Seattle natives, Town Hall Brawl boasts some well-seasoned big hitters in the music industry. It's a delight to hear such fine musicians owning their style and really working together for the better of the song. It hits the palate like authentic country and folk rock fit for the lounge, but also the honky-tonk. There are some great choices of sound out of the guitar and organ, the keys always sit perfectly in the mix and the drums are just as washy and dry as necessary. The vocals are a rich alto that blends into each song's mid range with precision. I hear some Susan Tedeschi and even a little early Wilco sprinkled in, but the album never loses its robust 70’s blues and soul narrative.
"Ragweed" is a pleasing wave of bright rock featuring excellent piano comping and male/female harmonies. "I gotta get my shit together" sounds like an eloquent turn of phrase the way lead vocalist Diane Forsyth announces it on the chorus. The guitar bends and weeps a solid solo just before a closing refrain and atypical tom heavy cadence. I knew just what I wanted to hear out of "Daytrip To Havana" and it delivered. Havana brings to mind a certain style, one of Latin or Afro Cuban roots that jives just a little more sexy and danceable. It's a strong instrumental with appropriate breaks and quality execution with both dynamics and emotion. At times, I felt as if I was hearing an island version of "Baker's Street" infused with "Black Magic Woman.” It’s a very cool track.
Along the lines of its predecessor, "Work" has an attractive Latin sound. It doesn't hit you over the head with it either, subtle rim work and block hits are all it really takes. The lyrics are phrased to glide while the chorus breaks it down and gives an irresistible sense of half time. This song engages a rhythmic urge, but I wonder if it just falls short of dance floor material. Town Hall Brawl hits their stride when they lilt the material with just a touch of jazz and especially 6/8 time movement. There are some great examples of that on this record, both medium tempo and slow - I'm talking home run slow. Case in point, "Excuses.” The head can't help but sway and bob along as this track churns out some sweet butter.
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