The Lost Leaders band is serious about its Americana based sound, so the combination Neil Young / Bob Dylan / Red Rider lead song, Horizontal Man, starts out plaintive, a drunk getting into his cups, turns hornsy, then progressive, but never fails to capture the ear as it shifts and turns. It's a Byron Isaacs cut laden with folksy drama. His partner, Peter Cole, is a saucy fellow, intelligent and hilarious while sardonic. Sardonic? Yep, and that's always a good trait in a musician or any artist but especially a musician. His promo lit's what we critics wish every PR unit wrote: witty, highly informative in all the right ways, and the guy knows how to write in his own idiosyncratic fashion. Those traits don't always pop up in the lyrics, but, once you know of them, you understand why what emerges makes it through in the fashion it does. And, lord, does he have some road stories to tell, only hinted at in the lead sheet but tantalizing.
Horizontal Man is followed by a CSNY / America / Batdorf & Rodney track, The Line The Lie, mellow and hypnotizing, soothing, something James Lee Stanley would envy. Then there are the Kinks-y/Band tracks like Thin Walls, which even demonstrate a bit of later Spooky Tooth and Procol Harum blended in. Speaking of The Band, bassist Isaacs was earlier playing for Levon Helm, doing so while that ensemble was winning Emmys. Helms' drummer Justin Guip is the Lost Leaders' third member but also engineered the bulk of the disc and co-produced. Other bad boys from the Helms ranch sit in, adding considerably to the ambient sound. However, Pete and Byron have been writing for a long time and their songs have appeared rather prolifically on myriad TV shows (Dawson's Creek, The Young and the Restless, Real World, etc.). We're not talking newborn babes straight from the woods here. They know what they're on about.
I hesitate only momentarily to call this roots music—and a good deal of it really is—because so much is going on that no traditional practitioner would touch with a ten-foot pole. The problem for the trad side of the camp, though, is that everything here works like a fiend, taking the whole post-cowpunk gig in the direction it should've headed in the first place (welllllllll, punkers could think things through only so far, right?, thus only just so much was expected) not to mention all other ongoing efforts. More than once, I found myself thinking "Man, I sure wish Poco and Pure Prairie League woulda done some of this!" The lads likewise know how to cool their heels with enrapturing aplomb, so there's also a good deal of Josh Rouse but also Rain Parade and certain 80s psychedeliticians. I can't say as I'm fond of the CD's cover art, as it indicates nothing at all of the nature of the materials within and kinda fucks up whatever the marketing intent might be…so don't think 'What the hell?!?!' when you pick the disc up. Once you get into all this great stuff, you won't care two damns about that.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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