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/

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Album Review: Indigneous' Long Way Home

blues views By Rick Galusha

I have been working in retail music since 1978. I was a Classical & Jazz deejay at KVNO while in college and have hosted KIWR's PS Blues for more than 13 years [Sundays from 9 am - Noon at 89.7 fm]. I don't know it all but I think I have a pretty rounded - reality based - hype free opinion. You may agree or you may read this column figuring if I liked it you're going to stay away . . . hey, whatever you want.

Indigenous - Long Way Home
Monday, February 21, 2005

Artist: Indigenous
Title: Long Way Home
Rating: Good (and then some)

One hundred and twenty-six years ago, Chief Standing Bear stood in the then Indian Territories of Oklahoma, on the eve of his historic trek that would bring freedom to all indigenous people of North America, and probably thought that his 500 mile walk in January was a long way home to his native lands near what is now Valentine, Nebraska. Standing Bear’s return home to bury his son would result in a trial in which the decision would end the Indian Reservation system. Although largely forgotten Standing Bear stands as one of the great civil rights leaders of our nation’s history.

This new seven-song album by the band Indigenous shows them trying to reignite their career. Although all the tracks were recorded recently some of the songs were written early while some are new. The opening track, Well You Know, harkens back to the bands last album: the self-titled release on Silvertone Records. Whether due to the absent efforts of the band’s label, the over-powering influences of the Davey Brothers, the departure of their long time manager or numerous family issues, the band’s desire to reach a younger audience with a more modern sound failed to garner significant sales and their career cooled off to room temperature. This song belonged on that album.

The next track, Rest of My Days, first appeared on the band’s ‘Circle’ album. This version of the exceptionally well-written track includes crisp airy acoustic guitar “weaves” that add depth and texture. Were it not for the “play-for-pay” policies adopted by major & regional radio conglomerates this song would be blaring out of every car radio in America by mid-July. Let me say that a different way, were radio station “Music Directors” actually empowered to pick the music they played, and were their consultants not accepting payola for choosing songs by faceless bands that sound like other faceless bands which happen to be quite good at selling useless disposable products to amorphous demographics that remain uncommitted to most things, this song would be a massive hit. It is a “great” song by any standard in the rock idiom.

Awake, the 3rd track on the album has appeared a few times through out the band’s career including their first self produced album, ‘Awake’, and their ‘Live- Blues from the Sky’ album. Awake was written by the sister-drummer Wanbdi: who’s beau Jesse Davey, of the recently signed Interscope Records act, The Davey Brothers, appeared on, produced, co-wrote a track and shot the photographs for this CD-EP (which Mato assures me HE did NOT wear mascara for!). As an aside I would add that Wanbdi has a voracious appetite for literature. Once again this is a very strong track for the band, which fans will enjoy.

The fifth track on the album, Six Feet Down, shows a glimpse of what this band is capable of. Co-written with Jesse Davey, this track has a thick blues base that thematically barks of a modern blues-rock standard. The electric guitar solo is a pure Hendrix; languid, well paced, and tasty. Since the departure of Horse, the band has been ripe for a fourth member. Could it be Jesse Davey? If so, where would that leave the Davey Brothers? Clearly Wanbdi and Jesse are a couple and there appears to be a strong musical repartee between Mato and Davey. The forthcoming release by the Davey Brothers will read volumes into where this young Englishman’s heart, and fingers, is. Is it possible to be in two bands on the cusp of breaking big?

The sixth track, Don’t Let Me Go, co-written by Pte (bass) and Mato (a/k/a Standing Bear) is a manifestation of the band’s split personality. Anchored in Santana & Hendrix, Indigenous’ evolution in sound tend to follow the modern fad of being heavier and murkier with less distinct melody lines or what I would call “aching pastels of showering powerchords” which I find uninspiring.

Last but not least is a live track of what could be considered one of Mato’s two songwriting high points. Things We Do, is a song that ebbs and grows with the band. Things We Do was the name of their first Pachyderm album as well as their contribution track to the 'Honor the Earth' benefit album. At the very least this song is an all too brief look into what Indigenous is capable of. Put ten songs of this caliber together on one album and you have the makings of a significance musical statement. However, Mato is over-taxed and incapable under current circumstances. Mato is the van driver, the lead guitar player, the singer, the songwriter, the liaison with management, and the mouthpiece with media & radio. He’s also the ‘father figure’ within the band as well as a genuine father to his own three children. On all levels this band’s very existence rests more and more on his shoulders. For this band to transcend it’s creative trap Pte and Wanbdi need to step up and assume some of the responsibilities. A true partnerships need to develop between these siblings or they will never be given the mental and emotional break necessary for this band to create an album of music that we can see lies withinTwo of rock’s most significant albums, ‘Revolver’ and ‘Rubber Soul’ by the Beatles were both under 28 minutes long. ‘Long Way Home’ clocks in at 35 minutes. It’s is the perfect length with the perfect price point - under ten dollars. Technology allows today’s bands to record up to 74-minute albums onto one compact disc or a double vinyl album. No wonder fans are disillusioned. I can count on one hand the number of double vinyl albums that were able to maintain an artistic vision of that length. (When Tupac Shakur released a double CD of rap music, the equalivent of four vinyl albums, I had to laugh at the cynical joke being played on innocent music listeners.)

Although the band considers this a stop gap recording while it shops for a new label, I hope their point of reference changes to considering this to be a new marketing technique; two 5 - 7 track EPs a year that are musical diverse and mark the growth of the band’s sound during this transitional period. Two albums a year would keep the product pipeline full and fans engaged. It would also force the creative juices to flow year-round. Indigenous continues to be an act whose goal should be the national stage - selling out 2,500 seat auditoriums across the nation. Refining efforts like ‘Long Way Home’ and a hard, focused, work schedule for the next 36 months should get them back where they belong.

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