Pin It
Favorite

Mark LeGrand & The Lovesick Bandits, Cold New England Town 

(Self-released, CD)

Central Vermont trio Mark LeGrand & the Lovesick Bandits have been the Friday night house band at Montpelier's Langdon Street Café for some time. By all accounts, they're local favorites; listening to Cold New England Town, it's easy to see why.

Leader LeGrand has been playing music in the Green Mountains since the late '60s. Armed with his trusty acoustic guitar and affable voice, he channels the ghosts of country music's past. Backing him are bassist Noah Hahn and lead guitarist/harmony man Dan Haley. The three create a vintage sound that calls to mind ghost towns and half-empty bottles of sour mash.

While many Western-styled acts trade in up-tempo foot-stompers, the Lovesick Bandits favor moodier material. There's a Southern Gothic vibe throughout the disc, with reverbed electric guitar and minor-key melodies trailing like smoke from an abandoned campfire. This kind of twang wouldn't sound out of place in a David Lynch flick.

Opener "Hillbilly Hollywood" sets the tone with ghostly, single-note pickin' and a shady bass line. LeGrand sings of dashed dreams as silvery volume swells color the song's periphery.

"Shooting Star" is a compelling slice of cowboy noir. "I seen comets in the night / But this one boy, she's a meteorite," LeGrand sings of a self-destructive beauty. "In a hillbilly town on a Saturday night / She looks a little softer in the neon light / No one here's gonna bring her no harm / She numbs 'em out through a hole in her arm," he continues. Doubtful the gal makes her home in Montpelier.

The mood shifts with "Lonesome Daddy Blues," which chronicles a father's sad disbelief at his daughter's tawdry behavior. Its breezy musicality nicely contrasts with the record's darker-sounding cuts.

What would a country recording be without a quick dash across the border? No, I'm not talking about Québec. "Mexico" features all the hallmarks of a classic Southwestern ballad, from its tumbleweed bass line to the sun-baked guitar solos.

The disc wraps up with "Let's Go Downtown Tonight." On it, LeGrand drawls like a brokenhearted Romeo for whom booze provides no remedy. "Trying to satisfy all our desires is like drying our clothes in the rain," he balefully sings. Haley's slide guitar solo makes a great companion to LeGrand's weary yodel.

Cold New England Town is a charming record through and through. The band celebrates its release at the Langdon Street Café on Friday, September 8. Expect special guest appearances by Anaïs Mitchell and Burlington twang-meister Brett Hughes. Should be a real hootenanny.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Tags: , ,

Pin It
Favorite

More by Casey Rea

About The Author

Casey Rea

Casey Rea

Bio:
Casey Rea was the Seven Days music editor from 2004 until 2007. He won the 2005 John D. Donoghue award for arts criticism from the Vermont Press Association.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Latest in Albums

Social Club

Like Seven Days contests and events? Join the club!

See an example of this newsletter...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
e-newsletters:

All content © 2014 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So Champlain St Ste 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation