CD Reviews 10 Dec 2005


(2005   Woodchuck Could)

A growing collective of musicians has been knocking around the Stevens Point area for some time now, performing together, tracking on each other’s recordings, organizing festivals like the FeelGood Fest, and just generally hanging out and sharing life experiences together. Much of this activity is due to the irrepressible spirit of the Reverend Eddie Danger. Part political folkie, part neo-beatnik and an actual ordained minister, Danger combines these facets of his persona into musical statements that make him at once identifiable without pigeonholing him or his music into easily labeled categories.  Danger’s main sidekicks are his guitar-playing and likewise ordained brother-in-arms Reverend Mike White and his backup singer and romantic accomplice Angie Arkin.  Becoming more immersed as a family member is engineer/producer Dave Krueger, who also plays much of the bass tracks on Reverend Eddie Danger and the Band of Thieves, Danger’s fourth full-length CD.

Danger often performs live as a soloist, utilizing a loop station and creating interesting musical motifs that are immensely entertaining.  Here he turns to the community-building spirit of a band setting, bringing in several guest musicians and going for a more cohesive presentation.

…The Band of Thieves is a mixed bag of Danger’s compositions, some of the songs working better than others. “Scarecrow” pretty much sums up Danger’s style: a chunky, funky guitar statement and a rhythmic vocal melody with a message. In this case Danger delivers a blistering treatise on Christianity in the same breath as he reaffirms life itself.  It’s one of the album’s best tracks, along with “Black-Eyed Susan” which boasts the recording’s most complete arrangement, and “Arrow” with a clever acoustic guitar slide solo from White in the coda.  Some of the tracks sound like a few different ideas woven together. Others can drag on a bit too long, like the 7:38 “Fat Daddy,” a tale of a trip (literally) to the New Orleans Jazz Festival in a van bearing the song’s title. “Uno Mas” is about as funky as white Northern boys can get and benefits greatly from the keyboards provided by Hot Tractor’s Shane Hardwicke, as does the opening cut, “Sucre Bleu.”  The real prize is “Wedding Day,” a departure in style and execution from the rest of the disc where the backup vocals and acoustic guitar styles recall some of Paul Simon’s African-influenced work.

Keeping things happening is what Danger and his crew are all about and the Stevens Point area is fortunate to have such a crusader. He’s just returned from a trip to Peru where he’s sure to have added to his collection of exotic instruments, so be sure to catch him live next time around.

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About the author

Rick Tvedt

Rick is publisher of Local Sounds Magazine, formerly Rick's Cafe, Wisconsin's Regional Music Newspaper. He is also the Executive Director for MAMA, Inc., a non-profit organization that produces the Madison Area Music Awards and raises funds to promote youth music programs.

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