The New Thoreaus are on fire! Their excellent debut, Neon Americana, came out just last year. This month alone they have toured California from Monterey to San Diego and, in July, they head off for Greece, France and Germany. Send them off in style as they celebrate the release of a brand new EP, Sinners on the Take, at the Great American Music Hall next Friday, May 16th! It’s part of the Big Ass Hillbilly Show with The Earl Brothers and Lonesome Lester (of the Pine Box Boys). Get them tickets now!
The EP kicks off with the title track, “Sinners on the Take”. Upright bass is gradually joined by harmonica, guitar and finally trumpet before Chris Bloomfield’s insane vocals chime in. Chris combines raw-throated Tom Waits moments with Appalachian Bonnie Billy hiccups like he might just be their love child. Just soon enough some soothing lady harmonies join in and you feel like all that sinning might just be forgiven with the line “your angry god has got one more song to sing.” Beautiful.
“Weight of the Matter” splits vocal duties more evenly between Chris and bass virtuoso Lauren. The song is less heavy, but that’s okay; it still has a heart melter of a line in “I thought if I stared at my hands long enough you would hold them, but you never reached out.” Ian’s banjo and violin (from special guest Tim Kim!) are featured prominently and perfectly.
“Pilgrims” is a waltz and everyone loves a waltz. Trumpeter Sara provides lovely harmonies.
“Watchdogs” clocks in at over 7 minutes. Lauren’s vocals sound almost like Patti Smith. The song actually ends after 5 minutes or so. You are then treated to a little secret special surprise for another minute or so. Have a listen!
Can’t wait until May 16th? You can get a sneak preview of The New Thoreaus this Saturday, May 10th, at The Octopus Literary Salon‘s Oakland Home Companion. Fans of Prairie Home Companion won’t want to miss this! Octopus founder, Rebecca Grove, will be Garrison Keillor for this Oakland-inspired variety show, featuring The New Thoreaus, and much more. Local poet/author of Lost in Tall Grass, Laura Schulkind will read. Comedian Lael Gold will get you laughing. Paul Corman-Roberts will tell stories. PLUS special appearances from Elvis Presley, Richard Nixon and Hunter S. Thompson! The evening will include everything that makes the Octopus squirm with delight: yummy tacos, ice cold Tecates and an open mic (contact The Octopus if you would like to get on the mic, get on the mic, Mike!). It all goes down at 817 East 24th Street in Oakland, 6pm-12am, and only $5! The latest news and views from Lake Wobegon, er, I mean Lake Merritt!