Miketon and the Night Blinders aren’t wasting any time kicking in the doors on 2017.
The Manchester-based “garbage grass” band has a new CD ready to launch on January 12th called “Building A Home.” And if you enjoy a rollicking country sound with fiddle, bass, brushes and banjo, then this CD is your first purchase of the New Year.
Three seconds into the opener “Lucky Hearts” and I’m sold. Lead singer Miketon Graton strikes a quick chord, then sings hard for his love that sleeps at home, waiting to smell the stink of his beer-stained skin and feel the warmth of his allegiance to her.
Cameron Rapoport enters in with a steely smooth fiddle solo and off we go. This is when we know the Night Blinders have identified themselves as a serious rock band, pledging that, “the love of ours will last if together we hold fast to hope that’s true.”
“Goodbye” starts with an ache, a moan almost, of a crying fiddle, then is layered sweet by Mark Williams stellar banjo play. Over the horizon the bands sees something approaching in the night, something through the mud, and it’s coming in fast, “at the speed of light…I can see you burnin’.”
This theme reveals itself over and over on “Building A Home,” recorded at Black Heart Sound in the Queen City.
“Stay Home” is another invitation to settling down, forget about the hustle, baby, you’re home, you’re exhausted, let me “fix the holes in the roof.”
St. Paddy leads us into “Scary Truth” where Graton is still trying to shake loose from the man he used to be. He sings of past failures procured by idle procrastination, living the life of a ghost. Still, the singers awakens to see the seeds of a new beginning starting to unfurl.
Just jump forward, “be anything you want to be or a failure just as well.”
“I Am Gone” and “Sin City” shows the Night Blinders at their barroom best. You can smell the sweat and whisky burning on “I Am Gone” as Williams takes the lead. Williams sings of a man who can hardly look himself in the mirror without being reminded of his last decade of losses. Guilty and weak, regretting his lack of fortitude while refusing to take the boot off his own neck, in the end, the character crumbles in despair.
Slow and sexy, “The Void” is a jazzy, bluegrass number, one of my favorites on the CD. Showcasing some boardwalk range, the Night Blinders are locked in on this song, pacing back and forth between some heated finger-picking while spinning through the sweet smell of survival.
Throughout “Building A Home” the solid, landscape drumming of Lee Viathan, with his head turned, eyes closed, is spectacular, on beat, essential. And the threading Mike Bastek does on the stand up bass is seamless, rhythmic and true. The Night Blinders are a band in full.
Sure, making it through your 20’s will beat you down, leave you feeling good and broke. Hopeless at times. That’s just the way it is. Always been. Everyone peeking through the mud clouds at entry level adulthood. It gets better. But it’s going to take some push, some grit and luck to see through to the other side.
Just ask Miketon and the Night Blinders..
Rob Azevedo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org