Cave States is a new band of old friends. Anchored in the songwriting of Chris Grabau (Magnolia Summer) and Danny Kathriner (Half Knots and Colonel Ford), and including Todd Schnitzer (Nadine and Half Knots), John Horton (Bottle Rockets and Colonel Ford) and John Higgins (too many bands to name), all hailing from St. Louis, the group has collaborated on a new collection of Americana and folk-swept songs, including this lilting, lyrical prayer for a daughter, "Before My Eyes."
Portland, Ore. songwriter Ryan VanDordrecht says that he aims for "a sound that walks a fine line between polish and unrefined beauty." On the streamlined, harmonica and slide guitar-sparkled "Great American Life" he's achieved just that.
Fans of acoustic swing, a la Dan Hicks or the Asylum Street Spankers, will find kindred spirits in the Appleseed Collective and its new, wry yet melancholy "The Inability to Feel."
"I'm at the bottom rung of the ladder, baby, how could I keep climbin' on up?" asks Vikesh Kapoor on the original folk song "Bottom of the Ladder." But it's the next lines that make the image indelible and universal: "Here I stand with a lightning rod in my hand, but the light strikes at the top."
The haze of the cigarette smoke from the night hung in the sunlight peaking through the bar's pane glass windows. The staff had run in circles attempting to prep the bar for the Sunday patronage and touching up whatever happened the night before.
A side project of John Wendland and Andy Ploof of Rough Shop, the Wilhelms are an acoustic duo with a penchant for solid songwriting, intertwining strings and soaring harmonies.
As autumn settles itself in comfortably, "Let's Be Still" provides that last bit of summer warmth. Let the Head and the Heart ease the transition.