BRING YO' ASS TO THE TABLE - Left Lane Cruiser (Alive)
Is there a blues duo that hasn't inked with Alive Records? Probably but at least you know where to send 'em. Left Lane Cruiser come out of Indiana and bring a decidedly hillbilly vibe to the party with stinging bottleneck guitar in place of banjo, and a nimble backbeat.
Left Lane Cruiser's brand of trucker cap blues rock only occasionally gets as down and dirty as some of the other stuff in the Alive Records stable -"Amy's Table" and the self-explanatory "Heavy" are as strident as it gets - but that's not to pass them off as slight. It's just that the more subtle and/or swinging songs ("G Bob", "Pork 'n' Beans", "Set Me Down") leave a deeper impression.
There's plenty of backwoods garage attitude in Left Lane Cruiser and you just know this music wasn't honed in some fancy studio. Joe Evans (aka Freddy J IV) has a gnarled edge to his vocal that makes you suspect he'd go shot for shot with you with that bottle of Maker's Label that you've been keeping for a special occasion and beat you to the bottom. Most of his playing sounds finger-picked when he'snot plahying slide and a steel guitar is the obvious choice of weapon.
Most importantly for a duo, drummer Brenn Beck's ability to nail each and every one of these dozen songs to the floor with precision and an impeccable feel proves crucial to the sound. Footage I've seen floating around the 'Net shows him to be much more than just a timekeeper with all manner of percussion (including a washboard strapped to his stomach) coming into play.
Beck brings potent harmonica to the party for the fabulous "DFD" that adds another sonic edge.
Interpreting an old and revered musical form would be lame and directionless without an energy quotient of suitably large proportions. Left Lane Cruiser supply enough power to light up a small Mississippi city.
So if you've brought yo ass to the table, put on this CD, sit down, shut up and eat yer grits. Music and possum are both good for you. - The Barman
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