Alan Price is aware that his debut album, Goodlow, is all over the musical map. He knows that the thudding hard-rock groove of the opening, “Powerlines,” sounds completely different from the synth pop of “Long Day,” which in turn sounds nothing like the sunny guitar pop of “Think Fast.”
In fact, it could be argued that other than Price’s smooth vocals, each song on Goodlow sounds like you’ve just switched the dial to a new radio station, right up until the closing track, “Upside,” which brings a country-music-style pedal steel into the equation.
Lyrically, Price takes on a variety of subjects. “Man Up on the Rooftop” deals with suicide, but “John Wayne” is a whimsical ditty based on a dream Price had. “Upside” is about looking at the positives in life, while “My Heart” deals with a failed relationship.
Goodlow covers a lot of bases, in other words.
“When I went into it, I said I don’t really want any parameters on what I’m going to do,” Price said. “I’m not going in to write a rock album, I’m not going in to write a synth-pop album, and I’m not going in to write a country album. But I’ll be damned if there isn’t some of all of that stuff involved in it.”
Price is actually proud of the kaleidoscopic musical landscape because it allowed him to express himself fully as an artist.
“When I look at that album, it’s almost like musical splatter paint — I exploded in a room and it was all the colors that were my favorite things in music — the album is representative of a lot of the things that I love about everything musical,” he said. “I’m excited to hear people be confused by all of the different sounds that are on my album.”
Price has sung and played guitar since he was a child, but up until a few years ago, the Charleston native was more comfortable as a sideman than standing in the spotlight.
“In my 20s and 30s, I played in a bunch of rock bands locally and regionally and had the opportunity about 10-12 years ago to start working with some bigger bands,” Price said. “I toured with the band Shinedown, which is a multi-platinum band from Atlantic Records that’s been very successful. Then I linked up with some other guys from a band called Sevendust and they’d started a new band called Call Me No One, and I did a national tour with them, and that was a great experience.”
Once he moved back to Charleston and started a family, Price started looking at his own career.
“I wanted to plant my roots in Charleston because I grew up here,” he said. “So about seven or eight years ago I started going out and playing bar gigs just to maintain a living. I wanted to continue playing as much as possible, and I played hundreds of bar gigs every year and suddenly got thrown into not having a band anymore. I’ve always been a contributing member to other things, and it felt great helping other people and helping the bigger picture, and now, it’s like I’m doing my own thing and I’m really discovering a sound that I love.”
That discovery eventually led to Goodlow, which was recorded in Charleston and Nashville with some of Price’s music-biz connections, including Billy Idol’s drummer, Erik Eldenius.
Price says that despite the varying topics and sounds, there’s a cohesive message he’s trying to get across on the album’s 13 tracks.
“If you ever come to see me perform, one thing I’m known for is these little heart stickers that I pass out,” he said. “They’re free everywhere I play, whether I’m selling merchandise or just playing outside. And it really does signify that the core message is one of love and positivity. Life is all about trying to find balance, and love is the thing that can balance all of the dark and the light out to help you find your way through everything. Love and heart and positivity all around is the message I’m trying to cast; it’s really about finding the silver lining.”