(Available on Bandcamp)
Haden York, Houston Lane, Davvy Glab and Lyle Cammon, collectively known as Shabti, have a new EP available. Called Gamble, it was recorded live, and it’s five sexy little tunes that sum up the self-described “progressive jam band” nicely.
Rolling in at 4:33, the opening track, “The Gamble,” is a bluesy affair, low and laid-back, almost hypnotic. Glab’s vocals are clear and strong, something akin to Chris Robinson (Black Crowes) minus the whine. Vocals aren’t always given their due in a jam band, often seeming like an afterthought to the instrumentation, but Glab has a voice and he uses it to great effect on this tune.
Track two is a cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder They Come.” Here again, there is a bluesy element in this tune not found in the original, which, to my ear, makes it less a cover and more of “reinterpretation.” In listening to both versions of the song (Cliff’s original and Shabti’s cover) I can’t say that one is superior to the other; they are each their own beast and both are excellent.
“Long Legged Feline” is the third track on the disc, the shortest (3:07) and my personal favorite. It’s hard not to hear Jimi Hendrix (there are some riffs reminiscent of Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower”) in this tune, but if I was going to offer up a “sounds like” opinion, the song has Dire Straits written all over it. Even the guitar tone is pure Mark Knopfler and it is brilliant.
“Clap Hands” is the fourth track. It is a cover of Tom Waits and on that basis alone is worthy of respect. Waits is not an easy guy to cover, and Shabti manages to stay true to the original while making it their own. One can imagine easily enough that Waits would be pleased with their version.
The disc rounds out with track five, “Another Road,” and at 9:20 it is the longest, jammiest tune of the bunch. Almost psychedelic, it is the perfect “put on the headphones and melt in to the chair for a while” kind of song that would not be out of place on the classic Floyd album, Atom Heart Mother.
Pick up your copy today at Shabti’s bandcamp page—and keep in mind that as marvelous as the recordings are, the live show must be face-melting.
(Available through artist)
Webb Barringer is a name you may not know—yet. The singer/songwriter has been paying his dues, playing around town, penning some great tunes and opening for folks like Jordan Halquist. He’s ready to make a name for himself now, and with the release of his currently untitled debut EP, Barringer is set to do just that.
A word on Barringer’s voice, before we dive into the CD: At first listen, my impression was, “What a great country singer he would make,” but upon further reflection it becomes clear that he has a universal voice that would be just as suited to country, pop, folk or even ballad rock. That’s a rare quality, and it serves him well.
“Bible Verse Tattoo” is the first track. Its bright and brilliant harmonica intro settles down into a gentle, almost hushed guitar part as Barringer languidly takes an existential look at a young woman making her way through some early hurdles, picking up some dirt and bruises along the way, but ultimately headed towards the life she wants. It’s a sweet little tune that takes an unashamed look at reality and adds a strong measure of hopefulness.
“Party Hardy” is another look at the human condition, this time in the guise of a divorced man who, having faced some serious obstacles in life, manages to keep moving forward, looking to the future in order to keep the past firmly where it belongs.
“Getting to Know Me” takes a first-person perspective on the genuine irony we all face, noting that “confusion is a trait of the free.” The tune is basically a reassuring pat on the back that we, as individuals, are all occasionally muddling through and following our noses. We feel like we should have it all nailed down when very few people really do.
“Frank the Quota” is a darker tune, essentially a murder ballad about a local man with a shotgun, some boys on an ATV and national headlines about “what happened in Chattanooga.” Haunting stuff, and if the rest of the compilation weren’t already fantastic, this tune alone would make it worth owning.
Two more tunes remain, “Suburban Love Song” and “Start to a Spark,” and at some future date we’ll take a closer look at those tunes as well but for now know this: Barringer’s lyrical skills are masterful and his songs frequently delve into the realm of the broken and damaged people of the world (aren’t we all, to some degree?) yet there remains an element of hope. The broken and damaged people of the world can heal, given time and inclination. That’s just how life is, and at the end of the day, it’s a pretty fine message.
Keep an eye out for this young man. His name is going to be well known soon enough. For now, the only way to get this CD is to ask him, but he’s happy to oblige.