Music Reviews

Willard Grant Conspiracy


Slow River/Rykodisc

The first time I listened to this recording, I listened to it “cold.” I did no reading of the liner notes and I had promo material. I had no earthly idea who these people were. I still could not name the first member of this group. I expect that will soon change. I suppose that’s a part of what makes this recording so exciting to me. Every so often, some little-known group of musicians will do something that just comes together perfectly. It just gels. This is the case with this recording. Production-wise this recording stands just about as tall as some of George Martin’s work with the Beatles.

As is the case with a lot of great music, I find this recording sort of hard to classify. In some ways it reminds me of some of Austin’s finest troubadours, and it probably does fit into some sort of “Americana” basket, but it really spills out all over the place. It’s so much more than a collection of songs. It’s more like a great movie in its execution. Haunting, atmospheric and relatively spare, this work is like a drive down a Blue Highway on a Full Moon night with all of the windows rolled down. There is one stop to pick up a hitchhiking Motorhead wannabe. This little one-song incident (“Go Jimmy”) serves to totally shake you out of any sort of mellow or complacent state that the first half of the recording might have left you in, but our hitchhiker soon gets out and we are back on our way with a mixed feeling of an appreciation of the peacefulness, and an ever so slight longing for more conversation from our metalhead friend.

A fine piece of work indeed.

Slow River/Rykodiscer Records, P.O. Box 141 Shetland Park, Gloucester, MA 01931-0141;

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