I write words. Sometimes I write complete sentences, too.
CD Review - Shane Sweeney - The Finding Time"
"It's all been said before but it must have fallen on deaf ears the first time."
Shane Sweeney ~ "Legion"
When I first heard Shane Sweeney, better known as the other vocalist in Two Cow Garage (gravely voicedMicah Schnabel sings the majority of TCG songs) was releasing a solo album, I wasn't sure what to expect. A friend of mine recently asked me if I skipped the Shane songs when I listening to Two Cow Garage, like I used to skip over the Grant Hart Husker Du tunes in favor of Bob Mould's stuff. I actually like Shane's songs, and his voice, and his aggression, but there are times where I wish he'd sing a song, rather than fight it.
While I never said this to him, I think someone did ... because he's done just that on "The Finding Time," his latest solo album. The album is, as far as I can hear, completely acoustic and a complete joy to listen to. It's been out since July, but I've been trying to find time to listen to it, let alone write about it. That started last week. Shane's playing a CD Release Show at Rumba on Friday, November 4th, with Jeffery Fernengel, Todd May, And Nate Linek. You can get the MP3's on Amazon or iTunes, or you can go get your face rocked off and buy an actual CD from Shane's merch table.
"The Finding Time" starts out with what today sounds like a song for the "Occupy (insert locality here)" movement. It's call "Legion" and it sets the tone musically, and lyrically:
"There's more of us than them,
All it takes is everyone to raise a hand
Say I won't lay down for money.
I will hold my head up and die like like a man
Won't you stand with me?
Brother won't you stand with me?
Won't you stand with me?
And if one should fall,
If one should should fall
If I should fall
Another will take up the call"
Knowing Shane and his fondness for making porch music ... kicking back pickin' and singing with friends and beer, it sounds like a lot of these album could be called "The Front Porch Sessions," and that's a compliment. They're simple, straight forward tunes about life, family, and being strong in a world that just doesn't give a shit about you. "When I Am Empty" and "Hallelujah" and "The Owl" and "Try Again Later" are among my favorite songs on this CD, and "Motel Blues" is a great life-on-the-road track that a lot of traveling musicians could have written, but didn't. The CD ends with a couple of tracks featuring some great harmony on the vocals, the first being "See You In Heaven," a tribute to a friend who's in another place now. with some subtle guitar picking behind it. I love the way the song builds. The latter is a reprise of "Legion" ... short, and sweet, like it should be.
Will this be a chart buster? No. Sadly, it's not corporate rock. It's the complete opposite. But Micah and Shane have this "Art or Die" mantra. And this is art. This is Americana at it's finest. Good music made by a man who shows he's more than the screams and slamming bass lines you find in the Two Cow Garage songs some us know and love.