Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dan Hubbard and the Humadors - The Love Show

It wasn't that long ago when someone asked me "Why doesn't anyone make Rock n' Roll" anymore?" Like many folks, he quit looking for new music after he graduated college, and was now trying to search the radio for new Rock n' Roll. If he asked that today, I would give him a copy of Dan Hubbard and the Humadors new release, The Love Show, and end his search. This Central Illinois based band, serves up Rock with hooks that latch on from the opener "Don't Take Me Now" and never let go.

Dan Hubbard gets it, Rock and Roll is best when it is uncomplicated. There are no gimmicks or pretenses found on The Love Show, just really great melodies. These are the songs that make you want to crank the volume and go for a drive. Just don't set the iPod on repeat or you may never come back.

As a songwriter, Hubbard follows a similar uncomplicated formula. Guess what indie rockers! You don't have to be an art school student on anti-depressants to write lyrics. Hubbard has a troubadour's gift, creating songs that balance life's tough times with hope and healing. On "This is Your Life" Hubbard sings, "Life isn't fair and that's Ok. It's crazy how much things can change before you even realize. This is your life. Yeah, there's some things you can't control. Yeah, sometimes you have to let go. Yeah, everything is gonna be fine. We're doin' alright baby." What is wrong with plain spoken wisdom?

Stay Away

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mark W. Lennon - Home of the Wheel

Listening to Mark W. Lennon’s new release Home of the Wheel, I felt as if I was transported back to depression era America without leaving 2011. At times it is the music that takes you there, and other times it is the lyrics. Lennon draws the parallels between the Modern and the past with a wide brush of Americana. There are influences from traditional styles and contemporary songwriters like Ryan Adams. In between you will find Country and even some Jam Band riffs. All of these diverse ingredients may sound like a case of creative schizophrenia, and in some hands that would be the case. However, Lennon keeps his many influences contained within his own singular vision. That is no small task, and the result is a compelling sound that will likely end up in many listeners heavy rotations. Fans of Chattam County Line, the Avett Brothers or Steel Wheels will definitely enjoy Home of the Wheel.

The album was produced by Marvin Etzioni, a former member of Lone Justice who has worked with Steve Earle, Counting Crows and Lucinda Williams. Lennon is a North Carolina native but he now resides in California. In the title cut, Lennon gives a powerful portrait of life in post-depression America, and the desperation of the time. Other songs on the album are modern in there setting, but the parallel between then and now is clear. “Blues Forever (in Your Eyes)” is simply one of best songs I have heard this year. A Country tune “California Calling”, presumably refers to his own move to California. The move has been a good one for him, at least musically. His sound is now complete and he is establishing himself as a rising star in the roots music community of the area. Look for the buzz to get louder on future releases. Mark W. Lennon’s music needs to be heard.

“Blues Forever (in Your Eyes)”

Blues Forever from Mark W. Lennon on Vimeo.