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Friday, June 18, 2010

Album Review: Thick Sticks & Harder Stones by Evan Harris and the Driftwood Motion

Thick Sticks & Harder Stones is a 6 song EP by Evan Harris and the Driftwood Motion.  You probably already got most of that information from the title of this post.  Jeremy Ebert, the bands guitarist, gave me this CD with a little note tucked inside;

"'thick sticks' is the product of 3 friends over a 2 week recording period and a 1 week    mixing/celebrating the absurdity of how quickly it all came together....period"

The band, in its current incarnation, consists of Evan Harris, Jeremy Ebert, and Jessica Rabbit. This album also features Gerard Shay on the song Cardinals and Swans.  
Evan: Vocals, Gibson Acoustic, upright bass, ukelele, piano, and organ
Jeremy: Dean Resonator
Jessica: Vocals, Martin Acoustic
Gerard: Mandolin

The Driftwood Motion is one of those bands that are equally great to listen to either on a hot Summer day while sitting on a porch sipping lemonade, or a dark smoke-filled room at night while sipping whiskey and water.

They take elements of bluegrass, folk and  roots rock to create alt-country masterpieces that will make anyone slap their thighs, stomp their feet, and smile at life.  And that isn't to say that the music is necessarily happy; it's just that damn good.

Jeremy's guitar is superb, Evan's smorgasborg of instruments and lyrics is amazing, and Jessica's guitar and especially her voice is simply beautiful; she sings lead on only one song, Ah Geeze (What a Mess!), and I really wish I could hear more of her.  Simply put, I want more Jessica Rabbit!

The other five songs are sung by Evan, whose voice is strong and confident, but aggravatingly familiar; you spend more time trying to figure out who he sounds like than listening to what he's singing about (after listening to the EP about 20 times, I came up with a combination of Mike Ness, John Cougar, and Tom Waits - which would make a terribly ugly baby if the three of them ever somehow managed to mate - but I digress). 

The stand out tracks are The Devil Song, Cardinals & Swans, Ah Geeze (What a Mess!), and Lighter than Dark Days.  The second track, At Least We Still Have What's Left of Our Health, is good, but doesn't strike me as much as the previously mentioned songs and track 5, A Birds Year, I can't seem to get into very much.  The overall feel of the song is terribly depressing (on purpose), but the guitar is what grinds my gears on this one.  The opening acoustic which continues throughout the song just sounds... I hate to say this.... cheesy.  The electric that pops in occasionally provides an almost industrial tone, which is unsettling.  I think that is the best way to describe this song... unsettling.  That could be good or bad, depending on your mood, really.

Overall, I would recommend this to just about anyone.  I mean, I only had one negative thing to say, so that should mean something, right?  I've also seen these dudes play live (sans Ms. Rabbit) at a club and in a living room and I recommend attending a live show as well.

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