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Reverend Glasseye
Happy End And Begin
Music For Cats Records
www.musicforcatsrecords.com


You've probably never heard of The Denver Gentlemen. Even Denverites themselves are mostly unaware. They never really released an album (one came out several years after they dissolved), but the members went on to become the most influential developers of what has become known as the alt-western/country genre. Bands like 16 Horsepower (Jean-Yves Tola) and Slim Cessna's Auto Club (Slim Cessna), along with countless side projects and other minor local bands that never quite made it, were all started by members of The Denver Gentlemen.

So now, the next level of genesis begins. The Reverend Adam Glasseye, whose real name (like the Rev. Dwight Pentecost of SCAC) is likely a mystery to all save those who know him, was briefly a member of SCAC, and has now forged out on his own to evolve a new strain of this burgeoning genre.

Now, I've got to admit that I wasn't particularly sold on this album at first listen. I suppose I'd preconditioned myself to expect something that was considerably different from what was delivered. If I were to offer a Bargain Basement synopsis of this album, it would go something like: Andrew Lloyd Webber musical gone bad; led by demented circus ringmaster.

Seriously. It really does feel like a musical: sung narrative delivered in an exaggerated and melodramatic fashion. The real kicker is that it feels like the stage is a circus sideshow from the turn of the century. It has an old-timey feel that precedes even the folky anachronisms of SCAC, (largely due to the creepy organ music) with The Reverend himself serving as the "outside talker." In fact, if I were to produce a modern remake of Tod Browning's 1932 film Freaks, I would do whatever was necessary to sign Glasseye and crew to score the music in a New York second. Or, maybe a Denver one.

Now that I've had it in my CD changer for awhile, I've really come to appreciate and enjoy it as a true original. Reverend Glasseye doesn't sound like this band and that band had babies. They don't sound like this band ate that band and got indigestion. And they don't sound like this band ate the babies of those two other bands but um… it's close. I wouldn't mistake them for Andrew Lloyd Webber either, but they have got the same flair for the dramatic, and it has a very old, gothic and Pentecostal feel that may remind you of the dark drama of Phantom of the Opera, and the gray, torn, drabness of Les Miserables. I also like it because I feel a certain measure of pride in seeing a style of music that was arguably "born" in my home state proliferate to and evolve in places as cosmopolitan and far off as Massachusetts.

If you'd like your alt-C&W a little darker and weirder than what SCAC or 16 HP have offered so far, The Reverend Glasseye will surely take your greasy, crumpled wad of bills and give you the grand tour of this dark carnival.

-JD

Track Listing:

1. Last Standing Man
2. Spook the Turk's Nag
3. The World Is Not My Home Sir
4. 3 Ton Chain (live)
5. Sins of Portsmouth


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Mike Doughty



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