Nashville instrumental duo let the instruments do the talking on new EP
It’s hard not to like Steelism. Firstly they are masters of their instruments. Jeremy Fetzer on guitar and Spencer Cullum on steel pedal guitar. Secondly they make the kind of music that makes you smile. Their brand of retro instrumentalism brings up the excitement and enjoyment of hearing Ennio Morricone, Booker T and the MG’s, Keith Mansfield, Marc 4, Rogério Duprat, Luis Bacalov and Daniele Luppi for the first time. Their music is almost otherworldly, as sounds both retro and contemporary at the same time.
New EP The Drawing Room: Volume 1 draws from all these sources and more. The album opens with the every faithful voice of Emma Clarke informing us that we are at Hounslow Central on the Piccadilly Line. Then a driving beat kicks, reminiscent to that of the tube itself, in and Fetzer and Cullum do their stuff. Though there are no words, you get a sense of movement, confusion, danger and friendship. So like every journey on the tube then. The Serge follows hot on The Tube’s heels. Featuring Brendan Benson making a cameo, it’s more of the same, but without Clarke’s vocals sample. The song feels like it was lifted from the spaghetti western soundtrack, when the hero and anti-hero finally put their differences and through a montage of them shooting cans, riding horses, playing cards, eating beans, fighting unshaven heathens out to make their fortune rustling, and generally being the good hero and likable anti-hero they get ready for the final showdown. It’s nothing short of genius!
Tintagel slows things down a bit, and shows this duo have a softer side. As we all know Tintagel was the castle where King Arthur, his round table and knights lived. This track taps into this idea of myth and legend. The rhythm section is ticking over nicely as Fetzer and Cullum trade riffs on their respective guitars, while a joyous piano patters longingly in the background. A true delight! The Informant, as the name suggests, if a slightly darker broody beast. Men in trench coats, monochrome bars filled with thick grey walls of smoke and treacherous woman leading you one way so they can get the money and run all come to mind, but then again I do live in Ealing, the home of the British film industry in the oldie days, and that’s how we like things ‘round here. I we had our way this would be the official soundtrack to last orders! The Drawing Room closes things with a luscious and tender ballad. This is the sound of a band playing for the love of it, and it shows.
After hearing the Drawing Room: Volume 1 you immediately want to hear Volume 2. Sadly this hasn’t been conceived yet you’ll have to settle with the excellent the Intoxicating Sound of Pedal Steel and Guitar and last year’s 615 to Fame. Let’s hope this Nashville duo don’t leave Volume 2 too long, as this is too good not to deserve a sequel!