Just in time for peak fall foliage, the Blind Owl Band are set to release their third studio album, Skeezy Patty on October 13. Hailing from the beautiful Saranac Lake region of the Adirondack Mountains, this 7-year-old quartet resembles the type of grizzly musicians you expect to see kicking up dust at a bluegrass festival. The self-proclaimed “Freight Train String Music” that they create can be heard heading down the tracks with a thunderous roar that certainly resembles bluegrass, but with a little extra coal added to the fire.
In the third spot, “Hit Em High” clocks out as the longest track on the album and tightly packs a fantastic bass breakdown into the genre-blending composition. Christian Cardiello’s uniquely placed slaps add a jazzy undertone to the heavily bluegrass driven tune which combines the elegance of a downtown Manhattan lounge with the rowdiness of an Upstate NY dive bar. The clever lyrics are sung as a team and give each of the members a voice in the storytelling. Imagine a group of gnarly pirates sitting around a bottle of whiskey as the waves chaotically surround and collide into their ship and that is “Hit Em High” in a nutshell.
“Reloading” was thought up by guitarist Arthur Buezo who exchanges lyrics with James Ford on banjo for the song. As the band developed “Reloading” for live shows some of the stylistic layers were transformed into the current composition. One major addition to the studio version is the voice effect used. It is reminiscent of the Tom Waits appearance on Primus’ “Tommy The Cat” which adds a haunting and sadistic character to the lyrics which cover the topic of rejuvenation. For a band that has played over 700 shows since 2011, they know a lot about being on the road and the importance of time management. “We are stronger than we were” suggests that these periods of reloading have been an integral step to developing their first studio album in almost 5 years and now that they are refreshed, they can showcase their growth on the road.
“The Gates” has a waltzy ballroom feel before energetically dancing back into the bluegrass barnyard realm that primarily rules the album. Buezo’s burly and hellish vocals are complimented by the speedy mandolin playing of Eric Munley. As a special addition, an electric guitar finds its way into the studio full of wood and steel for a rare and powerful moment. “Two Sides of Story” is the final track and once again the intelligently crafted lyrics are the highlight of the piece. It comes as a surprise to hear the hipster-esque “Hey!” chant in the background, but this dark and stormy album is anything but predictable. The straightforward composition is a soothing way to close out an album full of peaks and valleys, much like the land where the band was born.
The first Skeezy Patty release party will take place this Friday, October 13 at the Westcott Theater in Syracuse before making their way east to The Hollow in Albany for round two of their album release. Tickets for both shows are available online or at the box office on the day of the show.
Key Tracks: Hit Em High, Electric Chair, Waterhole