Alt Of A Different Style

Bruce Von Stiers

I get sent all different kinds of music to review. From jazz to rock, alt folk to club music, I receive a wide variety of material. Some of this is from emerging artists, others are from established artists with a new album out. And occasionally there is an individual or group that haven't been in the limelight for a bit, yet have seen a recent uptick in people interested in them and their music.

One particular group that kind of fits into that last category is The Long Ryders. An alt country band formed in the early 80's, they were only together for about four years. But in that time, the band recorded several albums and scored a legion of fans. After disbanding, the members went their own ways, being a part of other bands and pursuing other interests. They did, however, come together a couple of times for reunion tours and concerts.

A while back the members of the band got together in a studio and recorded enough material for a new album. The result is an album titled Psychedelic Country Soul.

The album has twelve songs and a play time of forty-nine minutes. It was produced by Ed Stasium, who has worked on albums by the Ramones and The Talking Heads among others.

The members of The Long Ryders are Stephen McCarthy, Tom Stevens, Greg Sowders and Sid Griffin. McCarthy plays acoustic and electric guitars, pedal steel, mellotron, bass and does vocals. Stevens does vocals, bass, acoustic and electric guitars and does lead guitar on a few songs. Sowders is the band's drummer and also handles the percussion. Griffin plays mandolin, harmonica and guitar, along with doing vocals.

I wasn't too sure what to expect from the music on the album. Was it going to be alt country, alt folk or something else? What I found was the some of the album had styling that was a bit no too unlike some of Tom Petty's lighter sounding songs. That comparison can definitely be heard in the album's first song, Greenville. It had a toe tapping beat with fluid vocals and a melodic chorus.

The second song, Let It Fly, changes musical direction somewhat. It has a kind of country influence with some nice steel pedal heard throughout. A special guest on this song was Kerenza Peacock on violin. She is well known in the U.K. for her Pavao Quartet. Also on the song, providing vocals, were sisters Debi and Vicki Peterson of The Bangles fame.

Molly Somebody has some great guitar and once again, has a slight Tom Petty tone to the music.

Another good song on the album is All Aboard. It has some pretty cool guitar.

Gonna Make It Real is a toe-tapper.

If You Want To Hear Me Cry is a slow and endearing alt folk styled song. This song once again features Kerenza Peacock on violin.

What The Eagle Sees is a fast paced, guitar infused alt folk piece.

Slowing things back down is a country sounding song with a lot of steel pedal by Dave Perlman called California State Line. Kerenza Peacock is on violin for the song. Perlman has played on albums by Hothouse Flowers and REO Speedwagon among others.

The Sound is a moderately paced toe-tapper.

Walls is another moderately paced tune. It features Charles Arthur on organ. Miss Julia Wild provides backing vocals on the song.

Bells Of August has great acoustic guitar and fluid, yet aching vocals.

The final song on the album is the title track. Psychedelic Country Soul. It is an interesting song with a rock base mixed with some alt folk. Somebody named Hoppy Nipkins provided piano for the song.

The Long Ryders definitely have an interesting sound. Combining rock, alt folk and country often times doesn't work. But this band carries it off well.

If you want to learn a bit more about the band and this new album, visit www.thelongryders.com

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© 2019 Bruce E Von Stiers