[13 March 2007]
Forming a band to tell tales marked by barroom revelation, intense relational dynamics, and religious imagery was likely the furthest thought from John Gleason and Jeremy Benson’s minds when they started a cross country journey looking for elusive clarity. An auspicious stop in a small Utah town provided the inspiration that caused the duo to return to their native New Jersey and combine with fellow musicians to form the Roadside Graves. Composed of home recordings, previously released material, and tracks that preview their second full-length scheduled for release this spring, this seven-song EP aptly conveys the band’s synthesis of shuffling guitars, robust harmonies, and instrumental flourishes that nod to artists like Dylan, Springsteen, and the Band, while retaining a free and fresh spirit. Tracks like “West Coast” and “Song for a Dry State” (which relates that fateful Utah experience) simultaneously possess melodic shine and raucous energy, suggesting the band would be equally at home on the stage of a trendy big city venue or the sawdust covered floors of a local tavern. With the potential momentum created by the special creative spark displayed here, the Roadside Graves should attract much interest in their upcoming release.