This sweeps you up with a readiness and confidence that takes your feet out from underneath you. Opener “Family Asylum” could be the greatest Johnny Cash/June Carter gem you’ve never heard, packed with crazy relatives, cool turns of phrase, death bed worry and a vibe the boys at Folsom Prison would’ve loved. From there, the wind whips us westward into the “Blue,” with ringing guitars and manly energies suggesting both surf rock and the Los Angeles rough boy rock of The Blasters. And so it goes for the remaining five cuts, shifting wildly yet grounded in something solid. When most people reference “roots music” or “Americana” it’s often a cheap way of saying rock ‘n’ roll with a touch of twang. However, there’s some bands that fully embrace a wide sweep of American bred possibilities – blues, rock, country, zydeco, folk, etc. – and Lansdale Station throws their arms around homegrown possibilities with infectious relish.
Led by the powerful singing duo of Judge Murphy (Zero) and spouse Lauren Murphy, Lansdale Station is what I call a “fundamental pleasure,” a group that has all the basics down cold and then fills in the right details and delivers performances that still feel very much of the moment – think Buddy & Julie Miller or Gillian Welch & David Rawlings as prime examples. From the dead solid songwriting to the crisp musicianship, there’s sturdy bedrock to each cut, which Lauren and Judge use as platforms for their spirited, character-filled voices to soar. There’s wonderful boy-girl energy to the pair, though each sings with serious oomph on their own, too. Trying to describe voices like theirs is akin to cataloging the flavors of fine wine. Better to just roll it around for a while and let the bouquet saturate your senses.
If country radio had any real taste or guts the breathlessly rockin’ “Hired Hand” would already be a smash, while “Houselevelers” moves with killer restraint, capturing the floating menace of being really broke but also the pleasure and freedom of living on the ragged edge. Closer “Mercy” is marvelous R&B with a fab rock itch, something The Meters might’ve stumbled upon in their heyday, and they further sweeten the deal with a pitch perfect cover of Fairport Convention’s “Come All Ye.” This debut is a terrific calling card, and one hopes it puts them onstage with folks like Gillian and Buddy. These are kindred spirits, musician’s musicians who’ve retained the palpable excitement of music making. It’s rare for seasoned veterans to resonate such unbridled enjoyment, and better still when that mojo can be anchored to such maturely crafted fare.
Check out JamBase’s recent interview with the band here
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