Pop Culture Gadabout
Friday, May 23, 2008
      ( 5/23/2008 03:03:00 PM ) Bill S.  

"NOW I MISS WHAT I COULD NEVER SEE." What a difference two decades makes. Twenty-plus years ago, Kristi Callan and her sister Kelly were part of an engaging pop-rock band called Wednesday week (their first elpee was subject to a recent much-needed reissue on the Noble Rot label). Today, WW's lead singer Kristi is fronting a five-woman country band called Dime Box for Kelly's indie label, Avebury Records. DB's debut disc, Five and Dime Waltz, has recently come out, and while it doesn't sound much like Wednesday Week, the songwriting smarts of both Callan sibs and former bandmate David Nolte continue to show through - as does Kristi's open-hearted straight-talking singing voice.

The band's sound is pure back porch country: acoustic guitar and bass, lightly brushed percussion plus omnipresent fiddle and/or mandolin; Kristi tackles the lead vocals, while three of her bandmates add warm, uncomplicated harmonies. There's not a trace of Nashvillian slickness to be found on this disc, which suits the music's honest lyrical approach. Where the younger Callan/Nolte/Callan songwriting triumvirate crafted tracks reflecting the angst and confusion of their songs' young heroines, the Dime Box juke proves more maturely rueful: songs about the aftermath of divorce, the travails of single motherhood, and just plain wishin' you knew then what you know now. If at times, the words get a little too homiletic (e.g., "honest work will see you through"), the energetic music (lotsa credit to guitar picker Yolande Ng and hoe-downy fiddler Edie Murphy here) lifts you past it.

The best tracks (nine originals, plus a dulcet Dolly Parton cover) contain plenty of telling detail and empathy: the goofy friend who repeats the same Dollar Store joke, the struggling mama buying day old bread, the well-behaved stick-in-the-mud who didn't smoke or drink - but "sure could complain." In "Mama," Kristy looks back at her My Mother, Myself relationship with more experienced eyes; in "Nobody," she describes just how wearing and rewarding it can be for two lovers to stick together; in the blue-grassy "Bone to Pick," she gives a no-nonsense kiss-off to a no-good lover. ("I want you up and gone by the end of this song.") This may be a critical cliché, but in this case, it appears to hold true: if rock 'n' roll is about adolescent possibility, country is about living with restrictions, about trying to find snatches of happiness within the struggles of the day-to-day.

Dime Box is about finding the music in those fleeting moments - and playing it in a pure, enjoyably unvarnished style.
# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

On Sale Now!
Measure by Measure:

A Romantic Romp with the Fat and Fabulous
By Rebecca Fox & William Sherman

(Available through Amazon)

Measure by Measure Web Page

Ask for These Fine Cultural Blogs & Journals by Name!

aaronneathery.com News
Aaron Neathery

American Sideshow Blow-Off
Marc Hartzman

Arf Lovers
Craig Yoe

Sean T. Collins

Barbers Blog
Wilson Barbers

The Bastard Machine
Tim Goodman

The Beat
Heidi MacDonald

Kevin Church

Big Fat Blog
Paul McAleer

Big Mouth Types Again
Evan Dorkin

Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Blog This, Pal!
Gordon Dymowski

Rod Lott

Cartoon Brew
Amid Amidi & Jerry Beck

Cartoon Web Log!
Daryl Cagle

Clea's Cave
Juana Moore-Overmyer

Collected Editions

The Comics Curmudgeon
Josh Fruhlinger

The Comics Reporter
Tom Spurgeon

Christopher Butcher

Comics Waiting Room
Marc Mason

Comics Worth Reading
Johanna Draper Carlson

a dragon dancing with the Buddha
Ben Varkentine


Electromatic Radio
Matt Appleyard Aaron Neathery


Eye of the Goof
Mr. Bali Hai

Fred Sez
Fred Hembeck

Greenbriar Picture Shows
John McElwee

The Groovy Age of Horror
Curt Purcell

The Hooded Utilitarian
Noah Berlatsky

Hooray for Captain Spaulding
Daniel Frank

The Horn Section

The House Next Door
Matt Zoller Seitz

Howling Curmudgeons
Greg Morrow & Friends

The Hurting
Tim O'Neil

I Am A Child of Television
Brent McKee

I Am NOT the Beastmaster
Marc Singer

In Sequence
Teresa Ortega

Innocent Bystander
Gary Sassaman

Irresponsible Pictures

Jog - The Blog
Joe McCulloch

The Johnny Bacardi Show
David Allen Jones

Dirk Deppey

King's Chronicles
Paul Dini

Let's You And Him Fight
One of the Jones Boys

Mah Two Cents
Tony Collett


Michael's Movie Palace

Nat's TV
Nat Gertler

Ned Sonntag


News from ME
Mark Evanier

No Rock&Roll Fun
Simon B

Omega Channel
Matt Bradshaw

Pen-Elayne on the Web
Elayne Riggs

Peter David

Dorian White

Progressive Ruin
Mike Sterling

Punk Rock Graffiti
Cindy Johnson & Autumn Meredith

Revoltin' Developments
Ken Cuperus

Marc Bernardin

Matt Hinrichs

Self-Styled Siren

Spatula Forum
Nik Dirga

Tales from the Longbox
Chris Mosby


The Third Banana
Aaron Neathery & Friends

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Toner Mishap
B2 et al

Trusty Plinko Stick
Bill Doughty

TV Barn
Aaron Barnhart et al

Unqualified Offerings
Jim Henley

Various And Sundry
Augie De Blieck

Video WatchBlog
Tim Lucas

When Fangirls Attack
Kalinara & Ragnell

X-Ray Spex
Will Pfeifer

Yet Another Comics Blog
Dave Carter

A Brief Political Disclaimer:

If this blog does not discuss a specific political issue or event, it is not because this writer finds said event politically inconvenient to acknowledge - it's simply because he's scatterbrained and irresponsible.

My Token List of Poli-Blogs:

Roy Edroso


Jane Hamsher

James Wolcott

Lance Mannion

The Moderate Voice
Joe Gandelman


Amanda Marcotte & Friends

The Sideshow
Avedon Carol

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo

Talking Points Memo
Joshua Micah Marshall

This Modern World
Tom Tomorrow

Welcome to Shakesville
Melissa McEwan & Friends

Blogcritics: news and reviews
Site Feed

Powered by Blogger

    follow me on Twitter