A collection of musically themed musings by Brendan Bush in Burlington, VT

Wrapup: Split Tongue Crow @ Shelburne Steakhouse 1/22/2011

Filed Under: Album Reviews, Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Tuesday January 25, 2011

I wrote about Split Tongue Crow’s self-titled debut album last year. What impressed me then was the same thing that I enjoyed about their show last weekend at Shelburne Steakhouse: vocalist Cara White’s voice.

Though I was a little skeptical of the venue, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at the general ambiance and setup of the “stage” area at the Shelburne Steakhouse. For the most part, folks sat at tables that basically surrounded the floor to enjoy the easygoing folk sounds of Split Tongue Crow. The majority of their music doesn’t exactly lend itself to dancing, so the empty dance floor didn’t feel as awkward as it might have otherwise.

The show was well attended, and the band played many songs from their new album as well as several others. They had a good rapport with the audience, and drummer Matt Marro’s dry-humored (if perhaps overeager) banter kept things light.

Electric guitarist David Anderson, who spent much of the night re-tuning his cold weather averse instrument, could have spent a little less time with his back to the audience, as his impressive guitar work is certainly worth watching. Lead vocalist Eoin Noonan and bass guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Woods both sounded great — particularly Woods on “Midlife Missile Crisis,” my favorite from their album and from the show.

Like I said, Cara White was definitely the highlight for me. I didn’t actually pick up how much her vocals play into harmonies throughout their album, but her impressive contribution was on display on Saturday. Not to diminish how good the band sounded as a whole though – I’m significantly more into their music than I was before seeing them play live.

I definitely recommend seeing Split Tongue Crow when they come to your town (they play The Skinny Pancake in Burlington on Feb. 5). You can check out their full schedule, listen to their songs, and buy their album via this link.

Comments Off

Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Split Tongue Crow, Split Tongue Crow

Filed Under: Album Reviews, Local Bands
Written by Brendan
Friday December 3, 2010

Split Tongue Crow - Split Tongue CrowI often feel that there is some pejorative connotation to a qualification of a band as “local.”  It feels like by using “local” I am somehow putting a band in a lesser class.  I don’t know if that comes across to you or is just in my head, but it’s something that I don’t intend.

Because the fact is that while cities like Los Angeles and Brooklyn are well-known incubators of quality musicians, there are a number of Vermont-based bands who are putting out extremely high-quality music, but simply lack exposure.

The better for me of course, because I get to see these bands perform for a few bucks a pop, but I do feel like many of them deserve more recognition.

One such band is newly-named Split Tongue Crow (formerly Rogue Eyebrow), an alt-country outfit out of Rutland.  They’ve just released their self-titled debut LP, an easygoing, tender slice of Green Mountain Americana.

While much of the album has a fairly laid back feel, echoing roots in traditional American country music, there is definitely some guitar-laden country rock bubbling just beneath the surface.  “Avalon” which opens the album with Spanish-style string work, “Horizons,” and “No Reservations,” a slightly drawling tune that leans a little too far country for my tastes, show the potential to be fleshed out into heavier hitters at a live performance.

The songs featuring vocalist Cara White beside one of the male singers, like “Easy Come,” “Mother’s Okay” and “Midlife Missile Crisis” stand out as favorites of mine.  I dig the songwriting of the latter(“I’m hiding out in my own reverie, oh clever me/ no, never me, I’ll never grow old”), which to me is the highlight of the album.  The sorrowful tenderness, drowsy guitars and male-female harmonies are really touching.  Oddly I find myself craving Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” every time I hear the song.

“Manuel” picks up the pace a little bit, offering a bass-laden, danceable groove that keeps my feet tapping and my head nodding, while not feeling out of place on such a mellow album.

“The Day You Left This Earth (Dragonfly)” has a particularly personal connection to me, as the story of the dragonfly was related to me by my mother as a young kid, to help me come to grips with the death of a close family friend.  It may be an easy metaphor, but it worked for me then, and I can feel it working for White in this song.

One of these days, I’m going to catch Split Tongue Crow at a Burlington-area venue, and I can only hope that their live show captures the same character, emotion and honesty as this album.

Comments Off

Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.