Blacktop Mojo is a hard rock band from Palestine, Texas that channels a heavy, gritty sound that seamlessly blends melody and adrenaline. With sludgy, rigid guitar lines and soaring, ariose vocal runs, twisted around psychedelic story-telling; Blacktop Mojo’s songs deal with everything from ballads of love and loss, to epic tales of overcoming death itself, all delivered in the package of staunch, hard rock.
Blacktop Mojo was formed in September 2012 by lead vocalist Matt James, drummer Nathan Gillis. Armed with a demo EP and a dream, the band set out to play as many shows as they could, anywhere that they could, playing any type of music they could think of to hone their craft and find their sound. In their short time together, playing shows across the state, the band has shared the stage with a range of touring artists including Aaron Lewis, Candlebox, Drowning Pool, Puddle of Mudd, Whiskey Myers, Dirty River Boys, and The Bigsbys, among others.
Through touring, the band was introduced to their fifth member, lead guitarist, Ryan Kiefer. Through a series of impromptu sessions at the band’s infamous “Jam Shack”, Kiefer fell right into place with the band. He liked the same music, had the same taste in off-color humor, and most importantly, his style of guitar playing fit flawlessly into place with Irwin’s brand of shredding to form a specially blended dual guitar attack
While the band enjoys playing their favorite cover songs, they are truly impassioned with crafting their own original music. “The thing that makes us different from a lot of bands today is that ALL of us write the songs,” says drummer Nathan Gillis. “My best five songs have to beat out Matt’s 5 songs. Matt’s best 5 have to beat out Ryan’s best, and so on. It makes us really versatile in our styles and how we write. The thing that I also love about this band,” Gillis continues, “is that we can all sit in a room and write songs TOGETHER as well.”
Through many months of this type of collaboration, between playing shows, the band put together their first Full-Length album, titled, “I AM”. The album was recorded and mastered at Rosewood Studios in Tyler, Texas with the help of Producer Philip Mosley, Staff Engineer Drew Hall, and Mixing Engineer Austin Deptula. “We titled this album, ‘I Am’ because it makes a statement about who we are as a band, which is taking a crazy group of scatterbrained guys, with different writing and playing styles, sitting down in a room together with all of our separate thoughts and approaches to writing songs, and turning that into a singular energy, that we can all be proud of,” says vocalist Matt James.