The Hotel Utah won't be big enough for Olin and the Moon in a month
A lot of music comes my way and quite frankly, lately, it has all sounded pretty decent. But here at "What Duvet Said..." decent won't cut it! We want brilliant or some potential for brilliance. When you get that in a band and album, well that's WINNING! So enough suspense, I give you Sun Valley, Idaho's Olin and the Moon! Pitched to me as Wilco meets Big Star with a pinch of Ryan Adams (in fact drummer Marshall Vore also plays with Ryan Adams), I was initially skeptical. That's a tall order I thought but singer-songwriter David LaBrel is up to the task. Being labeled as alt-country doesn't do Olin and the Moon justice. Too often we are obsessed with genre and the subsequent limitations these labels put on people's thoughts and experiences of music. Rootsy? Sure. Americana? Okay. Alt-Country? Whatever that means now-a-days, I can see it. But what the songs on Olin and the Moon's latest, Footsteps, really represent are feelings expressed with nuance, economy, proficiency, and joy. LaBrel and lead guitarist, brother Travis, along with fellow members Vore, Brian McGinnis, and Kyle Vicioso make music that sounds as natural in the backroom of a honky tonk as coming out of a car stereo on a long, lonely drive across desert expanse, or as it would if you were laying on your back in a field somewhere staring up at the stars.
Their latest album Footsteps
That is to say, this music is about feeling things and being transported by those feelings to places only you can go to. There is a bit of Soul Asylum and The Jayhawk's gift for being both earnest and confident without to much polish. Songs like "Repeat" and "15 Burro Blanco" drive and sting. "Not in Love" and "Last Song" are as pretty as pictures of your first love or worse, "the one that got away". This is yearning music. It makes you want to go places, kiss those boys or girls and smoke that last cigarette, preferably alone at sunrise. That's not to say these guys can't burn a barn or two. There are some very fiery leads to go along with the plaintive wail of a pedal steel. I couldn't help but think of another artist that I felt similarly about when I first heard him, Ryan Bingham. I'm seldom wrong about these things, I wasn't about Bingham and I'm not about Olin and the Moon. If any of this strikes a chord with you, GOOD! Olin and the Moon will be playing San Francisco's Hotel Utah this Wednesday night March 9th opening for The Horde and the Harem at 9pm. I urge you to see this band NOW in an intimate environment before they head of to Austin, TX for SXSW and come through playing venues three times this size. Duvet says, "DO IT!"