Rambler 454. Wire & Wood.
2014, Danny McMusic. Rambler 454: http://www.rambler454.com/
How do we describe this Cleveland band? The group is currently a four-piece bar band, with strong ties to Southern rock, Heartland rock, country rock, blues rock, and other time-honored styles of musical heritage. They like to refer to their music as “Drinking Man’s Rock.” They make me thirsty, so this could very well be true. This is their fourth album by my count, and it is an entertaining one, delivered with high octane guitar, bass, and drums, alcohol-soaked vocals, and good humor.
All the songs are originals, and so it is more difficult to compare them to other bands (covers make this easy), although George Thorogood, the Black Crowes, and Son Volt come to mind, as well as the more local Lords of the Highway. In ten tracks they cover the assortment of topics you might expect them to lyrically, from love, to drinking, lifestyle, playing music, and having fun. Every song is uptempo--no ballads to be found--and even mid-tempo is rare, except at the beginning of a few tunes, and no song tracks longer than four minutes. Vocals are generally pretty good--you expect Pavarotti?--and entirely appropriate to the style of music. Their best qualities are the strong rhythm section, vital in this kind of music, and some fancy guitar work peeking out here and there in solos. A good example is the break in “Red Wine and Whiskey,” where I hear a bit of Allman Brothers. The song also features a funny ending with the drummer leaving before the tune finishes. Head bopping favorites include “Must Have Been a Good Night,” “Charleston Early,” and the title track.
If you’re expecting art rock with synthesizers, look elsewhere, but if you want to listen to a fine, tight bar band without actually going to the bar, this album might just be the thing. The band keeps its Facebook site more up to date than their web site, but the website gives more information. Check out future concert dates.
Personnel: Dan McCoy (guitar, vocals), Tim “Cooter” Brennan (bass, vocals), Jason “Jesse” Linder (drums), Rick Pflueger (guitar, vocals), Samantha Fitzpatrick & Greg Markell (backing vocals on Track 8).
Tracks: Charleston Early, Blank Pages, Such a Shame, Something in the Water, I Think I Love You too Much, How About Me, Red Wine and Whiskey, Must Have Been a Good Night, I Ain’t Much, Wire & Wood.