CD Reviews for 11/28/08 – Odds & Ends for Thanksgiving

Compact Capsules – Clearing the Desk, Part 2

by Dan Ferguson

What follows is the next installment in playing catch-up on recent releases flowing in here over the last month or so. We’re talking indie stuff, folks, so expect to have to do a little bit of digging (i.e., checking band web sites) to find some of these. Oh yeah, you can certainly catch all of this stuff on the Boudin Barndance.

By the way, if you’re a Barndance regular you know the Cornell Hurd Band has occupied about as prominent spot as you can over the years. In other words, we play a whole lot of Cornell. If you’ve picked up their CDs over the years, you may have noticed a hankering for tunes from the song bag of legendary rockin’ C&W trailblazer, Moon Mullican. Mullican’s motto was “I want to make those beer bottles shake on the table” and he channeled a ton of that sort of energy into his piano-driven moves and shakers. Mullican’s music and songs seems only a natural for Austin-based Hurd’s big band Western sound, one that you can catch just about every Thursday night at a nifty establishment in South Austin called Jovita’s Cantina. A full-scale Mullican tribute has been in the talking stages for years and with A American Shadows: The Songs of Moon Mullican (Behemoth Records), Hurd finally brings the project to full fruition. It is worth the wait as he and his arsenal do the Mullican catalogue nothing but justice on this18-song romper and stomper that features guest stars aplenty (Bill Kirchen, Justin Trevino, Chris O’Connell of Asleep at the Wheel fame, Floyd Domino) joining Hurd’s own well-oiled machine.

Seattle is home to The Bouchards. I stumbled onto these guys like pretty much I do many bands these days, that being an e-mail press release followed by a visit to the Myspace site. I liked what I heard on the site and within a week the CD was in the mailbox. Whereas this band doesn’t necessarily blaze any new trails, what they do do they do it well and from the picking to the fine vocal work, there’s a lot to like about the catchy songs that comprise High Water Line (Double Dice Records). The band was born in the summer of 2006 when ex-Rank & File drummer Bob Kahr moved to Seattle and hooked up with future bandmates Dennis Tevlin and Bill Preib. Now two years later, High Water Line gives us a tight band whose hallmarks are great harmonies and that hard-to-resist mix of driving guitars and pedal steel with songwriting that more than holds its own.

Similarly likeable and similar in sound make-up is the new release called Young and Beautiful from Austin band Fingerpistol. The band catches the ear right out of the gates with the ear-pleasing and heartfelt “Goodbye Marie” with its soaring harmonies saddled with music that straddles country and rock. Whereas the tempos vary the rest of the way, the basic formula remains the same. Definitely worth checking out.  Â

Closer to home, we close out with a couple of new ones from New England rock & roll and roots mainstays The Reducers and The Lonesome Brothers. Local heroes The Reducers, who’ve called New London, CT home for umpteenth years, have made plenty of club-goers hot & sweaty listening to their speedy guitar-bass-drums rockers. While they don’t play out as much as they used to, there isn’t a drop of rustiness on the latest from the band called Guitar, Bass & Drums (Rave On Records). The stellar affair is meat-and-potatoes rock and roll purity that finds the band in tight-as-a-tourniquet fashion blasting out 11 fast-moving, high energy numbers readymade to get the hips to shaking and the sweat glands opening up way wide.

Hailing from Western New England, we round things out with the new release from The Lonesome Brothers titled The Last CD (Captivating Music). First off, hopefully the title of this seventh album from the band means nothing. All of three pieces, the trio of Jim Armenti, Ray Mason, and Tom Shea have been playing in bands and making music in this corner of the country for eons now. As The Lonesome Brothers, the band’s sound has always tended towards twangy rockers – classified as hick rock by someone way back when – with Armenti bending notes with the best of the guitar slingers out there. The Last CD stays the course. As always, Armenti and and Mason do the back and forth on the songs and vocals – one song from Ray, one some from Jim, and so on and so on – effectively mixing humor and heart-on-the-sleeve emotion in their catchy songs. If you live in New England and have never seen The Lonesome Brothers perform, you need to! The next best thing? Find The Last CD.

Links:Â Cornell Hurd Band –;Â The Bouchards –;Â Fingerpistol –;Â The Reducers –;Â The Lonesome Brothers –

(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 – 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at [email protected].)