Jakesway were an original music project from Mehoopany, PA that self-released three albums with music that mixed rock, country and pop. The project was spearheaded by Gary Kashack, a veteran of several Scranton area cover bands until he and a handful of friends and collaborators started to go into SI Studios in Scranton with a goal to record and release the originals that Gary had been stockpiling over the past few years. Jakesway’s Reverbnation page gives as the project’s main influences Matchbox 20, Social Distortion, The Smithereens, and the GooGoo Dolls. With four such disparate influences, it’s not surprising that jakesway’s three albums all had cuts played not only on rock radio in Northeastern Pennsylvania but on pop and country stations as well. The project was put on hiatus a few years ago, and after recharging, Gary has adopted the stage name Gary Carl and recently released a solo country CD, Off The Grid, which may turn up on a future episode someday soon. For now, let’s highlight three tracks from their second album, the appropriately titled It May Get Loud – and this was definitely one release where we had trouble deciding on which three tracks to select because they were all too damn good.
Tracks: Unassuming Angels, You And Me, So Simple So True
Soul Exchange are a five-piece rock band from Stockholm, Sweden – a country more famous musically for giving us ABBA, a slew of notorious Black Metal bands like Dark Funeral, Marduk, and Dissection, and most recently the ever-popular and mysterious Ghost. Soul Exchange do list their fellow countrymen Ghost as both a favorite band and an influence, but outside of sharing a predilection for mixing pop songwriting with rock influence and some dark thematics, they don’t have much in common with Papa Emeritus and his Nameless Ghouls. The band – vocalist Daniel John, guitarists and brothers Hans and Thomas von Bell, drummer Benny White, bassist Patrik “Patte” Ekelöf, and lyricist Jens Joel Evaldsson – likes to describe themselves as “The sound of a new world being born, and the louder sound of an old world being destroyed.” Their second album, Bloodbound, caught the attention of North Carolina-based independent label Mervilton Records, which has released the album worldwide, and it’s most certainly caught our attention here on the show.
Tracks: Left Behind, Torn To Pieces, Hangin’ On
Iron Cowboy do most of their shows in the Northeastern Pennsylvania area as a cover band doing a lot of country and Southern rock covers, but they also have made the effort to record a few CDs of original music. One DJ that heard one of their CDs described them as “a cleverly disguised rock band with a steel guitar” – which to most fans of traditional or outlaw country would come off as a remark not much different from Tom Petty’s famous dismissal of bro-country as “hair metal with cowboy hats”. Iron Cowboy, however, have taken that DJ’s description and accepted it as 100% accurate. Since the release of the album from which we are highlighting cuts tonight, 2011’s Tattoo Of You, the band has expanded their sound a little with the addition of a second vocalist in Cathy Paty, who has graced their most recent releases, including a one-off cover of The Eagles’ “Seven Bridges Road”. The tracks we are highlighting this week from Tattoo Of You don’t have Ms. Paty or the pedal steel, but the idea of a rock band disguised as country still seems to fit – or could they be a country band disguised as rock? You decide as we listen to the following songs from Tattoo Of You: “I’m Thinking ‘Cause I’m Drinkin’”, “Please Believe Me”, and “Dead Man Walkin’”.
Durango Dogs are a hard rock band from San Francisco, California with an interesting history as to how their debut release, Raw Doggin’ Love, came to be. Band leader, singer, guitarist, and songwriter Eric Durango had taken his then-lineup of the group into the studio in April of 2014 with only three hours of time to cut as many songs as possible, only getting five tracks finished. Eric spent much of that summer adding overdubs to the existing songs, and then mixing and mastering them, only to declare the results nothing more than an expensively produced demo. He went back into the studio a year later with local legend Ed Jones, and together the two recorded ten songs, including new takes on the songs from the original demo, with both gentlemen taking on multiple instrumental duties. After the songs were recorded and mixed, the perfectionist part of Eric Durango’s personality decided that all of the guitar parts needed to be rerecorded from top to bottom – which they did… twice. Surprisingly, the finished album sounds more like a full band slogging it out in the studio in a couple of takes apiece, yet still sounds like a lot of time and energy went into it. Go figure! Representing the Raw Doggin’ Love album are the tracks “Devil Dog”, “Leviathan”, and “Yoga Pants Woman”.
CORNERS OF SANCTUARY
The band for this week’s episode of Up Front And On Fire left me in a bit of a conundrum. I was presented with five of their releases to go through for this week’s episode of the show. Unfortunately, two of them were not properly tagged, so they couldn’t be reviewed. Bands, please double-check your ID3 tags in your mp3 files before you send them to radio stations, podcasts, and blogs, and submit your track listings to Gracenote as well if you’re sending CD copies to stations – it only takes five minutes to do this in iTunes. (ten if you’re careful with your typing!)
Continue reading Up Close and On Fire – Corners of Sanctuary – CD Review