Veracity (n): conformity to facts; accuracy.
Synonyms: truthfulness, truth, accuracy, correctness, faithfulness, fidelity
Tan and Sober Gentlemen (TASG) are true to the Appalachian, Celtic bluegrass music which has so obviously and so deeply influenced their sound. As the album title suggests, true-to-self lives at the heart of their sound. While carrying on a centuries-old tradition, TASG have been able to push beyond what could easily become boring and stale, into a sonic dynamic blend of influences.
“Rabbit” kicks the door open and grabs me and swings me around! Imagine if the Avett Brothers sounded like they recorded after binging on liquor, unfiltered cigarettes, and were hyper from lack of sleep. Sound good? It’s great!
The gritty feeling continues… the group backing vocals keep the folky, Celtic tradition alive, but are delivered with a punk attitude.
If you’re looking for good choices in music to play around the fire as we bury the statues we’ve torn down, then put this record on.
On “Deep Chatham”, railroading drums drive the song from start to end. Tom Waits fans, listen close! The vocals channel Waits with a southern twang supported by a band on overdrive.
TASG is tight as hell. If you dare to play this super niche genre, then you best have your chops. As a drummer and guitarist myself, I am inspired by their musicianship.
Make no mistake; this is not fiddle-die-day generic interpretations of the Celtic sound. This is deeper, next step, rebirth.
I grew up in Boston listening to music like this waking up smelling of cigarettes and stout. This album plays like a story, an amazing evening I want to hear about again and again.
There are so many layers of exceptional playing on this album that I don’t want to single out one member, because all of them bring something incredible to the record. Check out their bios and you will see that there is a deep regional history within the band.
TASG are a unit of sound moving so fast it takes a second to grasp what the hell is going on.
One last item to touch on: How the hell can you possibly think you can get away doing a Pogues cover?! I’ll tell you… because your band kicks ass and pulls it off with accuracy and, more importantly, takes it beyond a cover and makes it your own. Tan and Sober Gentlemen, hats off to you!
Featured image is “Veracity” album cover courtesy of Tan and Sober Gentlemen.