a Whisper To Be Heard
Indie terms, when Whispering Pines rock, they rock like
a Chicago band which is just beginning to gain traction
outside that burg. When
they go country, they twang like Chris
Berardo & the Desberardos.
Of course, you have to throw in a touch of River
good measure because they float between the two genres
seamlessly and to really hear them, River Rouge is
needed. Who is RR?
If you don't know, you might want to. They are a group of
musicians out of L.A. who can rock the place or put people at
their ease with equal proficiency. If you want a listen, here
is a link to their excellent Black
Probably won't help much in the way of comparison, but it's a
try this. Whispering Pines'
roots are late-sixties and
early-seventies country rock, a period of music which is very
dear to my heart. It was a special time for me, a time of
long-hairs and earth mommas and the smell of dirt because
everything about my favorite music then was back-to-the-land.
You want names? Cowboy,
for one, a band which got little respect during their
all-too-short existence in its original form. Pure
Prairie League and
Uncle Jim's Music,
too. And Country Funk and
Randy Burns & The Sky Dog Band.
And others. I grabbed anything and everything country rock
back then and it got under my skin and helped carry me through
many a hard time, which were never as hard as I used to think
not sure if it is me or whether there is really something in
the music I have been getting into lately, but I'm thinking
it's the music. There is this unique sound and feel lately
similar to many of the bands during that period which I have
not really heard since. There is a simplicity in the sound or
maybe a simplicity in the message and it strikes me full force
every time I hear it. It strikes me every time I hear
Whispering Pines and
I've been hearing it a lot lately.
it is, it doesn't take them long to grab the ears, Move
that same flowing rock and roll sound that RR's
Whoo! I mean, that picked guitar is solid! And dig that
slow it down a bit and step into the country with Come
which has a very slight vocal nod toward Wilderness
they sounded on their self-titled homage to the Old West back
in '71 or so. What? You thought The Eagles came up with the
first Western rock opera? Nope. And again, that guitar!
More Second Chance sounds
like it comes from the Capricorn Records vaults, circa the
mid-seventies, having that southern yet R&B base which
made Capricorn and Muscle Shoals unique. Especially notable
are the keyboards (God, but I love
Hammond B-3 sound!) and the simple but effective lead guitar.
This is the kind of song which can carry you through a bad
day. You know what? There is a bit of Delaney
& Bonnie in
there, too. And Lovin'
(What? I think the man has lost his mind, Margaret! Or his
guitar intro to Purest
up a jam I can't get enough of and I have played it more than
other tracks on the album just to slake my thirst. I mean,
this is classic seventies stuff here and they nail it down as
well as anyone I've ever heard. Simple with a slight choogle
and an echo of what The
Marshall Tucker Band was
doing way back when. Just hearing that rolling bass and those
dueling guitars on the bridge makes me a happy man.
country it up a bit on GA
while it is not my favorite, it holds its own. And it is a
prelude to my favorite track on the album: Wolf
You know that Marshall Tucker sound I was mentioning? Here it
is again, and this time a bit more evident. Not that these
guys mimic MTB. They just go there, probably without even
realizing it. Fine with me because it gives way to an
excellent bridge of organ and guitar that makes me laugh, it
is so good. I mean, when I hear it, I'm back at The Roman
Forum between Eugene and Springfield spilling beer on myself
and just happy to be alive.
liven it up a bit on Love
another ghost song of the seventies (nice hook in this one),
country rock it up on Sunrise
crank it up a bit on Fine
then cap it off with a song which would have made Teegarden
& Van Winkle downright
delirious. Probably Cowboy
can I say? Don't ask me to make comparisons to bands today,
and especially the bands everyone's heard, because I can't.
There are plenty of bands out there playing the notes, but
they mostly don't have the feel or the sound or something.
Do yourselves a favor, though. Take a listen to these guys. If
you hear even a small amount of what I hear, you're going to
buy this album. And you're going to play it. A lot.
Frank O. Gutch Jr.