Rock and Reprise.net
has produced one of those sleepers you read so much about--- the ones you don't hear until the fifth or the tenth time through and then wonder why it took so long. For myself and Quick Fix Bandage, it was the third and the breakthrough was deceptively simple--- one chord--- but it opened the rest of the album to me, track-by-track, and it was more than worth the wait. That chord was at the backside of the chorus of Along For the Ride, a nice unassuming tune with smooth vocals reminiscent of something I cannot quite recall (though it did have that Southern California early 70s feel to it), and it shocked me awake. Not a terrible shock--- a pleasant one, really--- a simple honk of a minor chord, but ain't it grand when it happens? And wouldn't you know Warren would follow it up with the smooth country rocking Don't Tell Me, with its steel guitar straight out of Marshall Tucker's Fire On the Mountain only better. A perfect one-two punch.
From that point, it was a matter of laying back and letting the music wash over me. Someone told me they call this roots rock these days, but it is pure smooth country rock, to my ears. Throw in a hook and I'm sold and Warren throws in a bunch. Every track seems to have something to set it apart--- the jangly wall of guitar in I Got Your Back; the almost minute-and-a-half instrumental bridge (featuring cello and acoustic guitar) titled Old Farm Road followed by the slightly upbeat Both of Us Know featuring the subdued harmonies of Shana Gray (and, again, with the cello--- Helen Belangie, ladies and gentlemen!); the early-Eagles-like Before You Say Goodbye, again with the smooth vocals (and great understated harmony vocals) and head-nodding beat.
There is a lot to like in Quick Fix Bandage, but don't expect to get it right off. There is no sledgehammer to the head nor is there music so odd and unique it makes you come back just to make sure you heard right. It is pleasant, unassuming music which works its way into your psyche one listen at a time. Give it a chance and it could easily move to the top of your listening stack quickly. Might even have you thinking about checking out Warren's band of some standing, Signal Hill Transmission. That is where I'm heading next.
Listening to Warren brings to mind an eye-opening experience I had almost four decades ago. I was laying on the couch in Eugene, Oregon at two or three in the morning listening to music on headphones, the front and back doors open (it was late summer and hot), trying to fall asleep when I was jolted wide awake by music I'd not really heard before. It was a song from Cowboy's 5'll Getcha Ten titled Lookin' For You, a Scott Boyer-penned beauty of a song which made me a Boyer fan for life. Smooth and ethereal, the song was perfect vessel for Boyer's voice and it was like I was hearing Cowboy for the first time. And, yes, I did wonder why it took me so long to get it. I guarantee you, though, when it happens, it doesn't matter.
Frank O. Gutch Jr.