Friday, January 22, 2010

Edgehill Avenue - Rambler (2009)

Southern rock is still alive and kicking and the vessel supplying its nourishment is a five piece unit from Louisville, Kentucky, Edgehill Avenue. They just released their first full length CD, Rambler, and it's a dandy. To these ears the group sounds more like The Marshall Tucker Band than anyone else but they are influenced by The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws, and more. Some music scribes have even cited Tom Petty, The Black Crowes, and R. E. M. as influences.

While not employing the dual lead guitar attack common to many Southern rockers they do have a top notch organ player in Paul Nevitt. Lead electric guitarist "Hurricane" Mike McLaughlin also doubles on acoustic. His work makes the listener wonder where he has been hiding all these years. Rhythm guitarist Drew Perkins is the fine, earthy vocalist. The rhythm section of Lamont "Phatbeat" Melson on drums and John Poole on bass provide a solid backing that works cohesively with the guys on the front line. The CD was produced by William Bartley, who once worked with Robbie Robertson, and Nick Stevens.

Not only are Edgehill Avenue outstanding players Perkins can write songs that pack a wallop. On the acoustic ballad, "I'll Be Leaving Now" he makes you feel really sad for the protagonist while singing "I'm a man and sometimes my intentions come out wrong." He is also capable of conjuring up the ghosts of folk music's great protest singers. The title track is about abolitionist Frederick Douglas and "Justified" laments the horrors of genocide. Having said all of that please don't think this quintet is a big downer because they can boogie with any of Dixie's best bands. All you need to do is listen to "Just Don't Care Anymore," "How You Really Feel," and the very radio friendly "With These Hands" and you'll know what I mean.

It took more than one listen for Rambler to sink in so I ask you to be generous with both your time and your ears. You won't be disappointed. Call this music Americana, call it roots-rock, call it Southern rock, call it whatever you like, just as long as you call it "great."

The band, minus Nevitt, recorded their only other release, an eponymously titled acoustic EP in 2007, that is currently out of print. However, it is still available for download on their website where you can also purchase Rambler on CD or mp3. It's also available at Amazon.


1 comment:

  1. These guys sound great! Thanks, I am going to check them out.