Backed by resilience and gratitude, Rags and Riches beautifully infuses hope into the darkest of times.
The Lexington, Kentucky EDM pop-rock duo of brothers Tanner Whitt (vocals, guitar) and Peyton Whitt (drums) shares a newfound sense of personal strength on their powerful, uplifting latest single, “Tension of the Season,” now available on all streaming platforms. It’s the fifth track they’ve dropped this year in a series of refreshing, spirited singles designed to inspire and rejuvenate a growing fan base.
“‘Tension of the Season’ was actually inspired when our grandfather experienced a nearly fatal stroke. With COVID-19 striking, no one could be with him in the hospital during this period. There were so many unknowns in our life. That’s when we knew it was time to write,” Tanner Whitt said.
The glistening, illuminative track blends echoey, wailing synths, shiny piano, upbeat acoustic strums, soft and steady drums, bouncy bass and reflective electric guitars as Tanner Whitt hopefully sings, “Oh, what a time to be alive/A mad world, another sleepless night/Hold your breath/When the tide pulls you under/Never give up, never give up/No never.”
“The words, ‘Tomorrow’s a brand new day, any second is bound to change,’ was more relevant than ever. Originally, the doctor’s prognosis wasn’t the news we wanted to hear. But day by day, he beat the odds stacked against him. Family before everything and everyone else,” said Tanner Whitt.
“There is nothing more vital and important in your life than family. We have been continuously working and perfecting everything we’re doing as a band, but also as human beings. Our love for people and human interaction has grown tremendously.”
“Tension of the Season” also features a fitting, socially-distanced video denoting the isolation, hopelessness and depravity people, businesses and communities face during the ongoing pandemic. Filmed in Elkhart, Indiana by director Christian Campbell, Rags and Riches strolls through empty high school football fields, vacant shopping malls and hidden parking lots while keeping a positive outlook.
“We started writing ‘Tension of the Season’ back in April when the stroke happened. We hope that everyone who hears this song will feel hopeful for the future, but also be inspired. Things can and will be rough at times, but tomorrow is the start of something brand new,” said Tanner Whitt, who worked with Peyton Whitt and Campbell to shoot the video.
“Christian is someone we’ve known for a few years now, and we knew he was the right person for this song. He actually took the full reigns and control of the concept and direction for this song. Right when he heard it, he knew where to go with it, and we loved the simplicity of it all.”
Summer Nights to Speed of Sound
In July, the Whitt brothers released the peppy, carefree Los Angeles-fueled anthem, “Summer Nights,” as the ideal EDM escape route to simpler times. Clicking percussion, thumping bass, reverby synths, vivid electric guitars and pulsating drums accelerate into the California sunset.
In tandem, Tanner Whitt reflects, “We’re only getting started/Just two bodies/Something’s rising, something’s rising/Can’t hold back forever/If you want this forever/Everybody’s dancing/Oh, won’t you let go/So tell me, do you wanna go?/So tell me, are you ready?”
“The LA inspiration was from one of our previous tours when we visited LA and took a ‘walk down the boulevard.’ Peyton was very inspired, and between the movies he had seen about LA along with the actual experience, he wanted to create something special,” said Tanner Whitt, who dropped a new lyric video for the track with his brother in August.
As an emerging duo, the Whitt brothers were born into a musical household to youth pastor parents. They started performing in church while listening to pop, classic rock and EDM, and developed a deep appreciation for electronic artists, including Steve Aoki and Diplo.
By 2017, they formed Rags and Riches and opted for a vibrant, lively sound that encompassed an eclectic range of influences. Two years later, they shared their electro-rock debut, “Speed of Sound,” and an upbeat power-pop debut EP, Arrival.
Over the next year, they dropped the inspirational “Not a Stranger,” the hyperactive “Light It Up,” the turbo-charged “Edge of Time,” the apocalyptic “Blood Runs Cold” and the slithery, synth-filled “Don’t Look Down.”
As 2020 draws to a close, Rags and Riches will continue honing a priceless, infectious sound that exhilarates the hearts and minds of listeners nationwide. Each new track represents a quick trip to a peaceful parallel universe without all of the uncertainty and drama.
“Peyton and I are constantly in the studio working on new songs and video concepts. We are looking toward 2021, but may have a few surprises up our sleeves for the remainder of 2020,” Tanner Whitt said.