Odds Lane - 'Last Night On Cherokee'
Midwest contemporary blues-rock band Odds Lane, Doug Byrkit and Brian Zielie, have released their latest album ‘Last Night On Cherokee’ on Bongo Boy Records. Odds Lane is an ASCAP Plus Songwriting Award duo endorsed by guitar pick maker Steve Clayton, Inc. They have appeared on The Chevy Music Showcase and have multiple licensing deals with networks such as MTV, Oxygen, E, A&E, WE, Oxygen and Fox Sports. Recorded at Sawhorse Studios in St. Louis, mixed in Los Angeles by Grammy Award winning producer David Z (Prince, Johnny Lang, Etta James), and mastered in New Orleans by Grammy Award winner David Farrell (Arcade Fire, BuckWheatZydeco, Royal Southern Brotherhood), the eleven (11) track CD offers a mint, above par, performance.
‘Last Night On Cherokee’ opens with “This is What it’s Like.” Laying down a muted, boogie blues vamp that grooves throughout, the musicianship is tight with just the right amount of muddy distortion. The 8-bar phrases are simple, but strong. “So this is what it’s like to feel in control. So this is what it’s like to feel like you’re grown.” Nestled between the versus are crunchy blues guitar riffs accompanied by a thick-pulsed walking bass until half-way through when a blues guitar solo takes it up in register for a nice wah-wah cry that comes back at the end to remind us that this band has chops.
Next up, "Falling Down" has an alternative rock edge that showcases the duo’s ability to fuse layers of sophisticated music ideas. There are riffs to grab onto, in both the guitar and bass, that accent, fill-in, transition and drive the music from beginning to end. The short chorus, “Falling down, down, down, we’ll pick it up again” leaves you wanting more in a good way. In the middle of the song, the music falls down for a literal interpretation of the lyrics, with a brief moment of silence as Doug sings, “the sun goes back and we’ll do it all again.” The song regains its momentum with a passionate singing performance.
“Take it Slow” offers up some nice funky grooves that reminded me of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. As in the first two songs, the drums and bass lock-it-in-the-pocket perfectly while Doug delivers the story with a laid back vocal tone and guitar leads that impress. – Check out the video.
Two of my favorite songs on the CD are”100 Miles” and “Red and Yellow.” Fused with elements of reggae and rock "100 Miles" is infectious with a great melody backed by a nice off-beat groove that showcases a killer guitar solo and solid bass work. “Red and Yellow,” is a swampy, mid-tempo ballad that starts with syncopated acoustic guitar. The lyrics leave room-for-thought, “Is it just me, Can anybody see? They’re coming to take my soul. Is it just me? Someone save me please. They’re coming to take me down below.” Like all of the songs on the CD, there are surprises like the high-energy ending with soaring guitars and hard hitting drums. At the end of the CD, the song “Bottom of the Sea” is noteworthy for its stellar musicianship and the song's timely lyrics. “Round up all the movers and the holy shakers. The one percenters and occupying progress haters. Take ‘em all away to the bottom of the sea"
The final cut, “End of the Line” proves, along with every other cut, that this is not the end of the line for “Odds Lane.” Every single song on this album is above par. In order for a band to be above par, all components have to be equally excellent, like a winning team. This is the case with Odds Lane. The musicianship – guitar, bass, drums – whether taking a solo or laying down a groove - give exceptional performances every time. The vocals deliver flawlessly with great ease, tone, dynamic, and a perfectly understated feel that compliments this genre. Vocalist Doug Byrkit is never in your face with his singing; instead he lets it sink in, saturate, and fill the space the way a good blues singer should. The song-writing is very strong; every song has merit with layering of riffs, phrases, and change-ups. And the lyrics are simple and direct, strong and meaningful.