Crowfield "Love is Hell on the Lonely"
Piano man Joe Giant and singer/guitarist Tyler Mechem cover a lot of ground on their newly christened band's full-length debut, Goodbye, Goodnight, So Long Midwestern. From their looser, funkier situations under the band name Bell, these two have tied up a few loose ends, tightened up a few arrangements, and rerouted their song ideas and instrumental talents in a more serious and sincere direction.
Produced by Rick Beato, the album kicks off with the big bang of the anthemic codependent love song "Hayride" — a radio hit ready to go, from the snappy snare drum fill in the intro through the slide guitar solos. "You do the talking, and I'll do the crime!" Mechem, the duo's main songwriter, belts it out with his appropriately flat drawl, on top of the big chords and chiming piano chords. "Love is Hell on the Lonely" (featuring backing vocals from Charleston/Mississippi pop songwriter Owen Beverly) is smooth and melancholic, driven by strummy acoustic guitar, piano, and organ. "Jesus in My Pocket" leans toward more atmospheric alt-country, with reverby pedal steel and vocal harmonies. "Break My Heart" is almost as jangly and lovey-dubby as the poppiest stuff of L.A.'s Paisley Underground.
Even more emotive and heartfelt are "What Makes You Think You're Sad," an acoustic anthem with a bit of Mechem's strong falsetto, and the Marc Cohn-esque "Mississippi (Hard Road Lately)."
Despite the softer spots, Goodbye leans heavily on the rough-edged twang-rock of Crazy Horse or Tom Petty's earliest version of the Heartbreakers, with a contemporary sheen a la the Wallflowers and Matchbox Twenty. Whether inspired by tough life experiences, wild imagination, or a clever blend of both, this album delves into more than just a few cool funk riffs and guitar and piano licks. It's impressive stuff from an ever-evolving Charleston act. (www.myspace.com/crowfieldmusic)
Crowfield opens for Will Hoge on Sat. June 21 at the Shoreline Ballroom in Hilton Head and again at the Windjammer on Sat. June 28; they open for Corey Smith at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach on Sat. July 5.