Tuesday , April 16 2024
The Coal Men
L-R: Dave Ray, Paul Slivka, Dave Coleman (photo by Connie Chornuk)

Music Review: The Coal Men – ‘Everett’

Longtime roots-rock Americana trio The Coal Men are releasing their sixth album. Everett takes its name from an Everett upright piano that adds a bit of high-end scamper and ring to the band’s bass-heavy sound.

But The Coal Men remain fundamentally a guitar-bass-drums trio. Founding guitarist, singer and songwriter Dave Coleman favors the smoky lower register of his distorted electric guitar. Bassist Paul Slivka snakes his elemental parts under the guitar’s growl with subtle expertise, while drummer and co-founder Dave Ray locks the grooves down.

The Coal Men 'Everett' album cover
Photo credit: Bob Delevante

Many amplified Americana artists and bands can sound this good. What The Coal Men have that not many do is humbly gripping songwriting that makes their dark sound grab hold of you and sink in. Coleman, who also produced, places his lead vocals rather far back in the mix, a bit like J.J. Cale always did. But his lyrics are nonetheless discernible and show a time-tempered but un-jaded sensibility.

Meanwhile the tunes, riffs and chord progressions introduce unexpected changes that help pull us gratefully along. And a glare of punk-rock supercharges a few of the songs, adding variety. In one (“Come Back Joe”) Coleman even calls upon the ghost of Joe Strummer by name.

For the full down-deep impact of this 11-song opus, listen with good headphones – or, even better, on a real stereo with good speakers. (In case you’re one of the few who still have one of those. You can tell from their sound that The Coal Men remember the time when music lovers had stereos almost by definition.)

Everett comes out March 29, 2024 on Vaskaleedez Records. Pre-order here.

About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Music, where he covers classical music (old and new) and other genres, and Culture, where he reviews NYC theater. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at http://www.orenhope.com/ you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at http://parkodyssey.blogspot.com/ where he is on a mission to visit every park in New York City. He has also been a part-time working musician, including as lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado.

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