Singer/songwriter Madison Monroe's first solo CD, "No Boundaries," takes listeners on a revealing musical journey through his life experiences and relationships - good, bad and in between - with no apologies for his frank discussion of the outcomes. The 11-song set is an exceptional departure from today's stock musical styles. It is a unique album of music that has driving rhythms that will move your body and powerful lyrics that will move your mind. Monroe grew up in Port Arthur, Texas, a gritty Gulf Coast town near the Louisiana border with a reputation as a place where most boys follow their fathers to jobs in or around one of the many industrial plants that make up the city's rugged petrochemical skyline. Monroe didn't take that course in life. A talented artist, photographer and musician, he went against the grain and aligned himself with Port Arthur's "other' reputation - a town that produced a long list of major international recording artists, including Janis Joplin ("Me and Bobby McGee"), Johnny Preston ("Runnin' Bear") and Jivin' Gene ("Breakin' Up is Hard to Do"). Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana provided Monroe with an exotic gumbo of musical influences. His father managed a local radio station, and Monroe enjoyed hanging out at the station, listening to rock and roll, rhythm and blues, country, Cajun, zydeco, jazz and swamp pop, a highly danceable musical style that originated in the area. Monroe started playing guitar and singing background vocals when he was 14 and soon was performing with a variety of local bands playing original songs. Most of his friends wanted to get day jobs that paid a lot of money, but that didn't seem so important to Monroe. The first time he saw a live band, he knew what he really wanted to do. Monroe's musical career moved to the regional level with the band Nog Pon Jami featuring Kevin Brown. He eventually moved to Austin and then to California before he returned to Port Arthur, where he looked for opportunities to pursue his own original music. Monroe started working on his own songs with the help of friends like Kenneth Angelle, Devin Weber and Doug Greer with the goal of doing a solo album. In the summer of 2007, Monroe finally put together the right combination of musicians and a producer to record his songs. The "No Boundaries" sessions were the first professional recordings in the new state-of-the-art recording studio at Lamar State College-Port Arthur. Monroe pours his heart and passion into his songs - from the ethereal "I Learned a Lot About Love," a haunting lament about lost love, to the pop-oriented "Back to You," which features spellbinding harmonies and thought-provoking lyrics about reclaiming that same lost love. He takes listeners on a jazz/blues trip in "Long-Stemmed Roses" while the funky dance beat of "Walls" evokes the spirit of the late Ray Charles. Monroe writes about the perils of drugs in Eagles-esque country rocker "Loaded," the sad story of a girl he knew for several years. The powerful dance songs "Seein' Lies," "Tainted Glass" and "What's Inside" are Madison Monroe at his most insightful and revealing. "In the Mood," "Out of the Blue" and "With You" showcase Monroe's uncanny ability to mix country, rock and pop to create his own unique American pop music. So, sit back, relax and give Madison Monroe's "No Boundaries" a listen. He'll move your body and your mind!
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