Friday, June 19, 2009
Artist: Kris Lager Band
Title: The Mighty Quinn
Writer: Rick Galusha
Along with Des Moines’ Matt Woods, Nebraska’s Kris Lager has laid the groundwork to become the High Plains’ next blues act of note. Earning their road apprenticeship as the band for Mato Nanji’s Indigneous, The Kris Lager Band has release their fourth album, ‘The Mighty Quinn.’ Like many bands that are allowed to develop at the less than frantic pace of today’s internet driven music industry, Lager’s second and third CD’s displayed progressive improvement and strong lyrical melody lines that are indicative of the early bluesrock progenitors such as The Allman Brothers, Bonney & Delaney and Leon Russell. As the critically applauded band, ‘The Screaming Cheetah Wheelies’ learned however, this is a narrowing genre today and although the Derek Trucks Band is doing well with their World Music come blues feel, few others within this field seem to rise above a regional cult status.
‘The Might Quinn’ is a powerful record where the nuisance of the inter-play between Lager’s slide guitar and Miah Weir’s keyboards can, at times, over-shadow the songs but, after numerous playings, Lager’s true-to-self style slowly transcends and the true power behind the album emerges. This is not your passive listening, blues friendly, compact disc. Instead the listener is required to invest in the audio experience as the band moves through complicated but enjoyable passages.
On the track, “Mean Old World” Lager’s emotive vocals lines broach new areas for the band as they pioneer in a more tentative yet heart-felt layer brushed up against an aggressive slide guitar line. On ‘Hold On’ the band melds an island rhythm over rich blues textures akin to the sounds of “461 Ocean Boulevard.” While not an easy album to digest in initial airings, ‘The Might Quinn’ shows the Kris Lager Band growing by writing songs that are well outside of the narrow confines of the blues industry today. This is a serious album that is filled with songs that separates the partisans from the artisans and like anything work having – the climb is worth the view.
“Mama always told me not to look into the eye's of the sun, but mama, that's where the fun is.”