Advertisement

Subscribe
to the
Weekender

Advertisement

Illinois John Fever: Now Is Not the Way It Is



Illinios John Fever
Now Is Not The Way It Is

Local Albums: March 2010 – Country Blues can really be a challenge for both performers and listeners. The basic musical gestures ossified into cliché 50 years ago, and it’s rare to find someone who can wring something new out of them. The only way it can work out is if you commit to it totally and keep doing it until you get it right. Now Is Not The Way It Is is exactly that–three guys getting it right.  

What makes boogies like “Monkeyhouse” and “The 4-12 March” work–aside from the sweet slide work and minimal drumming–is Lute Tucker’s ability to fuliminate and rage. I don’t even understand what he’s singing, but it’s great fun–street corner crazy-man ranting turned into hillbilly blues shouting. “Girl Needs A Bell” takes it down a notch in tempo and turns a single repeated major chord riff into five minutes of dreamy blues with the refrain “oh me oh my I got no me I got no mine.” What does it mean? You might as well ask what “I got a cow she won’t milk, I got a girl just the same” means. Tucker’s slurred, woozy delivery is perfectly effective at conveying mood, less so at objective meaning.

Illinois John Fever’s songs shamble along like a barefoot bum on the fourth day of a five-day drunk, but they’re never sloppy. They just relax into the groove so much they sound like they could take a nap without missing a beat. Their individual talents–which are considerable–notwithstanding, it’s the comfort and joy of their ensemble playing that makes Illinois John Fever masters of the boogie. 


Add a comment

*Please complete all fields correctly

BUY HALF-PRICE GIFT CARDS

WHAT TO READ NEXT

Album Review: Traffic Death — Dead End
Let me start out by saying that it brings me so much joy that we have, here in Iowa, a label like Sump Pump Records, that continually releases top-notch metal...
Album Review: Pets With Human Names — Creature Comforts
Creature Comforts, the 2017 sophomore effort from Des Moines three-piece Pets With Human Names, is a tight, solid, confident rock and roll album. The band -- Alex Nickeson, Andrew Pierson...
Posted by Michael Roeder
Album Review: Treesreach — Some Night You Will Hear Me Crowing
Some Night You Will Hear Me Crowing, the debut album from Cedar Rapids trio treesreach, uses the story of Peter Pan as a thread joining the musical squares in a...