Nada Mucho

Roadside Graves Live in Seattle: The Life You Save May Be Your Own

Posted by July 18th, 2010 No Comments »

Roadside Graves Live in Seattle
The Life You Save May Be Your Own
Monday, August 9 @ The Sunset
By Chris McCann

There’s an element of the tent revival to the Roadside Graves. This shambling country band from Metuchen, New Jersey, inhabits a world full of the lonely and the lost, the unfulfilled and the unredeemed. Think dissolute Americana sung by an itinerant preacher. Bob Dylan and Shane MacGowan sharing a bottle. Flannery O’Connor in a lowdown saloon.

The Graves have been around for eight years now and have released a series of albums of increasing complexity and depth. Their narrative songs confront loss with wheezing accordion and keening fiddle, and battle death with barroom piano and ragged guitar. Throughout it all, lead singer John Gleason’s raspy voice — equal parts resignation, bourbon, and hope — struggles to understand the fragility of everything that keeps us alive.

There’s an element of the tent revival to the Roadside Graves. This shambling country band from Metuchen, New Jersey, inhabits a world full of the lonely and the lost, the unfulfilled and the unredeemed. Think dissolute Americana sung by an itinerant preacher. Bob Dylan and ShaneMacGowan sharing a bottle. Flannery O’Connor in a lowdown saloon.

The Graves have been around for eight years now and have released a series of albums of increasing complexity and depth. Their narrative songs confront loss with wheezing accordion and keening fiddle, and battle death with barroom piano and ragged guitar. Throughout it all, lead singer John Gleason’s raspy voice — equal parts resignation, bourbon, and hope — struggles to understand the fragility of everything that keeps us alive.

Their new EP, You Won’t Be Happy With Me, was recorded in a small house in the wilds of the Adirondacks, near Saranac Lake. It’s anambitious amalgamation of the lyrical and musical obsessions of this eclectic band. The album’s propulsive opener “Demons” begins with a“Jungleland”-worthy piano riff and picks up steam as it goes, while the sprawling “Liv Tyler” luxuriates in a slow-burning hope that can’t quite escape the whiff of despair.

There’s a sense of the epic about “Everything,” which just builds and builds until Gleason sings, “Got no devil on my shoulder/Got no angel in my ear/Everything that I have done has been the result of my own ideas.” When the song fades into strings and piano near the end, you’re left with a kind of still-pulsating silence that lingers even as the quiet, pretty “Heart” begins.

The EP ends with the weary “End of the Day,” in which Gleason groans, “I gave up and then I started over/Ain’t nothing left at the end of the day.” It’s the perfect, exhausted capstone to this impressive collection of songs.

The Roadside Graves play as though they were trying to save their own lives. And you get the feeling that if you listen hard enough to these songs that document the beauty in all the broken places — and the brokenness of the beautiful — some of that redemption might just rub off on you.

So come to the Sunset on Monday evening, August 9 for some old-fashioned hurting and exaltation, with maybe even a taste of salvation — or at the very least a glass or two of consoling bourbon.

MP3s 

 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2017 Nada Mucho