JANGLE ON! for FEB. 2008!
By Eric Sorensen, written exclusively for NOT LAME
I finished last month’s column with a thank you to Ray Verno, and I will begin this month’s column with similar appreciation. Ray’s INTERNET research has brought two more artists to my attention: Fred Hoffman and Kevin Michael Moyles. Fred features a number of songs on his www.fredhoff.com site, but the four instrumental tracks that feature Fred on his Rickenbacker 12-string guitar are standout tracks that should appeal to Byrds fans everywhere. Fred gets a nifty sustain from his compressor on “Rickenbacker Rumble,” “Ric Cycle,” “Your Tiffany Bird’s Joy” and “McGuinn Tribute” – leaving no doubt that he is a dedicated Roger McGuinn disciple! Moyles’ country-rock tracks can be found on his www.Kevinmoyles.com site. The very jangly “Hold On” reminds me of material released a decade ago by both the Electric Range and the Headlights. Thanks are extended to Fred and Kevin for sharing their music on the INTERNET … and to Ray for mining these jangly nuggets!
Speaking of Roger McGuinn, I had the pleasure of seeing him perform at the beautiful 1800-seat Mondavi Center for Performing Arts at the University of California-Davis campus on February 1st. This was Roger’s first public appearance since recovering from a broken wrist. Although he had a banjo, 12-string acoustic guitar and his 12-string Rickenbacker guitar within arm’s reach, McGuinn showed a strong preference for his signature Martin seven-string acoustic guitar, which allows him to showcase the best features of both a six-string and twelve-string guitar. I am looking forward to seeing him again in May – in the more intimate confines of the historic Vergennes Opera House in Vergennes, Vermont.
So … what else is new in jangly music? How about several discs featured on the Not Lame website – such as:
IKE-WHERE TO BEGIN No album better meets the definition of “power pop” than this latest release from John Faye and his bandmates. It doesn’t always have to jangle to be top-notch pop. However, the guitar riffs do ring and chime a bit on the swell track “Atomic Rose.” I get a Comanche Moon/Paul Kaminski vibe from this excellent track.
THE MEADOWS-FIRST NERVOUS BREAKDOWN Hard to put my finger on who they remind me of (Bruce makes references to a rootsy-Petty and Gin Blossoms sound) but it sure sounds good! “Wheels On The Road,” “Take Me Down” and “Forever California” feature enough chiming riffs to warrant jangle enthusiasts’ attention.
STONECAKE-ALWAYS IN MY MIND Solid power pop in the same vein as the Merrymakers, with enough jangle on three out of four of the tracks to whet my interest!
ICE CREAM HANDS-THE GOOD CHINA I have the complete library of discs by this “under the radar” band, but this latest disc really demonstrates how good this band is. Songs on this disc combine elements of Teenage Fanclub, Michael Carpenter and the more pop-oriented Hoodoo Gurus – resulting in some terrific melodic power pop. “Come Along,” “This Is What I Want” and “Anyway” are my favorite tracks.
Other jangly finds include:
EMANUEL TRANSMISSION-ETERNITY Every once in a while, a search of CDBaby unearths a terrific find. This ten-song disc by a six-person church ensemble is certainly directed at the “inspirational pop” audience … but if you’re a jangleholic like me, you will dig “Peter’s Story,” which is drenched in chiming, ringing riffs. The message is melodic, jangly and joyous – the way pop music should be!
THE PEACES-IS/ARE WAS/HERE Every year, a disc comes to my attention after I have compiled a “Top Ten” list for the previous year. Is/Are Was/Here, released on the Cherry Bomb Records label and available through the Not Lame website, was my late add to the Best of 2006. This disc sparkles with timeless vocal harmonies and chiming guitars. Tracks like “Don’t Take It For Granted,” “Oasis,” “She Stands So Close,” “Telephone’s Ringing In My Ear,” “Sunny Day” and “Something Wrong Could Be Right” remind me of the Cyrkle, the Blow Pops and the Resonars. Byrds fans will certainly dig “She Stands So Close” – which grabbed my “Song of the Year” honors for 2007.
Another superb release on the Cherry Bomb Records label is...THIS IS MY LIFE by the ALAN WAUTERS ALLIANCE. The twelve songs represent studio recordings by Alan Wauters and a changing lineup over a 15-year period. (NOTE: The guy playing Rickenbacker 12-string guitar on the 1982 Electric Lady Studios tracks is none other than Les Fradkin, who I now consider to be the Kevin Bacon of the pop music industry. Les can trace a connection to every other pop musician within six degrees of separation!) Terrific Wauters-penned tracks include “Aquariana,” “Living On The Edge,” “Looking For Love,” “Called It Fate” and “Resolution.” Wauters and his studio mates also recorded excellent cover versions of “Sounds of Silence” and “My Back Pages.” On some of the tracks, I get a D.L. Byron vibe – which is a very good thing! Fans of jangly music should snap this up. This compilation makes a great companion to the Starry Eyed and Laughing compilation - That Was Now And This Is Then - that was released several years ago on the Aurora Music label.
Last but not least is a disc I mentioned in my January column – RICKENBACKER BALLET by THE RINGLES – whose chiming tracks are still ringing in my ears!
Until next month, jangle on!
Eric Sorensen, has over 40 years of passion inside his ears for all thingsruled by the misty, mystical jangling spells of a 12-stringed Rickenbacker and his postings here will unearth and enlighten all as to finding that next great jangled strum. No one owns a larger collection of cover-versions of "Eight Miles High" than this Janglemeister, as well. Eric was the lead project honcho with putting together tribute albums to Gene Clark (FULL CIRCLE) and Buffalo Springfield(FIVE WAY STREET) and his earlier column writings appeared on the fabulous Fufkin.com site under the name "Further Observations From A Jangly Music Fan".