Red Clay Strays - Moment of Truth


Amid a digital world focused on perfection, as autotune and electronic instruments run rampant within studios, it can be a difficult endeavor to find authenticity amongst music in this day and age. The era of albums crafted as true listening experiences has gone by the wayside, yet the Red Clay Strays have artfully brought it back in style with their debut LP, Moment of Truth. To fully appreciate this masterpiece, one must drop the needle at the very beginning and listen till the record stops spinning while lending attention to every note crooned and chord played as the songs soak deep into the soul. Recorded in a studio in the hills of Huntsville, Alabama, the album was tracked in an old-school manner, completely in analog as their heroes did in days gone by. As they banded together in one room cutting every song live, the Strays captured the chemistry from their live performances whilst ushering in a new era of sound that aptly describes who they are and where they’ve been. When asked how the album name was conceived, the Strays summed it up best: “It’s the Moment of Truth because it’s our first album we’re ever releasing. It’s the Moment of Truth because it’s actually us that got to create this, nobody else. No outside interference.”

Sonically, the record is a melting pot of a myriad of genres set in the heyday of the southern music the band grew up influenced by and is lyrically driven by honest life experiences as it cycles through the highs and lows of living and loving, comprised of songs with a deep moral fiber to them. With each track displaying the Red Clay Strays’ innate penchant for storytelling, Moment of Truth has a song for everyone, for every emotion. “Stones Throw” begins the record on a strong note, setting the tone for what’s to come as its funky, soulful style melodically details the difficulties of a life spent being gone on the road while trying to keep it all between the lines. The title track, “Moment of Truth,” is a pensive ballad where a man evaluates the motives behind the choices he makes in the process of his own personal judgment day. Perhaps in efforts to find the answers, “Moment of Truth” transitions beautifully into one of the more upbeat numbers on the record, a 60s infused ditty entitled “Do Me Wrong,” finding a man in the midst of a toxic relationship longing to be set free as a doo wop groove plays. Also on the concept of romantic love, “Wondering Why” makes its mark as the sole love song and is an ode to the good women loving and supporting men who aren’t quite sure of their reasons. Moving on from songs of love to ones of loss, “Forgive” features ethereal vocals as lead singer Brandon Coleman croons about life after heartbreak. “Heavy Heart” follows the same path, highlighting Brandon’s vocal range as he bemoans the heaviness of that heartbreak weighing on the mind. The next track, “Ghosts,” picks up the pace into a rockin’ number about not being able to escape the haunting of past mistakes that are always a stones throw away from the memory. Expertly extending the concept of ghosts, “She’s No Good” is a piano heavy bop about a woman who is prone to hiding her true intentions, not revealing her true spirit. “Don’t Care” comes next, riding the waves of emotion back into a tune of sorrow as the euphonic vocals highlight the tender mood of being plagued by someone’s memory, desperate to get away no matter the cost. On a much different emotional plane, “Killers” queues up next. Sonically, it’s one of the standouts on the record with its sound effects and stirring music amplifying the storyline of the lifelong tragedies of war as it follows a young soldier in the jungle to living as an older man on the streets. Following such a soul-aching song, “Sunshine” is a thoughtful tune about finding the faith to keep it all together for the ones who love us despite the missteps we’ve made. Rounding out the record with that quintessential Red Clay Strays sound, “Doin’ Time” brings the album to a close with its bona fide rock-and-roll melody and subject matter— being thrown in the penitentiary for poor choices with a lot of time to think about all the feelings felt and examined in the precious eleven tracks. Overall, the record is as sonically diverse as the men who form the band, yet it maintains the rare sincerity and artistic integrity


1. Stone's Throw
2. Moment of Truth
3. Do Me Wrong
4. Wondering Why
5. Forgive
6. Heavy Heart
7. Ghosts
8. She's No Good

Release Info

Release Date:
Format: LP, CD
Label: HBYCO Records

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