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The Mudville Project

Portico is the freshman effort put out by The Mudville Project, a collection of veterans on the Tulsa scene who have managed to put together a great roots rock album. Greg Klaus (Fanzine & Simon Starbuck) is the driving force behind the band, being the primary songwriter and the main voice of The Mudville Project. In addition to Greg, Randy Patton (Hi-Fi) joined up on lead guitar, Matt Brantley (Hi-Fi & Simon Starbuck) on drums, and Grant Vespasian (Fanzine, MadVerb) on bass.

There is a fair amount of diversity on this album while still remaining within its genre. The vocals and much of the music sounds like Son Volt's prodigy, whereas on other tracks it sounds exactly like Tom Petty on vocals. This album seems to have a lot of influence from alt. country and good old fashioned rock and roll which ends up combining the worlds of John Mellencamp, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Buddy Holly with an indie/roots spin. Great hooks on most of the tracks, and some fine guitar, bass and drum work. This reminds me of some of the great bands I saw as a kid at county fairs and local festivals who still had originality, and were in it for the music, unlike many bands out there.

"The Tea" is the opening track which has a slow southern rock feel to it, with great chord progressions and lyrics. It really shows off what the band is capable of before transitioning to the more upbeat sounds of the next track. "Kinda Man" has that early 60's rock and roll feel, both musically and lyrically. "Rice Check" is where Glaus really starts to sound like Tom Petty. This track is about a father giving advice to his son, saying, "you can be whatever you want to be, anything but not like me." "Long Road" and "Twice" have great hooks, and really bring out the Son Volt likeness. Both tracks are that feel-good, down home, Middle America rock and roll. "No Regrets" slows things down for a bit using plenty of diminished chords for an introspection-type track. "Love Song" is the most country song of the bunch with Glaus singing with a lap steel in the background, transitioning back and forth from a waltz beat to a rock beat. For some reason, "Hector the Protector" reminds me of a rockabilly version of They Might Be Giants.

Overall, this is a very strong recording with many unique tracks that overflows with promise. This album does not disappoint, and is well worth a listen for any fan of rockabilly or roots rock. These guys have a lot of talent and I am excited to see what comes of their next album, which is underway at this very moment.

-Liger Woods

Track List:
1. The Tea
2. Kinda Man
3. Rice Check
4. Home Again
5. Long Road
6. Twice
7. Perfect Girl
8. No Regrets
9. Love Song
10. Hector the Protector

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