have to go with my gut on this one and my gut is telling me
that these guys were somehow transported through time and
dropped on my doorstep because I did something someone liked
very, very much. I feel like the fifteen year-old kid sitting
on his bed just before turning out the lights, before whom
appears a scantily-clad and very hot lady (let us say, a 30
year-old, for mental picture purposes). Like him, I am looking
toward the sky and saying “Thank you, God” with a
look of amazement and ecstasy on my face and a heart filled
with wonder. Such is the
power of music.
almost passed on Innocent Man.
A guy named Cody who had something to do with the recording
sent me the files with a request to listen and I was reluctant
(like every egotistical idiot, I think my time is worth
something) but I did. One time through I wasn't impressed but
there was something there I couldn't quite put a finger on. I
sent Cody a note saying don't expect anything but I want to
listen again. That was a good twenty listens ago--- more if you
count the multiple hearings of Whistler
two tracks which have wrapped their tentacles around my brain
and won't let go. It was almost like they dragged me into a
tunnel and it took me that many listens to find my way out. But
I made it and I'm none the worse for wear. I think. Maybe
better, now that I think about it.
I have no idea what makes each of us like or dislike the music
we hear. Through the years I have tired of the same old while
that seems to be music to everyone else's ears. While people
were listening to Steely Dan and Billy Joel, I
was digging through dumpsters for the likes of The Damnation
of Adam Blessing (later, just Damnation) and Country
Funk and Glass Harp. Something about the stars (soon
to be labeled “superstars”) just did not impress me
beyond an album or maybe even a song. I wanted the album less
traveled, I guess. I still do.
So let me just say that Innocent Man's Home Grown
is starting out its life that way--- an album which
will have to fight its way through white noise to be heard at
all--- and that's a shame. There is good music in those
grooves, music deserving to be heard, and it will be a battle.
No big thing, though, because Innocent Man isn't new to
the game, having been around hometown Boise for a few years at
least, and they know the rules. No overnight success for these
guys. It's practically written in the contract.
Doesn't matter to me. This band is my latest guilty pleasure.
It brings back the seventies like few others do. 15 is
one of those songs rooted in the seventies--- the early
seventies--- a pit bull of a song--- the 6/8 time signature
giving the rhythm section (that's the bass and drums, folks) a
chance to drive. Violins and guitars can live off of a song
like this for weeks. Speaking of weeks, that's how long I would
have Whistler be if I didn't know it would end the life
of the band after the first few hours. When I hear it, I'm
hearing the music filtered through a few years of inhabiting
longhair music venues like The Eagles Auditorium in Seattle and
Billy Shears in Eugene. It's a rockin' light show with a beat
thanks to the instrumental lineup and that unique and raspy
sound of guitar, organ and violin. A killer of a song which
should have a longer instrumental break, though maybe it works
best as it is. It's length has me listening again and again. I
can't seem to get enough.
They work their way through a number of songs on this album,
many having ghosts of Steely Dan and early Wilderness
Road and Moby Grape and a host of other bands I
loved during my “hippie” days. When I close my
eyes, I can almost picture them on a flatbed in a field
somewhere pickin' and grinnin' between rockin' 'n rollin'
because they do, on songs like Break It Down, have gaps
in their teeth and a barndance kick in a rock 'n roll kind of
way. It is hardly all that but just enough to give you
that feeling of deja vu. Like you maybe had heard these guys
before. Even if you aren't able to remember the late-sixties
Does Innocent Man have a chance to make it? I would
think so. I have noticed the past couple of years a look to the
past--- the early-seventies' past--- and not from the boomers
as you might think, but from the kids--- the ones who are
tiring of the pablum being offered up by the major labels. They
seem to appreciate the in-your-face quality of the music back
then--- the feel of it, if you will. I almost laugh out
loud every time I talk with a young person who is blown away
that I know the music of those bands. I mean, how many older
people can they find with whom they can talk about Cat
Mother and Trapeze and Potliquor? Not too
damn many if only because there ain't that many of us left.
What's that, you say? You dig those guys? Well, guess what,
kids. You're going to love these guys, too!
the older folks, I think it will take something drastic to get
them to listen. Like a live concert. Listening to the album, I
got a tremendous urge to hear the band live. I mean, an urge!
And I would back that up with an analogy but the only urge I
can think of at the moment is age-inappropriate. That's okay.
Use your head. You'll think of one.
you're thinking, you might want to head to their website (click
to read about the band. Never hurts to know about the
musicians, you know. Then head to their ReverbNation page to
Start with Whistler
work your way through all of the songs a few times. The ones
that grab you right off will make you listen further and with
each listen, the album gets better and better.
album is scheduled to drop February 9th.
Did I mention they were from Boise? Not too many places I think
are better to be from. Maybe Moose Jaw or Whitehorse or, if you
really want to be from somewhere cool, Spillamachine. For this
band, though, Boise will do. As far as Innocent
They will do nicely, too. Very nicely.