September 23, 2005

Some CD Reviews

Full Service
Irie Love
Just when I thought I’d be able to figure out Full Service, they go and do something like this. On the heels of their hard rock/Reggae debut album from 2004, they have come up with a fifteen song hour-long acoustic recording.

I can’t figure them out. But, maybe that’s the thing. They are not supposed to be figured out, they are just to be enjoyed. And enjoy I did.

My favorite track, maybe because it mentions peanut butter and jelly, is “Pizza Song.” It has a really nice slow reggaeesque groove. “I take Arwen on down with me, she’s hunting lizards on the tree, yeah, yeah, yeah/I make myself peanut butter jelly / tastes as good as when I was three and eating the same thing.”

The traveling tune entitled “Ghosts of Gettysburg” is another strong tune on this disc. They go off on a Doors trip tune in “Bad News.” They showcase their harmonies on “Love is Requited.”

This is a really, really good disc. It really proved to me that these guys have some real talent musically and lyrically. They don’t need the crushing jam to being them through a gig…

Of course, it is damn nice when they do plug in and do a little yelling, but don’t expect that from Irie Love. This is one Full Service album that showcases the laid-back side band. So, if you are looking for laid back, pick this one up, if you want to do some straight-up rocking, pick up their 2004 release 3 Will Ride Forth.

Either way, you should see the band for yourself on September 23, 2005 at the Dirty Dog Bar (505 E. Sixth) in Austin. I don’t know weather they will play a full-out rock show or a funky acoustic one. I don’t think they even know.

Matt White Band
Burn Out Bright
Risky Lizard Records
The debut album for this Austin-based band, Suddenly Bright Out is a very pleasant introduced to the smooth singing of Matt White.

The band’s namesake is a Houston native and former lead singer of an alternative rock band by the name of Bent. There’s not much of an alternative rock sound to the Matt White band though. This is full-out singer-songwriter gold in the vein of Edwin McCain and John Mayer. The later more than the former.

In fact, there were a few tracks that I wasn’t quite sure I wasn’t listening to a Mayer song. I mean that in the best way possible, as Suddenly Bright Out is an enjoyable forty-minute journey.

The track that stands out most to me is a little love song ditty by the name of “Makes Me Happy.” It’s showcases the fact that the band is ready for radio. Other pleasant tracks include “Friend I Need,” “Love Dies,” and the funky jam “Strange Love.”

A great track on the album is “Five Letter Word,” Probably the nicest sounding tell-off song I’ve heard in a long time. “I don’t regret one damn word I called you / You might think I do / There’s a five letter word I’d like to call you.”

The Matt White Band is made up of White on vocals and guitar, Joe Fladger on bass and keys, Shane Vannerson on drums and piano, and special guest Mark Addison on guitar and keyboard.

Chadd Thomas and the Crazy Kings
Hush Hush With…
Hi-Fi Rhythm Records

This is an album that I’ve been listening to since seeing the band playing on the street during SXSW. When I saw Chadd Thomas and Dylan Cavalier jamming some Elvis-inspired jams with the signature slicked-back hair, it stopped me in my tracks and got my toes tapping.

Chadd Thomas and the Crazy Kings is a four piece, Austin-based rockabilly band has a firm grasp on the genre. Thomas’ vocals are equal parts Brian Setzer and Elvis with a little Dwight Yoakum thrown in for good measure.

The album heads off in full Swing with the title track-inspired “Hush Hush” and it proceeds to provide some forty-two minutes of ear candy.

“Longtime Baby” is a sweet rocking jam that features the sweet drumming of Charlie Gnerre. “Loves For Fools” takes a musical page from Hank Williams himself (or maybe Hank III). The energetic “Swing With The Crazy Kings” is a highly danceable tune. “Drinkin’ Alone” is a slow tune about liquid refreshments.

As expected, this album is a testament to rockabilly music. It goes best with a Lone Star Beer and a little too much gel in your hair. It’s classic and timeless all at the same time.

If you like the music of Wayne ”The Train” Hancock, Dale Watson, Royal Crown Revue, or Brian Setzer, you’ll not be disappointed with Chadd Thomas and the Crazy Kings. They are playing all over Austin and surrounding areas, check them out at for dates and time.

Rice Festival 2004 Live
Various Artists
Cabin 10, Inc
“When people die they don’t really leave you. Their seeds explode all around you and inside you. Their good parts live on” – Tim O’Brien

The Rice Festival is an event that debuted in 2004 to honor the life of Rice Harrington, an art teacher from San Marcos High School who passed away suddenly in 2003. Friends of Harrington thought the best way to remember their friend was by establishing the Rice Harrington Art Scholarship… and in central Texas, what better way to raise funds but by organizing an annual concert event?

So, here we have it, the one-hour long, fifteen track live album from the first concert, held on November 13, 2004 at Fischer Hall (nestled between San Marcos and Blanco, TX).

The recording is obviously live and not touched up much, but it captures a snapshot of time very nicely. The artists that played the concert include an impressive amount of talent. Pat Green, Ponty Bone, Tim O’Brien, Jeff Plankenhorn, and Susan Gibson are just a few that contribute live tracks to this album.

Gibson’s version of “Naïve Melody/Wide Open Spaces” is wonderful. The catchy and slightly disturbing “Hard Day on the Planet” by The Cary Swinney Trio is definitely one to check out. The song where the first line from this review comes from is “Colleen Malone,” a track from Tim O’Brien featuring the backup singing and wonderful mandolin playing of Wimberley, Texas’ own Sarah Jarosz (who’s barely a teenager, but has 4 years stage experience).

To find out more about the Rice Festival and how to get your hands on this one-of-a-kind collection of good music for a great cause (you can only get it online), visit The 2005 Rice Festival will be November 12, 2005 with many of the same names playing.

(These CD reviews are in September's INsite Magazine ( which is available free at over 500 locations around Austin.)

No comments: