Gasoline Stove opens for Memphis the Band Saturday, July 17, at the Blue Bayou Club. Show time is 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10–$12, and the cover includes the CD.
You’ve heard this tidy sentiment: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” If you take your cues from the two key cuts on Vultures on the Mainframe, the sneakily superb debut from Memphis the Band offshoot Gasoline Stove, life is what happens when you’re hung-over and searching. “The County Fair” and “Sunny Day Suicide” tumble out like confessions, with no detail too sordid. The former is stark, its mood in line with the “sad country song” reference at its center. The latter is a jauntier affair, its accordion and Methodist piano finger-wagging you into its holler-along chorus. Ignore the core metaphor at your own peril: “Grass grows deep if you don’t mow it.”
Elsewhere on this 17-song roots-music survey, you’ll find admirable Dylan and Waits homages, a vigorously strummed murder ballad, and a number where guitarist/ songwriter/ Leatherman-voiced Scott Morgan and wife Shannon sound like they’re channeling Rickie Lee Jones circa ’79good things all. Make plans to spend time with this one.