Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tyler Toliver - Joe Zelek - Casey -- Jammin Java - Aug 30 2010

Casey - Casey is a local singer/songwriter with acoustic guitar and harmonica on a couple of songs. Yes, you have heard that sentence before with a number of names. So how does he stand out? Well, as usual, you start with the songs. They are catchy and thoughtful with a story telling bent that is neither too downbeat or wildly enthusiastic. He has a clean, crisp rhythm guitar style without a lot of frills, but some quality chord changes among the standards. His voice is really clean and strong, more of an Eric Anderson as opposed to Tim Buckley or Leonard Cohen. He is folk all the way with an Americana underbelly. It was a nice set that a large enthusiastic crowd very much enjoyed, as did I.

Photo by Sheri Oneal. Franklin, TN 
Joe Zelek - Zelek is a singer/songwriter with acoustic guitar and was accompanied by a lead guitarist (on acoustic). He had a lean lineup tonight which I think improved things for me. His style is unabashedly country. Yet with the limited line-up it had the folkier qualities I preferred. There was plenty of space to focus on the songs, some of which were very good. Others kind of had that corn syrup feel that I taste when I delve into country artists. The lead guitarist had some nice runs and provided some backup vocals which filled out things nicely. The stage patter was good and quite funny, although I didn't need to know about radio promotion and billboard positions. A decent set and another one that went over well with the crowd.

Tyler Toliver - Toliver is a local singer/songwriter with an acoustic guitar. He also happens to be an active US Marine and looks like he could clear out an entire bar of ruffians and not break a sweat. But he also seems like a nice quiet guy who just wants to play his songs. They were decent country songs, I suppose, but they kind of came off all at one level. It just was not enough to excite me in any way, although admittedly I am a tough sell with country music. So I suggest seeking other reviews.

Quote of the Night: Earlier, I was packing groceries into my well-worn '94 Subaru when a car pulled up and gave me a sales job (for the third time in as many years)...

"Hey, I can fix that damage for you for a really low price"
"This car has 200,000 miles on it, it hardly needs body work"
"Yeah, but that rust will give everybody cancer"
"Then I suggest you drive on, quickly."

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