Friday, July 8, 2011

The Reverends at Penny Road Pub

The Reverends, who hail from right here in Elgin, Illinois, spit in the face any genre that you may try to categorize them in. Their Facebook page says, "Whatever You Think We Are" to describe their genre. They are a 5 piece band, sometimes augmented by a horns, play their music with a conviction you'd hard pressed to find it bands two or three times their age. By my last count, none of them are old enough to *even* buy a drink at Penny Road Pub. One of the members "other band" is a Marching Band at Elgin High School

They play their own original material from their 2010 self-titled CD release "The Reverends" (Find it by going to Rediscover Records and picking up a copy. It's also available on iTunes & their own website. Please buy your music). These songs capture the essence of the songs that they do cover. Excellent originals like "That Song" and "Red Dress" are driving R&B sounding songs. The songs they cover are done with such reverence that if Otis Redding was to hear them play "Shake", he wouldn't be rolling in his grave, he'd be rocking and rolling in it.

It doesn't matter that 70's rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose was at the Penny Road Pub only the night before. The crowd at PRP was there to see The Reverends. I had seen them a handful of times before and while they've always impressed me by playing music beyond their years, they've continued dazzle. Now, they switch instruments, lead vocalists, and incorporate other instruments. One moment their sound is so authentic you'll think you are on Bourbon Street in New Orleans and within a few songs, you are transported north up the Mississippi to the heart of Stax/Volt country in Memphis. There is little banter between songs, so after a little shuffling the next songs in the set may include original material like "Let Nothing Be Put to Rest", the bluesy harmonica of "Loose Hips", indie rock like Old Crow Medicine Show or the best cover of The Decemberists "O Valencia" you may ever hear. I think Colin Meloy himself would stand and applaud.

Due to band commitments, vacations, school, their dates are limited for the rest of 2011. Do yourself a favor and catch The Reverends at their next show. Throw away the genre tags. It's just great music. The Reverends are: Tanner Bednar, Wyeth Bednar, Brandon Couture, George Rapidis, and Chas Sirridge.

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