Drunkard's Prayer, OTR's latest for the Virgin/Backporch imprint, came out of the turmoil the band experienced while touring behind their last release, the double-disc Ohio. Singer Karin Bergquist and multi-instrumentalist Linford Detweiler (the married cornerstone of the long-running "band") realized that the energy expended trying to make OTR fly was taking a toll on their relationship. The duo cancelled the tour and repaired their union, wrote a batch of songs that corralled all the emotions dug out during the process and then recorded the album in their living room to add to the incredibly intimate nature of the work. The results are often chill-inducing and remarkably tender. The songs are warm and sparse, but impossibly effective, concentrating the group's trademark airiness into a goose-bumpy whisper of soul-searching love songs that retain the elegance and splendor of the band's finest recordings.
The album contains some of the best songs OTR has ever written, including the unforgettably melodic "Born" (a good contender for OTR's first real "hit") and the title track, a slow-burning, tear-jerking ballad that would turn even the most stone-hearted curmudgeon to butter. A CityBeat cover story about OTR when Ohio came out contained the headline, "Double Fantasy," but it's Drunkard's Prayer that bears closer relation to that legendary John Lennon/Yoko Ono collaboration, which had similar origins.
A close-to-the-heart, poetic rumination and celebration of compassion, affection and devotion, Drunkard's Prayer is a delicate and soulful valentine that the world is lucky to have a peek at. It's an extraordinary piece of work that should move anyone who has ever been through the downside of a love affair and emerged on the other side unscathed and stronger. (overtherhine.com)
Indie Pop locals The Minor Leagues will celebrate the release of their latest disc, Mail Order Brides, with a show Saturday at alchemize. Culture Queer and Diet Audio open.
Mail Order Brides collects the 14 singles that the band sent out (for free to their mailing list members) last year for their "Singles of the Month Club," which brought two lovely, diverse TML tunes to a lucky member's mailbox at the end of each month. Head Minor Leaguer/songwriter Ben Wapole shares Ray Davies' poetic grasp of the mundane and extraordinary. He dips his pen into the same well of class-division lyrical poison as Davies in such songs as "Mind Your Manors" and "Keeping Up With The Joneses" (both dyspeptic looks at the "privileged"). Walpole is a gifted songwriter in his own right — literate, clever and possessing a knack for unique melodies. He's more than ably joined in the slightly lysergic, neo-'60s Pop swirl by guitarist Patrick Helmes (Dave Davies to Walpole's Ray, without the arch combativeness), Jesse Rogers (bass), John Kathman (drums) and Sophia Kostoff (keys/violin), who handles vocal duties on her own delightfully delirious "To Distraction." Mail Order Brides is a great soundtrack for lazing on a sunny afternoon, in the summertime or anytime. For more on the band, check out minorleaguesmusic.com. (Dale Johnson)
Hellos and Goodbyes
After an impressive 18-year existence, the area's longest running "Jam band," Spookfloaters have decided to call it quits. The band — who mixed Jazz, Funk, Rock and improv — toured extensively, sharing stages with big-timers like Leftover Salmon and Aquarium Rescue Unit, and remained local favorites since their days as the kings of the Kilgore's and Ripley's scenes. The group will play their "last waltz" on Friday at Stanley's Pub.
Last year, the city lost another big Jam act when Four Ohms called it a day. But there are now two bands consisting of the group's former members to keep "Ohmies" satiated. On Friday, the two outfits will perform together for the first time. The Ohms headline the Mad Frog show, while the newer Cats Walking Backwards opens the gig.
The Catalog Cowboys make their official debut this Sunday with a 3 p.m. show at the Rabbit Hash General Store in Rabbit Hash, Ky. The group features local Roots music hero David Rhodes Brown (Stardevils), Brian Ewing (Messerly and Ewing) and Scott Risner (formerly of the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars), plus Doug Wagner and John Schmidt, the original rhythm section of Brown's celebrated Warsaw Falcons. Ewing says the group is an outlet for songs that don't fit in with their regular projects and describes it as a meshing of Rock, Folk, Roots, Bluegrass, Alternative and other styles.