Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Crimson Balladeers

I've caught these local cats live a couple of times now and dug their country/Americana sounds so I picked up this 6-song CD-EP. It seems like the personnel here include the guys I've seen over the two gigs - mainstays Ben Hale (lead vocals/guitar), Ross Lillebo (bass) and Erik Alesi (acoustic guitar/vocals) who are joined by drummer Joe Chudyk, lead guitarist Brian Bissell, pedal steel master Joel Ferguson and percussionist Brian Feston. Combined they make a late 60's/early 70's country-pop sound, not unlike, say, Ricky Nelson at the time.

The songs here will be familiar to anyone who has seen them, from the soaring "Western Sky" to the upbeat, lick-fueled "Can't Sleep Right" to the slow, pedal-steel dominated ballad "Better Luck Next Time" that highlights Ben's terrific voice to the high drama of "Brand New Path" (here Brian shines on lead guitar) to the huge soundscapes of "Joshua Tree" (with more terrific, creative lead riffs and huge vocals) to the closer, "Picture Perfect", which kinda reminds me of the feel of Nelson's "Garden Party", for some reason - as it doesn't sound like it at all.

In any case, good stuff all around and they are even better now in concert, so be sure to check 'em out whenever you can!