music blossomed into a full-fledged love affair. Influenced by a variety of genres, his sound merges rock, country rock, and alt-rock into dynamic music with heft and weight.
“By the Light of the Radio” begins with a buoyant harmonica and a lightly strumming guitar, followed by the entrance of Sullivan’s rich and slightly reedy voice, gentle and evocative. Then the bass and drums enter, kicking the retro-feeling rock melody into overdrive, as the guitars ramp up into potent shimmering colors, flavored by a twangy tone emanating from the backdrop. A quivering organ imbues the tune with radiant energy reminiscent of Bob Seger, adding depth and a delightful spark of harmonic resolve.
Sullivan’s voice emanates aromas, colors, and textures tinted with a wistful essence that transports listeners back into the past, over age-worn ramparts into the heady days of yore, when music asserted an intoxicating vitality that provided an emotional outlet of unimaginable cogency. It’s a strong voice steeped in magnetic charm.
The lyrics of “By the Light of the Radio” echo the rampant dominion music plays in life.
“Radio waves crashing through the atmosphere / Radio playing 50,000 watts of power so pure / The radio DJ coming in so loud and clear / I spent so many nights by the light of the radio / I saw so many sights by the light of the radio.”
The video, directed by Stephen Nemeth, presents images of a young boy growing up to the sounds emanating from the radio, encompassing first comic books and then the fascination of cruising in muscle cars with pretty girls. It is all accompanied by the radio. The nostalgic glow of the images, in combination with the pulsing flow of the music, is infectiously sublime.
“By the Light of the Radio” is outstanding. The contagious melody thrums with allure, while the rolling rhythm growls with hormonal exuberance. Sullivan’s voice provides just the right amount of urgent timbre, intense and proximate with compelling savor. This is rock music tumescent with emotional punch and sonic oomph. The way it should be.