Colds love me. Manflu adores me. It was only a month ago that I had to don my night-cap and gown and retire to the four-poster with nothing but pints of Lemsip and my harem for company. Yesterday, Disease kindly donated a spare plague to me, and so I found myself yearning for something warm and comforting, like hot chocolate or a good rock album. Or my harem. Fortunately, Casey Meehan aka Jitney administered eleven doses of medicine via my (ultra-cool) mp3 player's headphones and made me feel less nauseous.
Before I bang on about this album (entitled 86-300 - the only duff note about the whole enterprise), please listen to the very short opening track, Fin, and tell me if it doesn't immediately give you that warm and toasty feeling that is exclusive to utterly reliable down-tempo folk-rock.
Thought so. The grizzled rockers out there are already reaching for their bottle-openers and rocking chairs. Heh. Written, arranged and performed by Casey Meehan with occasional help from various musician friends, 86-300 is shot through with rock influences: in his more soulful moments, Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy) would have loved to sing the chorus of Butterfly Knife; Tricky Be reminds me of the Fab Four and anyone from ELO to Supertramp; and Long Time Coming's opening comes straight out of The Doors before settling in to a Ray Davies/Kinks frame of mind. (Please note that I'm a blob of mucus at the moment, so I may be talking complete tosh. I'll probably come to in a few days and find that I've been listening to a harpsichord concerto.)
Love Draws Blood will draw listeners like a solid rock song should. Listen to Twilight a few times and you'll soon be irritating insomniacs everywhere by reminding them not to mistake the twilight for the dawn. (You can't beat homespun folk-rock wisdom.) Unfortunately, I can't get on with Get Lost Kid - the beat is so laid-back that it doesn't sound in the pocket. Laser Battle is one minute of synth/guitar-laden When The Levee Breaks-type drumming. Nice.
Casey's vocals (helped by a sensitive mix and mastering) are warm and rich - he keeps to a comfortable range and thus sounds more powerful than some tonsil rattlers I could mention. He's also fond of stapling electronica-ish fade-outs to some of the tracks, just to keep listeners on their toes. The album ends with Walk (dreamy guitar/flutes/winsome vocal) and Coda, which features just Casey and his acoustic guitar before eventually bursting into a feel-good rock song. Yay.
You want more? Ok, see if you can spot the ghost of Phil Lynott in the chorus of:
Casey Meehan & Co. recorded 86-300 for Rock Proper netlabel from Chicago/Illinois. I'd like to thank them for supplying a bowl of chicken soup for the ailing folk-rock fan. Jitney cheered me - I hope they do the same for you. Of course, you could always flirt with Rock Proper's "Donate" tab and thank them all properly...
Jitney - 86-300 (link to zipped album & individual files)