Rick Galusha's Pacific St. Blues and Americana

Since inception (1989), Pacific St. Blues & Americana strives to be a discerning voice helping roots fans sift through the mountains of music released every year. We are not for everyone; we want to engage active, critical listeners that hear beyond d'jour. Interviews include: Johnny Winter, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Jerry Wexler, Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton, B.B. King, Dr. John, Robin Trower, Robben Ford, Mato Nanji, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Manx, Sue Foley, Marshall Chess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Louvin, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Eric Johnson, David Clayton Thomas, Al Kooper, Phil Chen (Wired, Blow By Blow), Ian McLagan, Art Neville, Southside Johnny, Miami Steve Van Zant, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Iglauer, Charlie Musselwhite, Studebaker John, Chris Duarte, Smokin' Joe Kubeck, Hamilton Loomis, Peter Karp, Roomful of Blues, James Harman, Hadden Sayers, Malford Milligan, Melvin Taylor, Otis Taylor, Dave Alvin, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Marsha Ball, Maria Muldaur, Shelby Lynne, Magic Dick & J. Geils, Lil' Milton, BuddyGuy, Aynsley Lister, Matt Schofield, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, James Cotton, Robin & Jesse Davey, Hugh Coltman (Hoax), Sean Kelly (Samples), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Walter Wolfman Washington, Anthony Gomes, Bob Malone, Chubby Carrier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Murali Coryell, David Jacob Strain, DeAnna Bogart, Michael Lee Firkins, Guy Davis, Jason Ricci, John Doe, Little Feat, Matt Woods, MikeZito, Peter Buffett, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Corky Siegel, Todd Park Mohr, Watermelon Slim, Magic Slim, Corey Harris,- - - - - - ------------------------Radio archives: http://www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com/. Playlists: http://www.omahablues.com/ Reviews featured in http://www.blueswax.com/. Email: KIWRblues@gmail.com Live online; Sundays 9 a.m. (-6 GMT) http://www.897theriver.com/

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Kris Lager can cut the mustard

Kris Lager Band

First albums are kinda like photos from your High School prom. At the time it seems like the thing to do but years later you remember the fool you made of yourself. Because of the all might dollar and the corruption between radio and record labels, today's artist's are forced to have hits with their first album. Were that the case 30 years ago, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, REM, Rush, U2, and Metallica would have all washed out like used bath water. Clearly radio is a 'johnny come lately' and the labels have resorted to throwing crap against the wall to see what sticks. Gone are the days when artist were encouraged to grow and develop. Today it is hit or shit - nothing in between. Fortunately, Lincoln wunderkid Kris Lager is cutting his teeth on his own dime.

Over the past five years we've seen a near complete collapse of the blues-rock genre. Gone are the Jonny Lang's & Kenny Wayne Shepherd's. Even Indigenous is using their newest album as a vehicle to move from a blues audience (about 3% of sales) to the rock audience (43% of sales). On his first and self titled release Lager and band go through the motions of being a big name blues act. Why? Being polite, there may be five guys in the world that can play an entertaining 12 bar blues structure and none of them live within 400 miles of Omaha. Say whatever you want but with today's fickle music consumer, the music no longer does the talking. It's all about image & lifestyle and the Kris Lager Band has no image. Damn shame too. His new album has all the signs of being the foundation for a big name career.

Music? Oh, you want to hear about music? Sure you do. The music moves from strong to nearly great. Lager's album lacks any "hits" or "radio friendly tunes" but overall his tracks show very strong song-writing that should mature. Kris needs to lock himself in the kitchen and not come out until he's written a great song: a great song! I like it when a guitar player can step up and wail on - it's what I like - and Lager can play the guitar. Jeremiah Weir's keyboards give the listener a break and adds tasty morsel's of sound. On this album I do not like the recorded drum sound. I'm not engineer but they sound lifeless and flat to me. Bass player Matt 'prettyboy' Evans tucks in and helps drummer Kyle Armes set-up a base for Lager and Weir. On the seventh cut, Black Rose, the band stretches out and shows what it capable of - which is pure magic ala' Allman Brothers 1970. Can Lager 'cut it' as a front man and singer? The next two years will determine whether its to be the bar circuit or the theatre circuit. This 'horse' is a wild card but with some focus & sweat, a good haircut and some image development, Kris Lager could easily zoom out of these high plains and be more than just a footnote in local music history.
We've seen what Indigenous have been able to accomplish with Omaha as a loyal base... lighting could strike twice but it's going to take a die-hard serious commitment to KNOWING how the business turns. This is a very good album. Lager is young enough to have a serious go at having a career playing music. I hope he aspires to be more.

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