Monday, October 6, 2014

Listening With The Redneck Road Dogs
Brenda Kippa

Your Faithful Road Dogs have been running the roads, listening to the
best music available within 130 miles or so, and having great fun at
it. This week, it's time to stop and tell you what we like to listen
to while we travel.

When we're on our way to a concert, we generally like to listen to
whoever we will be seeing that night. This supplies a refresher,
reminds us of what we love, and amps up the excitement about the
performers we will be seeing. But what do we listen to when we are
just in the car, going about the business of the day? We've found that
the answer, for both of us, is easy.

Our Number One choice is by a band that we have never seen in concert.
This CD is a first album release, by a group that we predict you will
be hearing a lot of in the future. The name is Jamestown Revival, and
the album is called Utah. Mark that down. Or better yet, just go ahead
and order it. It will be the best thing you've done for yourself in
awhile; that's a promise. From the day it arrived by mail (ordered
from Amazon), it took it's place in my car's CD player, and it has not
budged from that place for more than a handful of half-hour intervals
in the three months since. This CD is masterfully laid out, with each
song leading perfectly into the next one, yet with each song standing
beautifully by itself. The urge to jump to the next song just never

Essentially, Jamestown Revival is a union of childhood friends Zach
Chance and Jonathan Clay. They left their homes in Magnolia, Texas for
Austin when they were both about 22; after awhile they moved on to Los
Angeles. Within a year, they wrote all of the material for Utah. The
recording of the songs took place in a cabin in the Wasatch Mountains
of Utah. The tranquility of the setting is represented in  the sounds
of the birds, which can be heard on songs that were recorded on the
cabin's porch. From there, the music went back to L.A., where it was
edited and mastered by some of the best in the business. The
excitement around this group of songs is akin to what swirled around
The Eagles when they entered the scene a few decades ago. The
beautiful harmonies, plus the great guitar and keyboard work show
their influences, which they've said include The Everly Brothers,
Credence Clearwater Revival and Guy Clark. Simply put, there's not a
bad one in the bunch on this CD.

Second and third choices are both so good that we can't decide which
is second and which is third.

That being said, we'll start with the Band Of Heathens. We became fans
of this band upon release of their fourth studio release One Foot In
The Ether. We were still enjoying it like a new record when their new
one - Sunday Morning Record – was released. It features a fine
anthem-style song called Records In Bed, along with a great array of
new material that is brought into music out of upheavals in the life
of the band and it's members over a period of a year or so. Known for
their energy on stage - they have released four “Live at.....” albums
to date - they never disappoint. In addition, they often record their
concerts and offer them for sale to the audience at the end of the
evening. (We can attest to the fact that this is always a wise
purchase, since they rarely deliver a song the same way twice).

Principals in the Band Of Heathens are vocalists Ed Jurdi and Gordi
Quist. They began in 2006, quickly gaining a large and loyal
following. The lineup now includes Trevor Nealon on keys and Richard
Milsap on drums; all are also vocalists, but the lead vocals are
mostly carried by Ed and Gordi. While most of our favorite bands show
a clear influence and kinship with   70's-era's The Band, it's the
Band of Heathens that most echoes The Band's memory, mostly because of
the keyboard work by Trevor Nealon. Fans of The Band can close their
eyes and swear they're hearing Garth Hudson's masterful keyboard work
once again.

Finally, but not last, is Midnight River Choir. We reviewed this band
in one of our earliest columns. Now their second album is out, and
it's a beauty. Called Fresh Air, it's full of the incredible lead
vocals of Eric Middleton, plus the harmonies and great instrument work
of Justin Nelson, Bob Driver III and Mitch Pyeatt.  Something
wonderful has happened to or for this band since we last saw them.
While they were the kind of musicians that excite us and keep us
interested, they seem to have undergone some kind of cosmic zap since
we last saw them many months ago. When we saw them over the weekend,
they were delivering each song with showstopper energy. Eric's vocals
were mesmerizing, and all of the harmonies showed us the kind of
love-of-the-music intensity that keeps the desire for this music
burning brightly today.

If you strip away the differences between our Top Three groups, what
you have is  fabulous lyrics, mid-century harmonies, plus the rhythms
and song structure of the new millenium. It's a winning combination!

No comments:

Post a Comment