Saturday, December 5, 2009

In Concert: Rise Against, Birds or Monsters, John Howie Jr. & The Rosewood Bluff (12/05/2009)

Posted By on Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 8:29 AM

John Howie Jr. & The Rosewood Bluff John Howie's basso profundo deep country baritone is such that he could sing the Harrisburg phone book, and I'd buy a cot-dang ticket. What's more, he'd give some life to all those names, too, as he did for years in the great Two Dollar Pistols and as he does now with The Rosewood Bluff, an act a little less country and a lot more rock 'n' roll than his former band. Expect pedal steel, iron-fisted conviction, aluminum beer cans-a-plenty and Burritos-esque cosmic country delivered with a heart of gold. Puckett's Farm Equipment (Timothy C. Davis)

Birds or Monsters There's something timeless and elementary-sounding about the solo project of the Carolina Chocolate Drops' Justin Robinson, even though it adds modern sonic accents like hip-hop and indie pop to the banjos and autoharps. There's a sketch-like quality to the Gastonia native's songs, as though Robinson hasn't decided quite what Birds or Monsters is yet. But that aspect suits the music, since most of what he's throwing at the wall here not only sticks, but winds up blending into interesting mélanges. Maybe the key query is whether working with producer Joe Henry (Solomon Burke, Betty LaVette) on the last CCD record will have any effect on BoM, whose self-titled debut EP celebrates its homespun origins in aggressively lo-fi recordings. It'll be worth staying tuned for in any case. With Greg Humphreys (ex-Hobex) at the early show. The Evening Muse (John Schacht)

Rise Against Get beyond lyricist, vocalist and guitarist Tim McIlrath's extra dry vocals and you've got a heady mix of agit-punk and hard-core that evoke early Bad Religion. The Chicago band's dedication to animal rights rears its activist head in lyrics and is plastered all over its Web site. Although breakneck punkcore is the modus operandi here, the band's not afraid to pick up an acoustic guitar and plow into emotive crooning, case in point the excellent "Hero of War." With Sent by Ravens and Advent. The Fillmore Charlotte (Samir Shukla)

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