With his deceptively simple melodies that slowly come into their own as each musical and instrumental texture falls seamlessly into place, I early on thought “Oh, so this is what a solo disc by Jeff Tweedy (Uncle Tupelo/Wilco/Loose Fur) produced by Daniel Lanois (U2/Dylan/Emmylou/Willie/himself) would sound like.” Then I listened some more and realized Thayer had his own ideas about things.
Starting from the bluesy crawl ‘n drawl of ‘Tuck and Roll’ through the country sweetness of Meet You In the Morning (wistfully reminiscent of Dylan’s I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight), Bow Thayer conjures an Americana framed by Vermont’s open clear skies and Green Mountains. Sundress, a summery duet with Kris Delmhorst, is by far my favorite: A lusty evocation so vivid and natural you can actually see ‘…the wind lifting the hem…’ and feel the singer’s delightful (if dubious) predicament ‘ …making me spin…again’. The shuffling, laid back ebb and flow and lyrical tumble of Windshield Crack is totally Tweedy, as is the potent, Wilco-ish thrump and swagger of To Live, Freak and Die on Route 89.
Lori Lynn is an effortless love song, made all the more special by the fact that its only musical components are bass, drums, Thayer’s guitar and his honest-to-my-soul vocals. On top of all this add the jammy, early Allman Brothers sounding ‘Music Mountain’ and you’ve got yourself a disc that rewards you listen after listen after listen.
Though Maintenance for Mood Swings is Bow Thayer’s baby, kudos have got to go out to his core band for their empathy, subtlety and dynamic. They include Dave Rizzuti – guitars, pedal steel; Nolan McKelvey – bass, vocals; and Gordon Goes, Ken Schup, Jeff Berlin, and Dave Westner – drums and percussion.
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