Nocturnal Blonde: Dark vs. Light

Athens’ Nocturnal Blonde serves as producer, songwriter, singer and instrumentalist Ritchie Williams’ platform for speaking against the opioid epidemic. Williams’ older brother and former bandmate Dave almost died from an incidental overdose and lives with neurological damage.

Much of the material on new album Still Gushing, out Aug. 23, was written by the brothers before Dave’s addiction nearly cost him his life. Ritchie soldiered through the emotional process of finishing the songs and putting together a full band. Sympathetic talents on board with the project include co-vocalist Rachel Adams.

The vocal interplay between Ritchie and Adams highlights several of the former’s studio creations. For example, the tempo-switching mini-opera “Ricochet,” acoustic folk-rock cut “Drained,” and the orchestral tone of “Flesh” capture the singing talents, musical virtuosity, and creative vision of a well-rounded artist and his supporting cast.

Were it not for a press release, I’d have no idea that such a varied and gorgeous album came from its main creator’s darkest hour.

Photo by Rachel Renee Levasseur.