Sunday, July 4, 2010

Arthur Dodge & Horsefeathers (1997)

(As published in the Illinois Entertainer ... )

Arthur Dodge & Horsefeathers
Arthur Dodge & Horsefeathers
(Barber's Itch)

Nothing fancy here, just a skillful reshuffling of the rock 'n' roll deck by the Lawrence, KS, singer-songwriter Arthur Dodge. Sometimes the songs are sharp enough to make his singing and band seem hotter than they are, and sometimes his singing and band are hot enough to make the songs seem sharper than they are. Either way, the electric numbers (especially "Into the Blue") feature serious rock 'n' roll chops, and his unplugged ones (especially the Stephanie Turner duet "Chuck and Lila") show why Dodge just won the "Best Folk Act" trophy at Kansas City's first annual Klammy Awards show.

As a third-generation-heartland-garage-country-rocker, Dodge's occasionally trips over his roots. Often, though, he really makes something of them. In "Mad Dog" he raps about his favorite subterranean homesick booze over a mean "She's About A-Mover" shuffle, and in "She's So Kind" he starts off with a "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" riff and goes somewhere with a vengeance. You've heard of gilding the lily? Dodge barbs the wire.

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