Arguably the first ever recorded blues guitar record was “Guitar Blues”, (New York City – 1923). The performer and composer was a certain Sylvester Weaver. Mr Weaver was born and bred in Louisville, Kentucky and while other cities like Detroit and New Orleans may take many well deserved plaudits as the nurturing cradles of both Blues and Jazz, Louisville has a recorded music tradition that stretches to the beginnings of the era.
Nowadays Louisville has enumerable claims to fame. Not least as home to; the Kentucky Derby, some mighty fine whiskey, a 120ft ‘Louisville Slugger’ baseball bat and a blossoming music scene. (Local residents include Will Oldham and the Quintet behind “Old Baby”)
So it is interesting that Jonathan Glen Wood – Lead guitar and vocals with “Old Baby” choose to move here 4 years ago. Mr. Wood an accomplished singer songwriter credits Even Patterson, a friend and musical collaborator with forming the band. Speaking to louisvilleblogs.org he tells us – “Evan just assembled a jam, of sorts. We all clicked pretty fast and two months later recorded our EP, Misunderstanding Human Behavior.”
Along with Mr. Wood the line-up is completed by: Mr. Patterson – guitar & vocals (YOUNG WIDOWS), Drew Osborn – drums (YOUR BLACK STAR, WORKERS), Neal Arghabright – synthesizer (PHANTOM FAMILY HALO, SAPAT), and Todd Cook – bass (THE FOR CARNATION, SHIPPING NEWS, SLINT, DEAD CHILD, Kings Daughters and Sons). The term super group is bandied about a lot but there’s no denying this team up has some considerable pedigree.
Mr. Wood cites Hank Williams as an early influence and on certain tracks in “Love Hangover” there is an unmistakeable country quality. That said his rich and varied voice can croon, growl or lilt on will. This allows Old Baby fantastic scope to shift from a blues Americana sound to a more contemporary indie rock within a few bars.
Look only to opener and single “Into the Earth” or third track “Young” which starts with a blues riff and bubbling rhythm section before organ and rhythm guitar make for an indie-rock jam. Osborn and Cook form a really tight rhythm section that underpin the entire album, witness the murmuring pulse of “Magic Wave” – With sci-fi synths and Wood sounding uncannily like Jim Morrison; this along with “Young” is a standout track.
Lyrically the writing is direct and effective.
In “Love Hungover”: “She says come over, I need to lie down now, my head is spinning” and later in “Tired”: “a man comes home from work after a long, long day; a woman goes to work, and all she does is pray, that everyone and everything else is going to go away.” The frustrations and banality of modern existence is fair game for “Old Baby” and these songs successfully marry this emotional content to some thumping rock. With “Love Hangover” Old Baby deliver superb blues tinged rock that will keep the listener enthralled over the ship-shape 37 minute running time.
Visit Old Baby’s bandcamp site here.
Old Baby – Love Hangover is available from Karate Body Records on August 6th.
Review by CD
Categories: Album Reviews