When it comes right down to it there are just two things in this world. One can only be found within. The other consists of everything else. There is peace. And there is chaos.
Asphalt. Nature. Confinement. Space. Volume. Silence. Each is part of our daily journeys. For most of us they set the parameters of our actions. But to artists they are not boundaries. They are fuel. And combined in the right manner, the results elevate us all.
If you travel I-10 between southern Louisiana and San Antonio you’ll trace a path not just through America’s current industrial heartland, but through many of its most distinct cultures, home to both the Earth’s own gifts and those of man’s creation in equal abundance. The music that emerges is as unique as the place itself.
No matter what the genre, if you listen long enough a distinct mixture of anguish and joy seeps through. Some might call it soul. But it’s deeper than that, born of the simultaneous needs to band together and strike out on one’s own.
From DJ Screw’s genre-shaping freestyle codeine roll, to the free-range explorations of Doug Sahm, the irrepressible country beauty of George Jones, and the elemental glory of both Janis Joplin and Lightnin’ Hopkins, a kaleidoscope of sound emerges that’s as much felt as heard.
Enter Peace and the Chaos.
From the opening note of the band’s 2015 self-titled debut a shimmering landscape of modern blues rock envelopes the listener. No darkness. What follows is a call to action. For yourself. Explorations of fame and other aspects of life on Earth follow. At the center of it all, however, is the hard rock swagger of ‘Enemy,’ its belted chorus reminding that our entire reality, including everything that holds us back, resides within. It’s heady stuff to be sure, but we’re gently grounded two songs later: reminded that ‘Life’ is experienced together, and it’s both harsh and beautiful.
Three years later the ‘Me and My Black Heart’ EP emerged. Aspects of soul, pop, and singer-songwriter introspection elevated the overall experience, with a full-fledged horn section and female backing vocals fleshing out the sonic brew accordingly. And as the debut’s ‘Enemy’ was a missed album-rock monster, ‘M+MBH’s ‘Mrs. Jones’ is its Top 40 crossover smash. Add the alt country velvet that is ‘Remembrance’ and a band of undeniable strength is shown in sharp focus, ready to take full flight.
Momentum built as word started to spread that something big and new was once again taking shape in the Golden Triangle. Then came two years of pandemic and social strife. The combination took at least as large a toll on the music industry as any other aspect of the arts or economy. Stages fell quiet. Lights dark. The bars, clubs, theaters, and arenas of the world empty.
Many of the businesses never came back. But musicians are musicians, and slowly but surely, sounds began to emerge anew. Initially files were traded. Then, as the parameters of what could safely be done became better understood, people who felt comfortable together started meeting again. No one knew what would be possible. What ‘normal’ would feel like when it came back. But the need to get there was real. And musicians, as always, were eager to lead the way.
Peace and the Chaos began congregating at Cibolo Studios in San Antonio to continue tracking its next album, begun shortly before the pandemic landed. The sound conjured so far is yet another level up for the band. Everything that had been there is still present. But now the overall vibe has shifted to multi-layered 70s stadium rock. And when you think about the ingredients—the blues, the soul, the rock n’ roll—what else was supposed to have happened? Synthpop!?
There are songs that will make the building shake, no matter how big it might be. Songs that will get the cigarette lighters (or cell phones) swaying. And others that pull off of the greatest feat of all, lifting you up and taking you far away.
The record will be out sometime in 2022. But Peace and the Chaos’s mission for the year goes beyond simple promotion. Its focus is on cultivating the sort of live experience that will grab you by the core and not let go and take the band anywhere and everywhere. And it will succeed. Because it’s doing so purely for the shared joy of that experience. No more, no less.