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Easley, Dave: Easley Rider

I’m not sure if the image of the gentleman - who I guess is Dave Easley - sitting astride a fancy looking bicycle on the cover of Easley Rider is meant to convey a sense of tongue in cheekiness, but as albums covers go, let’s just say it’s underwhelming and leave it at that.

After all, it’s what’s inside the sleeve that counts, right? And with that spirit so a gentle American rock singer songwriter vibe heavily infused by steel guitar is what rolls into view. It’s “I’m Crying” that begins the journey and from the off it’s clear that Dave’s vocal style could be described as ‘enigmatic’. Think Neil Young being not too worried about holding the core melody to account and you might not be far away. A voice for the purists this is not, but when matched to the easy going vibe and hand percussion that wends its way in the undergrowth of this song, it does make sense…. kinda.

From there a lot of good intentions are discovered but not in a way that’s likely to make me ever want to spend time with this Easy Rider again. Often the message behind the lyrics feels way more important to what’s going on than the actual music, with “Billionaires” being a prime example where the true and vital call that uprising is needed to overthrow our real overlords these days - the world’s billionaires - fails to back that message in a way where many people will sit and listen to it. The lyric is basically unpolished poetry set to a song that doesn’t really have much interest in meeting it in the middle. As such, while I 100% prescribe to the song’s sentiments, that doesn’t stop me from finding this hard going in the extreme and unfortunately I can’t really find much elsewhere that avoids that issue. “God’s Own Rain” meanders, desperately looking for a way to ignite, but stays resolutely in the dark, while “Expelled From The Garden” pips and pops on hand percussion rhythms and a jaunty guitar line and yet still somehow feels bereft of excitement or daring.

In the end Easley Rider is so easy going that it becomes anything but an easy listen.

Track Listing
1. I’m Crying
2. Momma Was A Jailbird
3. Mockingbird
4. I Followed Her
5. The Date And The Hour
6. She Took The Wheel
7. Weed Eater Wars
8. Billionaires
9. La Luna Desnude
10. God’s Own Rain
11. Fault Zone
12. Expelled From The Garden
13. The Sweetest One

Added: January 27th 2024
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Dave Easley @ bandcamp
Hits: 369
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Easley, Dave: Easley Rider
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2024-01-27 16:10:54
My Score:

Dave Easley is a New Orleans based singer/composer/guitarist and has been a veteran sideman for many years now. He is also a solo artist and released Easley Rider in 2020. He has worked and performed with a number of artists including Joni Mitchell, Bill Kreutzman (Grateful Dead), Dr. John, Charlie Byrd, Brian Blade, and Jeff Matika (Green Day), just to name a few.
Easley is a fine pedal steel guitarist, putting his stamp on these thirteen original tracks. His voice is easy and laid back, well suited for his ‘60s flavoured pop rock music with elements of folk, blues, and Americana.

The disc begins with the bluesy and swamp filled “I’m Crying” highlighted with Easley’s psychedelic tinged guitar soundscape. Kass Krebs supplies accompanying vocals and the two blend together nicely. Upbeat guitar riffs invigorate the catchy “Momma Was A Jailbird”, a little more jangly and centered around Easley’s excellent pedal steel guitar. The balladic “Mockingbird” is likely the prettiest track taking us back a few decades, the playing and vocals so very poignant. “I Followed Her” flows like a dream with slightly eccentric guitar work and fine harmony vocals from Krebs. The flamenco inspired “The Date And The Hour” and the instrumental “Weed Eater Wars” where Easley’s slide work takes a more experimental approach, are both fun tracks.

If you dig electric guitar centric albums, especially pedal steel, you should really check out Easley Rider as there should be lots to love. Recommended.

The players:
Dave Easley (vocals, guitar and pedal steel guitar, percussion)
Alfred Uganda Roberts (percussion)
Doug Garrison (drums and percussion)
René Coman (bass)
Kass Krebs (lead and backing vocals, percussion)

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