I need to state up
front my strong dislike for jam bands. I cheered the breakup of Phish and wept
when they reunited. I’d take a public flogging over a String Cheese Incident
show any day of the week. I think The Casualties put it best when they sang: “Now all these fucking scumbags/ hey
think they know it all/ Their rules and ideas/ Have made me fucking mad.” All that being said, I’m as
surprised as anyone at how positive the following review for Rusted Root’s
latest record reads.
Greatest hits and
live releases aside, this is the first collection of new songs from the
Pittsburgh-based band in almost 10 years. Having covered the Pittsburgh music scene in the mid-‘90s, I’ve
heard most of the band’s earlier records and they have certainly hit their
stride with Stereo Rodeo. The band is
tighter musically than they have been in years. They’ve even managed to make
the oft-covered Presley song “Suspicious Minds” comes off sounding surprisingly
The drums have
always been a hallmark of Rusted Root’s songs and they still are on tracks like
“Dance in the Middle” and “Driving One”.
What separates Stereo Rodeo from the band’s earlier efforts though is their willingness to step away from
the jam band genre. Sure there is still some guitar noodleing here and there,
but they also mix in roots rock (“Weary Bones”), a little classic rock (“Bad
Son”) and even toss in some singer-songwriter influences (the title track).
There are a few weak songs – “Give You, the Grace” could have been left off the
record without any complaints, but overall Stereo
Rodeo is well worth checking out, even if you’ve never owned a hackie sack.
Standout Tracks: “Driving One,” “Suspicious Minds” JOHN MOORE