All The Misery Money Can Buy
It’s rare to find a band with the taste (and frankly, the cojones) to cover a Nina Simone tune, but this Colorado-based band pulls it off effortlessly on “Sinnerman”. For their fifth album, Gasoline Lollipops, led by Clay Rose, mine a path of Americana that is both soulful and rocking. Starting with the title cut, you quickly surmise that Rose and crew have tasted “all the misery money can buy” with lyrics such as “I sold my soul to the company jail…”.
The way the guitar of Don Ambory mixes with the Hammond organ of Scott Coulter reminds you a bit of Gov’t Mule, except Haynes generally doesn’t write songs about a friends demise (“Dying Young”) or protest music as sharp as “Lady Liberty”. “Get Up!” is as perfect a show opener as you can imagine, a burst of New Jersey soul with a rockin’ backbone (and Coulter shines again on keys). They slow it down on “Nights are Short”, with a soulful groove that offers a contrast to Rose’s rather mournful lyrics, which seems to be his hallmark.
The record ends with aforementioned “Sinnerman”, and Rose wrings all the tension and mystery in Simone’s lyrics with distorted vocals atop a simple piano part. It works gracefully, and shows that Gasoline Lollipops are a band comfortable with a challenge, able to go from a quiet intensity to a full on roar. These are guys to keep on your short list.