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Stoney Clove Lane 

click to enlarge 2008, Woodstock MusicWorks.
  • 2008, Woodstock MusicWorks.

Stoney Clove Lane smacks of ’60s and ’70s rock influences that will bring baby boomers back to the days before condoms, crack, and neocons. Named after a road in Chichester, the band draws upon the woods for inspiration—and woodsy folks for guest appearances on this record. The music is extremely thick, smoky, and syrupy, like a good country breakfast. But it is cold-comfort food. The lyrics reek of lost love, empty houses, and wistful days. Thankfully, singer Jeremy Bernstein has a voice born for sincerity and woe, tainted from too much whiskey and cigarettes and late-night stokings of the woodstove. His partners capitalize on the drama with sound collages built from B3s and banjos. Peeking through the dirge are meaty electric guitar tones that would make the rock gods proud. The result melds contemporary voicings of Devendra Banhart and the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson with the old-school roadhousings of the Steve Miller Band, Steppenwolf, Traffic, and early Nazareth. The songs don’t break new ground, nor do they claim to. This is homegrown roots rock with country spice and folk sprinkles. Although there are some extremely catchy gems (“Crawl,” “Castles Fall”), striking some of the lyrically and compositionally pedestrian tracks (the title cut and “Life Keeps Rollin’ By”) would have made for a much stronger record (that, and another ear on the drum mix). Even so, many will find Stoney Clove Lane an accomplished and pleasant respite from the frenetic bleeps and bloops of today. See the band live on August 17 at the Rosendale Sunday Summer Series.

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