By: Dennis Cook
Moving steady all night long through driving rain, Stoney Clove Lane oozes the unforced cool of primo California country rock despite hailing from the Catskill Mountains. Their veins pump similar hemoglobin to vintage Crosby, Nash, et al. and more modern purveyors like The Mother Hips, all shaped with sharp Apple Records-esque pop acumen. Stay With Me (Woodstock MusicWorks) is just so bloody together. The performances, tunes and production coalesce for a thoroughly addictive listening experience full of lines you'll find yourself singing as you move through your day.
Stoney Clove Lane is Jeremy Bernstein (guitar, lead vocals) and Adam Widoff (drums, keys, slide, etc.), with a little help from their friends, which makes the fullness and smokin' hot melodic force of Stay With Me even more impressive. Their third album exhibits the preternatural instincts of early Neil Young, where all the small touches really add up, especially in service of such consistently strong material. Bernstein is an appealing, unpredictably charming singer like nothing on radio today, but he would have been welcomed with open arms in 1970. One picks up on echoes of Mofro's JJ Grey and Stephen Stills, and he even conjures Prince on "On The Other Side," albeit a Prince surrounded by George Harrison guitar licks and banjo sharpness.
The Hips reference at the start is about the most apt I can offer. Stay With Me is a kindred spirit to Part-Timer Goes Full and Later Days. Like those well-rooted classics, Stay With Me feels of another time without sounding dated, retro or anything musty like that. Instead, it could be another small marvel recommended by the same record store haunting buddy that turned you onto Moby Grape, Skip Spence, The Move and other free floating niceness. This is the kind of record one keeps in easy reach because of the great comfort and pleasure within its grooves. It's always a positive when a band reminds us of the power of fundamentals, and Stoney Clove Lane is well on their way to nailing all the really important stuff in rock 'n' roll.
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