We recently got a tip after CMA Fest to check out a duo from Nashville who had made a great impression on our followers. We receive a lot of feedback on local and national talent and requests to review and spotlight talent. Although we would love to spotlight and review everyone, we simply have to be selective on who we review. (That just sounds so pretentious, I know.) We can definitely spotlight artists looking to get noticed though!
Highway Run, made up of singer/songwriter Brandon Ray and rock country songstress Alyssa Claar provide a high energy, crowd engaging performance. With power house vocals and great country songs laced with hard-driving rock and roll, theirs is definitely one you don’t want to miss.
But who is Highway Run?
Today, you might say that country music has grown leaps and bounds. The genre has opened its doors to folk, bluegrass, rock, indie pop, and multiple influences within the now-country genre. That’s exactly where Highway Run barrels onto the scene. The influences and experiences of both Alyssa Claar and Brandon Ray’s singing, songwriting, and performing fall between all of those categories. Packed with power and sensitivity, wit and excitement, emotion and a connection unlike their peers, Highway Run fills a room and concert with memories and catchy tunes. Ray’s songwriting was recognized immediately by powerhouse company, Horipro Entertainment, who signed him to a publishing contract. Shortly after, he received and signed a production deal with Freeway Creative Group to record his first EP. His original songs have been co-written with legends like Dean Dillon and Hillary Lindsey. His catalog continues to grow in popularity with songs like “Summer Thang” and “21 Tonight” that easily became fan favorites. Brandon continues to record, and is amping up the game by combining his efforts with Alyssa Claar. Claar’s talent to perform on the world’s best stages in New York City’s famed Broadway district, and continued right on over to Music City’s biggest stages. As a regular performer at Nashville’s infamous The Stage, she learned to use her theatrical vocal skills to really reign in the crowd and give them a show that lasts. Claar moved from Pennsylvania to The Big Apple, and found herself sharing the stage and singing with LL Cool J, Michael Crawford, Savion Glover, and many other top performers. She has also performed with Rascal Flatts, Lynyrd Synryd, Poison, Trick Pony, and Seether to name a few. She has proven to successfully bridge the gap of rock and country. The power of Highway Run is a non-sensical powerful, yet humble performance the two individuals come together in to unite. Currently, this duo will be recording for their debut album while leveraging their solo success to introducing Highway Run on tour in 2014.
The team at Cre8tive Reviews listened Highway Run on Reverbnation and Itunes, in addition to Alyssa and Brandon’s individual music. Please keep in mind that our opinions are only our opinions, and we comment on not only music, but image, stage presence and marketability as our backgrounds strongly support our views.
P – Brandon Ray and Alyssa have teamed up to make “Highway Run” but each of them have a great sound on their own. Together, they make great music and it reminds me a lot of Trick Pony with that high energy in your face sort of sound. Even the wardrobe from Alyssa reminds me of what Heidi would wear during her shows. We definitely haven’t seen or heard this style in a while, although I did recently hear Trick Pony is back together. The first track I listened to is “Miles on your memory.” This is a great breakup song that’s about running away as fast as you can but her memory wont get out-of-the-way. “Tonight” is a rockin’ country song comparable to all of those times we want to feel 21 again and live it up when we can. I think that they really do sound great together, and I am looking forward to their EP release. I was fortunate to preview three of the songs on it, and think that they should be pretty popular.
K – I agree with “P”. They sound a LOT like Trick Pony, but also sound great on their own. I had the pleasure of listening to three of the songs that will be on the new EP before it’s released. “Dust that record off,” is a rockin’ country song that sounds like it should be on Monday night football or in my car on a long drive because it definitely get’s you fired up. I imagine live it’s going to be amazing. Brandon’s vocals on “Dirty South” are spot on, and he sounds amazing with Alyssa’s harmony. Not too crazy about the lyrics on this one, but it’s very level with what’s current on country radio today. “Tennessee Fire” is really the winner for me. Their vocals are beautiful, and the song itself is sweet yet not sappy. Now for the marketing/image. As a female, I base not only my music selection on talent but also the look of the performer. These two have a great look, but I think a few tweaks need to be made and mainly with Alyssa. She looks amazing, but I feel that with some of her revealing wardrobe choices (her individual EP/some of their shots) that it’s too much skin and makes me feel like people could not take her seriously. She is such a talented singer that I would hate to see that happen. I’m all for being sexy classy and showing skin, but I think it can be done a little differently to not turn off the female fans. I feel that her best photo out of all of them is the one with the two of them sitting down, and her legs draped across Brandon. They both look amazing there, it’s a great shot and she still looks gorgeous. Brandon just has that smirk that looks like he’s got trouble written all over him.
B – First and foremost, the band itself is pretty good. I am not a huge country music fan to begin with, so I do like the bands that have a rock influence to them. Alyssa sounds like she could completely hold her own with any type of true rock music where Brandon is able to cover both the country radio sound, and rock background. Together, they are a great mix. Vocals aside, I think that this duo needs some major makeover time in terms of their marketing package. Their website is very basic, and hosted by word press. I think the band has a lot of great information, but the “theme” from word press could be so much better. The website lacks the presence that this band needs to be taken seriously, and it’s a quick fix even without spending any money on it. The Facebook, and other social media pages seem fine and easy to find (although there are a ton of Highway Runs out there.) As for their image, country music is male dominated right now and more women are purchasing the music and attending concerts because of artists like Jake Owen, and Luke Bryan to name a few. With that being said, to be a female in country OR a duo you have to be marketable to both men and women. I agree with “K” that I am not sure with their imaging they have right now that this is going to happen. I also agree the best photo is the one of her sitting with him. I am an adult male, and although I appreciate that Alyssa obviously works hard to keep her figure, there comes a time in your life where you just need to tone it down a little. Not a lot, because she’s a gorgeous woman, but enough to appeal to both male and female fans and be judged on her talent NOT just her body (which looks great.) Brandon looks great, although not a whole lot different from a lot of country singers out there already. I could see him being very popular with the ladies.
To learn more about Highway Run – please visit their website.