Blacktop Mojo is a band from Palestine, Texas. Formed in 2012, the band initially had a strong element of country in their music, as most of the available places for them to play in their part of Texas were country venues. By the time Blacktop Mojo recorded their debut album, I Am, in 2014, they’d lost a lot of the twang and moved to hard rock.
Blacktop Mojo found success with their second LP, Burn The Ships, 2017. The lead single, Where The Wind Blows, reached 27 on the main US charts and the follow up, Dream on, reached 31. Despite the slightly lower chart placing of the song, The Rock Pit credits the viral video of Dream On for bringing Blacktop Mojo to broader public attention.
Rock fans would have noticed that Dream On is a cover of Aerosmith’s classic hit from 1973. Blacktop Mojo drummer Nathan Gillis has said that a friend suggested the song to the band. They ended up giving it a go during the recording session for Burn The Ships, and “were comfortable enough that we at least hadn’t shamed the song or Aerosmith, so with a little hesitation we released it. Since then, we’ve been shocked and overwhelmed by the awesome response”. The video now has 26m views on YouTube.
Writing on Metal Gods TV, Rick Tilley went so far as to call Blacktop Mojo’s Dream On one of the best cover versions he’d ever heard. Critics and fans praise the way in which Matt James’s vocals echo Steven Tyler without sacrificing James’s own style. It is also noted that Blacktop Mojo’s guitars are a little crunchier than the original. In contrast, this is the band playing an acoustic version of Dream On on a back porch in Oklahoma as a socially distanced treat for friends during the pandemic.
Steven Tyler has said that Dream on is about the hunger to achieve one’s dreams. In this case it was a response to the critics who dismissed Aerosmith’s first album and said that the band was ripping off The Rolling Stones. Tyler says the song is a barometer of his anger at the press, an anger which he still possesses.
On their Facebook page, Blacktop Mojo describe themselves as “5 guys living together and playing Rock and Roll”. Living in the same house is a sign of the members’ commitment to the band and playing together. It shows that they have a hunger to achieve their dreams.
Speaking of the communal-living setup to Edwin van Hoof of Headbangers Lifestyle in 2017, Matt James said that while they spent a lot of time playing music, the band members like to let off steam by clay pigeon shooting, playing XBox and going to the gym. “Hanging out outside and firing off guns is awesome for stress relief,” he added
Blacktop Mojo’s most recent (self-titled) LP was released in 2021. The band is currently on tour in the US South. They are due to play the Mid Summer Music Fest Rock Week at Menahga, Minnesota on 22 July and the ABATE Summerfest at Three Rivers, Michigan, on 12 August.
Dream On remains Blacktop Mojo’s most popular video on YouTube by some distance. (It Won’t Last is second with a very respectable 8.2m views).