Last year, the world was taken by complete and total shock when the COVID-19 virus appeared on the scene and shut the entire globe down. Most people were unprepared and overwhelmed by the shutdown when a three-week vacation rolled into a three-month lockdown, and here we are almost a year away from the initial pandemic surge, finally seeing things trickle back to normal. For some, the closing was a good excuse to cross things off of a list that they had been meaning to do forever. For others, even the thought of getting out of bed was hard enough. A field that saw a dramatic boom in activity was the DIY art scene and within that, a lot of people were able to give focus to plans that may have otherwise fallen by the wayside. One such project found itself in the form of My Forever DJ, an idea grown out of love between budding rock stars Diane and Jeff.
My Forever DJ spawned in 2018 out of the state of Georgia after Diane and Jeff (the namesake behind the “DJ”) met online and bonded over their mutual love of music; it wasn’t until a few months into the dreaded pandemic that the couple decided to focus wholeheartedly on the prospect of an album, though, and out of that inspiration the album Southern Hotspots was born. Setting out on a carefully curated adventure across the historical southern region of the United States,
My Forever DJ aspired to turn their car into a makeshift recording studio with the intention of stopping at a variety of themed attractions along the way, each meant to further dig into the seasoned history of the rock genre. Audiences will enjoy following along with the band, noting an album cover showcasing the path the duo stuck to along their musical journey.
Consisting entirely of covers, Southern Hotspots includes tributes to a variety of rock legends ranging from Bob Dylan and Elvis to modern rock groups, such as the Alabama Shakes. My Forever DJ rarely goes for the low hanging fruit when it comes to the songs they choose to cover, however, opting either for tracks far off the beaten path (“That’s Alright Mama” and “Hang Loose,” for example) or iconic staples that are too fun to pass up covering, but still begging to be covered well, such as “Hound Dog” and “Susie Q.”
The music mostly speaks for itself, as the ramshackle production and guerrilla recording style lean into a unique flavor of direction for the project. Some songs remain familiar and faithful while others present themselves in an entirely different viewpoint, and all eleven pieces form a cohesive idea straight from the passionate hearts behind My Forever DJ. While the polish is lacking, at the end of the day the pieces most integral to the musical DNA of Southern Hotspots remain intact: determination, confidence, and the aspiration to make something out of a bad situation. With this little album that could showing its face in the wake of a global pandemic, it’s safe to say the mission was accomplished.
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