with Eric & the Nothing
75 South St
with Bundles, Salinger, and Houselights
3496 Washington St
Jamaica Plain, Mass
Early show 4pm-8pm
with The Flawed, The Worried, and Cactus Attack
The Lincoln Tunnel’s ‘Phone This One In’ review in ‘The Newp’
Alternative rock’s essence is capturing an emotion that doesn’t need fancy production or flashy sounds. Just a guitar, a bass, and a rhythm section will do along with the proper amount of amplification. The Lincoln Tunnel out of Providence achieves that with their sophomore album Phone This One In, which was put out via the Warren-based label 75orLess Records on December 7. Christian Caldarone leads the cavalry with his crooning voice and raw strums on the guitar. There’s also a powerpop sheen that’s adorned within the album from start to finish.
John Menard backs up Caldarone on lead guitar while his brother Keith blends his skills on bass with Mike Tomasso’s drumming. The musical tightness exhibited throughout Phone This One In is genuinely impressive. Caldarone’s lyrics are hard-hitting and honest to the point where there’s no confusion on what he’s really singing about. It’s an unapologetic and old-school take on a style that’s been continuously evolving since the early ‘80s. The Lincoln Tunnel’s new album can be enjoyed by music lovers both young and old.
Starting the album off is “Time’s Wasting” with Caldarone shouting at the top of his lungs. “Bedroom Eyes” has a pop-rock aesthetic while also having a consistent breakbeat. It echoes the songwriting of Paul Westerberg and Robert Pollard and it also maintains a bit of originality. Fitting for the holiday season, “Stay In Bed (This Christmas)” is a conflict of nostalgia and reality. John Menard has a sweet guitar solo that shines through too.
This rad band has a show coming up at Alchemy in Providence on December 28 with Boston rock act If We Go At All and fellow locals Nate Cozzolino & The Lost Arts and The Ghosts Of Industry. While you’re at the show, get a copy of Phone This One In. It’s real rock music with a lot of heart.
with If We Go At All, Ghosts of Industry, Nate Cozzolino and the Lost Arts
Mark Cutler – Travel Light
On Travel Light everything is a little darker, from the tone of the guitars to the vocals; it isn’t overtly political, so much as a songwriter trying to make sense of the world. Cutler’s voice retains a sense of leeriness on “Nothing from Nobody” as he sings “I don’t want nothing from nobody, don’t expect you to hand your soul to me” over a rollicking Chicago blues lick. “What About You” is a classic ballad that feels like it fell off of an expanded version of Tom Petty’s Wildflowers as Cutler croons, “I’m only a hobo when I’m not by your side.” “Gaslight” is a cool tune that reminds me of ’70s Neil Young set to a rhythm reminiscent of a stripped down version of Smashing Pumpkin’s “1979.” The starkness of “East of Eden” reminds me of a cross between Beggars Banquet era Stones and Time Out of Mind era Dylan. “Misfits” and the closing title track retain a youthful quality — hitting the road for the next adventure. If you’ve never seen Mark Cutler live, it is an all-night party as he and his band play non-stop for hours with one tune after another drawing from his expansive career and covers of anyone from Jonathan Richman to the Stones. It is not to be missed and pick up a copy of Travel Light while you are at it!
75 South St
Mark Cutler’s latest album Travel Light marks another fine release from this Rhode Island roots rocker. Here, he’s as smooth as Jack Daniels at the microphone. The musicians around him create a weave of rustic, acoustic notes and snaky electric instrumentation. Together, it’s a strong package of music from an Americana singer-songwriter who just keeps getting better and better.
Opening cut “Two Hours To Go” is a lilting, breezing tune with an easygoing vibe. Cutler’s alluring vocal timbre and measured delivery keep it intriguing. Throwing in an acoustic guitar strum and a swinging groove, Cutler keeps the music in motion, like it’s taking us somewhere special. Beyond these musical accomplishments, the singer-songwriter presents an adventurous attitude that might remind of some of rock’s greatest heroes.
“Nothing From Nobody” continues that air of individual freedom and spirited adventure. Cutler’s attitude carries the most weight here, and he makes a fine example of someone who can live and breath the life he sings of. His slight swagger at the microphone is authentic. A persistent electric guitar humming and winding around the groove motion builds an aggressive vibe that suggests no prisoners will be taken on this personal life quest.
“Go With The Flow” does indeed have a flow. Cutler’s voice glides in measured doses over a restless groove and acoustic guitar march. He’s as cool as the bass line that oozes the low end motions as smoothly as anything that rides on ice. When an electric guitar begins crackling, the tune emits another layer of cool that just can’t be beat. We feel a 1960s laidback vibe and a feeling of acceptance of how all of the moving parts in this crazy, messed up world of ours have a life of their own.
“The Other Shoe” has more of a greasy edge, thanks to its electric guitar presence. An acoustic guitar makes a circular motion, like that something that doesn’t want to resolve itself. A swirling organ line and a sly fiddle line help complete the musical support. Cutler then opines quietly but persistently about the things that can wrong even as we anticipate the calamity. His natural cool comes across well, giving this tune a personality all its own, a sprawling attitude and a sprawling musical landscape to boot.
“What About You” is a quiet, rootsy piano ballad. Cutler’s raw, raspy voice fills the soundscape in this paired down number. He might remind of Tom Petty or Tom Waits singing of the sorry facts of life. A seesawing harmonica line ups the ante, making this song full of emotive suggestion. Perfectly crafted, this number carries all of its moving parts with a swaggering grace and with the kind of inner peace that comes from being world weary for too long.
Cutler contemplates the self-head game, the way we all have of freaking ourselves out in “Gaslight.” His witty observations are accompanied by musicianship so subtle you have to listen for it but would leave the song horribly naked if it wasn’t there. An acoustic guitar melody spirals upward and then back on itself so that the lyrical theme feels unresolved. This beefs up the lyrical theme beautifully while make the song move with a rustic, roots charm.
“It Goes Like This” features a pedal steel melody whose notes ring out with a beautiful authenticity. A hefty organ presence and a brisk electric guitar give Cutler a platform to deliver his heartfelt philosophy. Amongst many natural and rustic notes, this singer captures perfectly the feeling of being resigned to fate. He delivers it by wrapping his voice around every nuanced feeling his words and music conjure.
Chugging in more speedily, “I Killed A Man” becomes a fiercely honest murder ballad. A shuffling groove and mighty acoustic guitar strum backed by a muscular electric make one feel the urgency of just having committed an atrocity. It rocks out while offering stark images of what went down. Cutler’s skills as a songwriter and a singer who can deliver the goods comes across loud and clear.
“East Of Eden” is a quiet marriage of electric and acoustic instruments. Its multitude of notes travel in a lilting manner through Cutler’s lyrical imagery of damnation and hopelessness. His vocal here is a cross between a clear, smooth croon and a harrowing dark tone. It all works itself into a perfect mood and a perfect setting.
“Misfits” is a mellow dandy. With sparse accompaniment, Cutler sings of those who don’t find their place in society. His vocal, warmer here, reflects his compassion toward those who always seem to be stuck on the wrong side of the tracks. Creating a world of lost souls while looking over it like a concerned father, Cutler crafts a fine song out of his perceptive observation and his view of humanity.
Cutler closes out with his title track, “Travel Light.” A breezy melody line conjures images of an easy afternoon drive. His smooth croon contrast beautifully with a sharper electric guitar line. Sounding reserved and wise, Cutler delivers a stirringly handsome vocal, like he’s been keeping this sharper timbre in reserve for the finale. .
Cutler has come up with another fine roots rock albums. Traveling light with bassist Jimmy Berger, drummer Rick Couto, drummer David Narcizo, pedal steel player Jonathan Gregg, acoustic guitarist Banjo Bob Kirkman, fiddler Cathy Clasper-Torch, and keyboardist Rickard Reed, Cutler cut most of these tracks at RevMok Studios in Rhode Island. The album is a fine document of where the artist has arrived with his mastery of Americana roots music.
Providence’s Americana scene is very much a cornucopia of talents. There’s a motley crew of folky singer-songwriters, rhythmic bluegrass acts and bluesy rock bands that make up a unique community. The Low Cards are indeed a part of it and they put a swampy spin on the style with their self-titled debut that was released on November 29. Dan Baker slings on guitar while crooning a voice that’s reminiscent of both Tom Waits and John Fogarty. The rhythm section of Brian Jablonski on upright bass and Matt Slobogan on drums is the glue that holds everything together.
The band’s sound is like a jug band without a jug. They convey a vibe that’s energetic and fun much like an act that would be playing on a street corner with random instruments like a washboard and pots & pans. It’s an organic essence that brings about the comparisons. There’s no nonsense and each song off of the album is straight to the point. A thud is consistent throughout the album as well while adding emphasis and feeling.
“Road Outta Here” is a raw rock & roll track that’s about leaving things behind and moving on. There’s a steady build up in the beginning that leads to an abundance of twanging. With a steady backing coming from Jablonski and Slobogan, “Closer” has a jumpy structure and it’s one of the faster tracks off of the album. For the ones who like to reminisce about fancy cars, “Corvette” definitely goes out to them. It has a badass aesthetic that gives it a chance of being part of an action film soundtrack.
The Low Cards will be making a stop at The Grange in Providence’s west end on December 20th with MorganEve Swain from Brown Bird & The Huntress and Holder Of Hands. They’ll also be heading up to the Boston area on January 6 to rock Atwood’s Tavern in Cambridge, MA. Whether you can only catch one of the shows or you’re planning on being at both, grab a copy of the new album. Its honest rock & roll music done in peculiar ways.