Monday, July 25, 2011
Kerosene Halo - self-titled
©2011 Lo-Fidelity Records
I waited with anticipation at Cornerstone 2011 to see and hear the unveiling of Mike Roe and Derri Daugherty’s newest collaboration project, Kerosene Halo. Together, they are two of the founders of the Lost Dogs, an alt country/Americana band going strong after 20 years, but more importantly to this writer, and many who have followed this scene for a number of years, founders of the significant alternative bands the 77’s and the Choir respectively. Perhaps time is a mellowing agent for rock musicians, at least where these guys are concerned, for I have finally found the newest campfire accompaniment. I say this out of pure respect.
Mike and Derri’s voices are the fixtures to which this project clings. Mike has a more expansive dynamic to his voice, where he can belt out a strong blues, rocking vocal or caress the softer strains of a pop melody. Here, the song choices lend themselves to the softer side. Derri’s tenor vocals are a perfect combination with Mike. These guys may have struck gold with this collaboration. Their harmonies, I dare say, are richer than anything the Dogs have put out. Stylistically, there is little degree of separation from what the Lost Dogs have done. This is more of an homage to those artists they cut their veritable teeth on.
For all of their cajoling about Terry Taylor’s expansive songwriting, they pick a couple of Taylor/Daniel Amos tracks to include, the gorgeous opening track, “Rice Paper Wings”, and the ending “And So It Goes”. Possibly, the most memorable of the bunch is the second cut, penned by Phil Madiera & Derri, “Tonight, I Smiled At The Moon”. A haunting mid-western showcase of melody and harmony, it leaves you humming and whistling long after the song ends. A couple of obscure covers follow, “Dimming Of The Day” (Richard Thompson) and “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” (Leonard Cohen). A surprise inclusion is Larry Norman’s, “The Outlaw”. A nice take on the original, especially the chorus! A couple more Phil Madiera nods are made with “Bad Sense of Direction” and “Grandpa’s Skin”, a song that could easily have been included in the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack. Tom Wait’s “Bottom Of The World” is exquisitely covered, making this a really strong track in this collection.
If this is the direction veteran alternative rockers head down as age brings wisdom, I can handle getting old-er.
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