BLUEOX Revisit an Old Legend on “Black Star Road”

2018. New York NY.

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

It’s April 1, 2018. There’s a blue Ford pick-up truck called BLUEOX. Meanwhile, New Jersey musicians Kieran Sullivan and Donny Dykowsky have come together to jam. (The two initially met at a local coffee shop, decided to jump into the studio, and ending up recording their first song.) On this day, the Ford also disappears. BLUEOX was stolen, but its name lives on.

Dripping in ’70s psych-rock, the Jersey City duo, BLUEOX, tap into something murky and melodic on new single “Black Star Road,” off their upcoming debut EP, out this summer.

“I came up to the studio at Ski Team and Donny was sitting there with his P-Bass shredding some lines with 6/8 backbeat and said, ‘we need a song in 6/8, it’s so hypnotic,” Sullivan tells American Songwriter. “I grabbed his Telecaster, plugged directly into his Fender Princeton, used the bridge pickup humbucker, and we jammed for like 40 minutes, in a trance, totally hypnotized. “ 

The instrumentals that they stumbled upon for the track were simple and perfect, says Sullivan. “We bounced the jam and listened to it for two weeks straight,” he says. “We knew we had something special and had to make it into a song.”   

Clouded in old West legend, “Black Star Road” has a dark tale to tell. Inspired by the legend of Black Star Canyon Road in the Santa Ana Mountains of California, it’s a story of spirits past, held together by the slow hum of Sullivan and Dykowsky’s expansive harmonies and chunky riffs.

“Black Star Canyon has a bloody history and a supernatural reputation dating back to the 1830s when the Native American tribe of the Shoshone was massacred in the canyon by American mercenaries recruited by the Spaniards in retaliation for the tribe stealing horses,” says Sullivan. “More murders, history, and malevolent folklore follow throughout the years about Black Star Canyon.”

The narrative of this song wrote itself, says Sullivan, as if there were someone, or something, else at play.  “It still gives me chills as I recall the process,” says Sullivan. “It was as if Donny and I really weren’t alone in creating this song.”  

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