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MINNEAPOLIS BASED ALT-POP POWERHOUSE
RADIO DRIVE KEEPS THE MOTIVATIONAL ROCK
FLOWING WITH AN EXPANDED SONIC PALETTE AND
A DECLARATION THAT ‘THIS IS OUR TIME’
Kevin Gullickson’s decision to keep the cool moniker of his newly disbanded group Radio Drive when he launched his solo career in 2009 proved to be prophetic. Forging an uplifting, sonically eclectic vibe best described as “motivational rock,” the prolific singer/songwriter’s first three releases—Dream The Impossible (2009), Life Today (2010) and I Can See The World From Here—received impressive reviews around the globe and extensive airplay on online, college and indie stations in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Life Today also hit the Top 40 charts on CJSW Radio in Calgary, Canada. Expanding his rich palette of sounds even further, Gullickson’s latest Radio Drive project finds the multi-talented artist firmly declaring that This Is Our Time.
While it’s rare for an indie artist just starting to build a following to put out new albums so frequently, Gullickson’s always eager to share his latest sonic discoveries and lyrics that aim to uplift individuals in a time where so many feel deep despair. Like his previous recording, the new 11 track collection was mixed and mastered by Grammy Award winner Gene Paul, son of the legendary Les Paul, who has worked similar magic for many years with legends like Led Zeppelin, Paul Simon, Rolling Stones, Bono and John Coltrane. In an honest assessment of his growth as a writer and producer, Gullickson believes that the songs and production on This Is Our Time are more developed than on his previous efforts.
“I think with the first two CDs I tried to keep within a song structure,” he says. “It’s good to know the rules but after a while, you’ve got to break them. The most popular songs on Life Today were also the most creative ones—which taught me that if I let go of the calculated song structure and let the song express itself and take its own direction, I would be giving the song more freedom. This time, I also spent more time searching for new and different sounds that worked within the songs. I love working with MIDI and have extensive sound libraries. I’ve added more dimension to the guitar parts, looking for FX to add the right flavor to the part.”
The other element that’s immediately compelling on This Is Our Time is Gullickson’s clever way with encouraging, inspiring words. On the bluesy electric rocker “Borders,” he urges listeners to “Let your imagination take you far away/Beyond the confines of your only mind…Beyond the Borders you define.” On the trippy and hypnotic edgy pop tune “Life Is For Living,” Gullickson sings, “You planned and prepared for this day/Tired of Being A Spectator, it’s time to play…Life is For Living…Get your game on and participate.” And on the shuffling, keyboard and guitar driven “New Direction” (a piece very much inspired by John Lennon), he reflects, “Every Year, every step, needs a new beginning.” The singer captures the overall positive minded theme of the album on the hard driving title track: “This is our time to come alive inside/Do more than survive/Time to thrive.”
Gullickson brings a rich musical history to his work with Radio Drive. Early on, he received radio play in his hometown of Rochester, Minnesota and followed up with a single that aired on stations in the Twin Cities. He traveled throughout Europe to develop his own sound sound and style which he later developed with The Blokes—a band that achieved instant success on the Minneapolis/St. Paul club scene, including First Avenue. The singer later moved to NYC where he continued writing, recording and playing clubs as a solo musician. During this time, he received interest from five major record companies and several Grammy winning producers. He set music aside after various disappointments but roared back as the guiding force of Radio Drive. In November 2009, the song “One Life To Give” from his debut Dream the Impossible was chosen to represent Sudan Hope, a humanitarian effort to help the people of Sudan. He appeared at a Hollywood fundraiser to perform this song live.
“It seems that the songs and title of each album are a reflection of my life at that time,” says Gullickson. “Dream the Impossible was about reviving the dream of making music, which I had put on hold for a few years. Likewise, Life Today was about enjoying life and some of the things that define it. For me, This Is Our Time is a declaration that this is my time as an artist. I’m ready to bust through the other side and take charge of my life and the direction it’s going. For years I thought life was something that just happened. But this last year I’ve seen my part and my responsibility in shaping my future. It’s exciting and empowering and I’m ready for it!”