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MISH MASH Issue #7

Brian Cline

Title: "Hold The Keys"

Label: Dionysongs

Format: 10 song CD

Brian Cline proves that you don't need an electric guitar to be aggressive. His blend of anxious acoustic folk rock is powerful in its subtlety. At times, Cline reminds me of acousto-rocker/songwriter Jeffrey Gaines, especially in his soulful vocals and storytelling lyrics. It's a simple setup, but one that works wonderfully.

The title track is similar to the funky acoustic pop sound of DCTalk on their "Jesus Freak" album, while the driving rhythm of "Eye of the Storm" builds in intensity and urgency thanks in part to the steady drums of Joey Jam. Cline has an edge in his voice that draws you right in--it has a serious and questioning quality that shows a great deal of insight when belting out lines like "But if you push, then I will shove/I will shove/What's that do for me?" (from "What's That Do For Me?").

Cline shines with passion and skill--a combination that always wins.

MISH MASH Mandate: Passionate acousto-rock.

Brian Cline Website

Jim Greer

Title: "Rover Songs"

Label: Fortune Records

Format: 12 song CD

"Rover Songs" lives up to its namesake; Jim Greer takes us on a weird and wild trip through undiscovered music territory. The album presents an unusual and fresh perspective on pop music--it has a quirky and timeless quality that seems to blend traditional popular music with an avant garde attitude. Presented in a not-so-serious light, Jim Greer amuses in an obtuse fashion both musically and lyrically.

The journey begins with the sing-a-long sounds of "Southern States", which has a childlike innocence about it--it almost sounds like "Ring Around the Rosie" in the refrain. "My Car is a Ship" reminds me of They Might Be Giants with its marimbas and offbeat lyrics: "I dreamed it turned tiny/and tiny pedals stomped and key turned/and engine fired". R.E.M. meets spaghetti-western in Greer's "What's That You Say"--this one is hilarious, and "Hunker In the Bunker" is a seemingly out of place, but nicely done piano solo.

Definitely different, "Rover Songs" will provide a surprise on every track.

MISH MASH Mandate: Upbeat and offbeat.

Rick Denzien

Title: "Exit 21"

Label: Slot-1

Format: 13 song CD

This guy has a strange handle on pop/rock. The songs are in the deep-end lyrically, but the musical hooks grab you and have you bopping before you know what's going on. This takes skill, and Rick Denzien has plenty of it. The songs have a political edge, and Denzien wears his feelings on his sleeve.

"Desperation" is a full blast rocker that weaves a driving drum beat with cool guitar phrasing, but the real deal is in the words: "What kind of fool am I thinking there's music on MTV?/At least we live in a place with no public executions/Unless you move or koresh your way to oblivion yeah...Most people in power got no mind they learn crowd control/They keep their secrets hidden we're not on their agenda". All this is rounded out with the refrain of "Yeah-eh-yeah-eh-yeah", with a brilliant in-your-face yell of frustration. "Father Love" slows down the pace a little, but the lyrics are still sharp: "Can we father love in the new age/I thought we had a new world order". "Her Calling" has a catchy 80s pop sound with a nice female background vocal in the chorus--this one is my favorite.

Denzien has no problem in stating his views--his honesty hits you head-on. But its not preachy, so you can take it all in without getting it pounded down your throat.

MISH MASH Mandate: Thinking cap music.

Rick Denzien Website

Supperbell Roundup

Title: "At Station Four"

Label: Side 1 Dummy

Format: 11 song CD

There's a forlorn sound coming from the banjo of Brendon Massei, AKA Supperbell Roundup. Massei keeps it very simple--a single banjo or acoustic guitar with lead and backing vocals--and the result feels very lonesome, indeed. He blends the sounds of blues, folk, and bluegrass into a hybrid that equally relflects all three styles seamlessly.

"Playing The Old Banjo" seems like it should be upbeat and festive, yet Massei delivers it in traditional bluegrass fashion--in an almost tired and melancholy way, that "high and lonesome" sound. "Lord Knows, I Need My Own Place to Stay" reminds me of Johnny Cash in its structure, although Massei's voice is much lighter and more timid than Cash. As a matter of fact, he sounds like Beck singing a Johnny Cash song. A more traditional folk feel comes alive in "The Night Before You Had to Leave", which actually uses a line from "My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean".

It's hard to be cutting edge and traditional all at one time, but Massei pulls it off by doing his own simple thing. There's an unpolished appeal here that transcends a lot of today's commercial music.

MISH MASH Mandate: Pickin' and grinnin'

Side 1 Dummy Website

Bobby Mountain

Title: "Genuine Leather"

Label: Knight Shadow

Format: 10 song CD

In case you're wondering, Bobby Mountain is country--make no mistake. I'm not talking about all that pop country you hear on the radio. This is the real thing, the kind of country you'll find in any dive outside any town in Georgia or Alabama. Merle Haggard, Waylon, and Hank Williams, Jr., in case you're wondering exactly what that would be. And, Bobby Mountain has that smooth southern twang (he sounds a lot like the lead singer of the group Alabama) that blends right into that traditional country mold.

Mountain is a biker, and many of his tunes reflect his love for two-wheeling down the road: "Old Leathers", "Riding For the Children", and "Freedom". "Old Leathers" describes the attachment the rider feels for his riding regalia; "His leathers are worn and tattered from years of wind and rain/He could trade up from some new ones, but they'd never feel the same." And, you can't get more country than "Pawn Shop Ticket", which utilizes a greasy slide guitar along with a pedal steel to add some blues to the mix. The song describes the fate of a father's treasured guitar that has been put into hock: "This pawn shop ticket/For this week's rent...There's this guitar from 1933...This pawn shop ticket is all that's left of me". There's also a video for the song "Dew'n It in Dawsonville", which shows off the polished-up cruising cars of a North Georgia town on a weekend night.

This one makes me want to hit the open road, so I'll see you guys later...

MISH MASH Mandate: Easy Rider.

Bobby Mountain Website"

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