Jazz & southern rock meet psychedelic jam rock from moe.
I have been a fan of moe. for years. I’ve been to moe.down, their annual Labor Day music festival in up-state New York, several times. I’ve seen them at Bonnaroo. I have a bunch of their albums. They are outstanding musicians: they write cool songs, are individually talented on their instruments, and are fearless improvisers. I went downtown to the Rib Fest in Cleveland to see moe. play today. Brief early afternoon thunderstorms nearly kept me from going, but the weather turned just in time and I went down. I got in before 3:00, so admission was free. So for the price of a $5 all day rapid pass, plus beer and a half slab of ribs, I got to take in an outstanding moe. show. It made me want to recommend my favorite moe. album to you if you aren’t a fan already.
moe. is a jam band from New York that plays all of the psychedelic stuff you would expect, but with influences from southern rock and jazz. I first found out about moe. when a friend handed me “No Doy” back in 1997, though that was actually their 4th album. It had some great music on it, particularly ‘St. Augustine’ & ‘Four,’ but I really feel like the band knocked it out of the park on their next album, “Tin Cans and Car Tires.”
I ripped 6 of the discs 12 tracks to my iPod. Give them a listen.
- Stranger than Fiction – This is straight-ahead, stomping rock ‘n roll and it’s a great track to kick off the disc.
- Nebraska – They lay back a bit on this groove, but it’s still an up-tempo song with more brilliant lyrics from bassist Rob Derhak.
- Hi & Lo – At least 3 of the guys write songs for the band. This one is by one of the guitarists, Chuck Garvey. I’ve been watching Chuck for a long time and I have to say after seeing him today, he just keeps improving as a guitarist. He was always the more melodic of the two guitarists, but his technique has gotten stronger.
- Plane Crash – Derhak treats us to an examination of the morbid thoughts that pass through his head when he flies. I guess it’s universal, because it captures my thoughts exactly.
- Letter Home – The third songwriter, Al Schneir, is kind of an odd guy and he writes some quirky songs. But then he also pens some beautiful ballads like this one.
- Happy Hour Hero – This one is a crowd favorite, particularly at moe.down where they sell Saranac beer, mentioned in this song. “Forget about the pretty girl. A Saranac will do just fine.”
moe., like Phish, is a band that people follow, tape nightly, and trade live recordings of. Guys like these who do the extended improvisation thing for a daily living get veeeery good at putting on a rock show. Go see them if you get a chance.
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