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Music Review - `Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Hippyness` by The Midwest Home Grown Band (lz)

The Midwest Home Grown Band--Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Hippyness  (click on image to watch video)

 26 June 2020

 

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Eric Greengardner, who performs and records under the name Eric Einhorn, helms an outfit descriptively dubbed The Midwest Home Grown Band. He’s the kind of artist who tends to wear his feelings on his proverbial sleeve, resulting in an uncommonly expressive album bearing the forthright title Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Hippyness. It may be the band’s first album, but it’s an evocative effort nevertheless, and the sentiments shared by Einhorn/Greengardner, the band’s primary vocalist, and his colleagues — singer Amy Valdez, guitarist Bill Sisk, keyboard player Dale Beagle,bassist Dave Leeds, Banjo player Wayne Holcomb, sax and flute player Mark Kieme and drummers Elad Fish and Josh Morton — get right to the point without any unnecessary interpretation.

That said, Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Hippyness excels through its diversity. Einhorn’s gritty vocals occasionally bring echoes of Johnny Cash to mind, while adding a decided gravitas to each of the album’s offerings. The best examples are found on two tracks in particular, the sobering memory of life in small-town America titled “The Courthouse Clock,” and the darker designs of “Unseen Truth,” an earnest plea to an elusive and uncaring lover. Oddly enough, “The City” finds him taking a different tack entirely, as Einhorn croons across a dark, sinewy, jazzy groove while purveying a cool, hipster-like vibe. Likewise, when he deviates into a 47 second, spoken word ode to our men and women in uniform, “God Bless Our Soldiers,” he deviates yet again, doing so with what can only be described as deep devotion.

Einhorn’s forthright determination is further evidenced on the honky-tonk strains of “Don’t Call Me Loser,” a song in which he declares “Don’t call me loser just because I don’t dress like you/Or share your value system or your narrow point of view.” Although the mood seems somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it’s also a sturdy reminder of the discord and divisiveness that’s plagued our nation for more years than most folks care to remember. Happily then, the sentimental strains of “Hanging Out at Hooker’s Mill” recall better times, when innocence and optimism pointed the way forward. Ultimately, the album’s most emphatic songs come in the form of a pair of forthright rockers, “Road Trip” and “Tears,” two tracks that let loose with drive and determination.

The band’s ability to let loose finds the mantra expressed in the album title becoming all the more meaningful. 

 

 Lee Zimmerman

 

Lee Zimmerman

To Read All of Lee's Reviews, Click Here

 

 

 


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