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4.6 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 27, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

SONS OF SYLVIA Ashley Clark - lead vocals, acoustic guitar, fiddle Austin Clark - dobro, lap steel, vocals Adam Clark - mandolin, acoustic guitar, vocals

"Crazy how you can have everything but time," Sons of Sylvia frontman Ashley Clark sings in "Revelation," the band's autobiographical tale of finding destiny through music and the unbreakable bond of brotherly love. "And I don't know where I'm going, but I know it's going fast," he continues, delivering the passion of truth with every line of the country-rock anthem, beginning with, "I was born the day John Lennon died."

It's a fitting introduction to the genre-defying trio whose previous incarnation, The Clark Brothers, won Fox's American Idol-inspired Next Great American Band in record time and with seemingly little effort. Granted, the three brothers -- Ashley, Austin and Adam -- individually were well practiced when auditions came around. Ashley had been playing fiddle and singing background vocals in Carrie Underwood's band, while Austin and Adam had toured with SheDaisy. At the time, all three were living in Nashville (not together), but they didn't have an actual band to speak of. "We just went down in the basement, filmed ourselves playing a few songs and sent it in," Ashley explains of the submission process. "And next thing you know, we got a call back."

"We all kept thinking, `How are we going to win a band show without a band,'" adds Adam of their lack of a rhythm section. "So when we got there, it was all a little overwhelming and I just wanted to make it to the top 5. I didn't think we were gonna get very far in it." But thanks to fan votes, not only did they make it past the top 5, The Clark Brothers went on to win the 2007 competition, beating out 10,000 contenders for the title and scoring a recording contract with 19 Recordings/Interscope Records in the process. Says Austin: "It was amazing and at the same time, humbling. We just felt very honored that from all the bands, people picked us."

Call it a fluke, but the way the brothers see their television discovery, it was all a matter of fate and faith. In fact, there are two things Ashley, Austin and Adam have never doubted: that music runs in their blood and wherever it may lead them, that's the path they were meant to take. Such has been their mantra from a very young age where the siblings, three of 11 born to preacher parents, began playing and touring North America. Over time, the brothers had ostensibly gone their separate ways, at least professionally, until Ashley orchestrated the basement reunion that would lead to the formation of Sons of Sylvia, the name change (inspired by their mother) signifying "a clean, fresh start," according to Ashley. What followed their Next Great American Band win were months of nonstop writing as the guys continued on their musical journey. Destination: unknown. "We took everything we love about country music and put it into this record," Ashley explains. "And after writing, like, 300 songs, we weren't ready to stop there, so we thought we'd take a leap of faith and do something totally new and different." The result? The hard-driving "John Wayne," in which Austin does to the dobro what autotune did to the pop chorus. Indeed, distortions abound on this track, Ashley proves his vocal range has no limits and Adam takes the mandolin to another dimension. Upping the ante on "50 Ways," the brothers deliver undeniable hooks while upping the BPMs on their stringed instruments. But it's on the anthemic "Love Left to Lose," which Ashley co-wrote with their cousin, hit maker and OneRepublic frontman, Ryan Tedder, that these Sons wear their hearts on their sleeves, while making the audience's melt. Or at least that's been the case as nightly sing-alongs have sprung up on Carrie Underwood's tour, which S.O.S. is opening.

"`Love Left to Lose' is a special song because Ashley and Ryan have a really cool history of living and traveling together before Ryan made it big," says Adam. "And now we're on the same label! It's so weird how our lives are a series of strange events like that--impossible situations over and over again, becoming possible."

From Ashley's purview, nothing was weirder than sitting in a room with his cousin-turned-Grammy nominee, and putting pen to paper. "It was surreal," Ashley says. "We were just laughing, like, `Can you believe this?' It's been a crazy road."

Recorded in Nashville, Los Angeles, and Vancouver, Canada, featuring production by Jack Joseph Puig, Ryan Tedder, Jeff Trott, Brian Howes, Gerald O'Brien, Catt Gravitt, and Mike Shimshack along with co-writes by them and Lindy Robbins, Revelation is the beginning of a newly-charted course for this immensely talented group. And Ashley, who has been on a steady diet of the Beatles, U2, Elvis and The Doors and considers himself a "late bloomer," is gladly leading the charge -- with gusto and swagger. "I think in my heart, I'm more of a rocker," he says. "For a long time, it was like I couldn't always express myself or how I really feel. Now, I want to go wild and dance around the stage."

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. John Wayne
  2. Love Left To Lose
  3. Revelation
  4. 50 Ways
  5. Song Of Solomon
  6. Give Me Love
  7. Ghost Town
  8. Long Beach
  9. I'll Know You
  10. The War Within

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 27, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Interscope Records
  • ASIN: B003C5FMCG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,426 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
First, I feel the need to bring those of you who haven't heard of "The Clark Brothers" or "Sons of Sylvia" up to speed. This group was the winner of Fox's reality show "The Next Great American Band". They started as a very powerful three piece with no drums, no bass, but TONS of heart. Since winning the competition, they have been hard at work on this album. I can understand why some people may feel that "Sons of Sylvia" have changed a lot from when they were "The Clark Brothers". It is true. They have. That is why they changed their name.

Second, this album by "Sons of Sylvia" is an amazing piece of work. Don't listen to snippets. Buy the album and listen to each song with patience and an open heart. These songs aren't just IPOD fodder. These are songs that you need to smell, taste, feel, and let touch your soul. This group has something that so many artists today strive for and never find. They have a true soul behind their music.

There is not one bad song on this album. Most albums I purchase these days have three or four good songs and six or more filler songs. I can listen to each song on this album without wondering when the song will be over but will it continue longer. I wanted this album to go on for another ten songs. That is the sign of a truly great work of art. And this album is just that.

From the beginning of this album you KNOW that this group is one of a kind.

The Songs:

"John Wayne" is a great tune to start the album off. It mixes Adam's Mandolin, Austin's Dobro, and Ashley's guitar into an awesome sound. The lyrics are great and it is a song about searching for love. "Like John Wayne baby, I won't run away, no I won't back down, like John Wayne baby"....

"Love Left to Lose" is next.
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Format: Audio CD
As I listen to this record I think of the first time I heard Sons of Sylvia at the Carrie Underwood Concert in Pittsburgh, PA earlier this month and how blown away I was when they first took stage. I thought they would be just some "pre-performance" but their stage presence and sound was breath taking. This record carries on that memory of that live performance and when I hear those lyrics, especially "I was born the day John Lennon died" I get goose bumps. I only could wish they included their duet with Carrie Underwood "What Can I Say" on this record as they should since it was half their performance as well. But we can't have everything! All around great record with sounds of bluegrass, rock, and of course the country we've known to love them for. Without winning any contest they would have won my praise for a great album!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have waited so long for a release from Sons of Sylvia, formerly The Clark Brothers, I was afraid nothing would meet my expectations, my anticipation, for amazing, beautiful, heartfelt, soul-touching music...and then Revelation came along and I couldn't be happier. I have grown quite attached to the three songs from the downloadable EP - John Wayne, Revelation, and 50 ways - and Love Left to Lose which I have heard on their website, but there was a little bit of me hoping beyond hope the rest of the music would be as good-but a little afraid that my love for their music would raise my expectations too high. They are only human after all, have a record company, and producers etc... and most albums, certainly a first, has a few "hit worthy" songs that you replay constantly and then the rest. There is no "the rest" on this masterpiece. They are all unique, "hit worthy" and absolutely inspirational.
When I first saw them as The Clark Brothers on NGAB, I was amazed - I loved every performance, and I'm embarrassed to admit, they played instruments I never heard of (not a big country music fan-just some old country music) and suddenly couldn't get enough of. There's no other way to put it, they inspire me. Their music truly touches my soul. It's just the kind of music that can change your mood, make your day better, and remind you to put life in perspective-no matter how bad the day, you can be blessed with something like beautiful music and amazing God-given talent (refined and perfected with hard work and dedication) and it can make you feel better.
The songs on the album range from beautiful ballads to dark but beautiful rock and roll, with country, bluegrass, pop, and a healthy dose of faith all mixed in. A song for every mood, no genre required.
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Well, as you can see I gave this album only 3 stars. Most of the reviews are 5 stars with glowing fan praise. That's why I bought the album. I had high hopes. If I could, it would only get 2-1/2 stars. I followed the Clark Brothers very faithfully from first seeing them on The Next Great American Band, where their passion and musician-ship was poured into every song they covered. (check out their videos on YouTube, and see [...]) That is what I was expecting. That is certainly NOT what was recorded on their first album. There seems no soul searching, no passion, and really no amazing musicianship forthcoming from the songs. The songs (all of their own creation) are at best fairly standard. Seeing them perform on a weekly show, under pressure to step up to the competition forced them to exceed their own expectations, and they honed their talent into a razor edged sound guaranteed to wrench all the emotion out of their listeners. They played like desperate men who had one shot at heaven, and that was to wring every note out of their instruments and voices. So, what happened?! That "simple" 3 instrument sound they perfected on a television show is not to be found in the songs on this album. I think the album was over-engineered and over-produced. I hope for any follow up album they go back to their musical roots of folk/country/blues with a little salvation thrown in to boot. For me, at best this is background music to play on long car trips - forgettable, but keeps you company on a lonely drive. Guys, if you read this, PLEASE find the passion again you caught on the show. I'm sure it was not just lightening in a bottle.
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