Hearing Aide: Creamery Station ‘Creamery Station EP’

Connecticut isn’t known to pump out world renowned musicians like New York, Seattle and California do, so it’s refreshing to see a group of guys emerge from the backwoods of the state with some true talent and passion for the art. Over the past three years, Creamery Station has been cooking up a collection that’s surprisingly good.

Creamery says they’re a combination of the Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, The Band, Little Feat, Railroad Earth, David Grisman, Doc Watson, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and their first album is a fantastic representation of all these legendary groups. They manage to sound unique while giving glimpses of the defining characteristics of their inspiration rather than a copy of them. Some songs sound more familiar than others, but this is their  first compilation and it’s thoroughly impressive.

They started from humble beginnings as a small band playing for a few house parties and slowly grew to a full seven-man group that brings a classic and a universally enjoyable country/ jam sound to the stage. They are based in CT but are making their way to New York City for the very first time and are definitely worth checking out.

A lot of the inspiration came from the adventures some members endured, as well as a love for playing and performing music. All of the tracks were written and contributed to by every member of the band, which makes the connection between the musicians something truly exceptional, says singer and mandolin player Dylan Kader. “The energy between us when we play is something special and the crowd can feel that and they respond to it,” said Kader.

This album is a bit all over the place, and that’s meant in the best way possible. Every song has a tie to country music with most of the tracks being based in that genre. But then some can, arguably, even have a reggae feel to it which is a combination that works surprisingly well.

Things start off with “Ramblers Delight” and it’s about as country as it gets. It has a pretty straightforward chord progression with spices of mandolin a violin/ fiddle and relatable lyrical content. The feel of the song changes a bit when a very bluesy and fairly distorted guitar solo rings over the group that reminds listeners that a lot more is in store for the rest of the album. Country sounds are the basis of their musical content but that’s just the ground floor, and it’s a sturdy and simple one to build upon, giving Creamery free range to experiment with all sorts of genres.

“Kansas City Blues” is appropriately named and placed at a  slower pace and even more like the typical melancholy country song. It’s the same sound as “Ramblers Delight” in terms of country sounding instruments, but the pace and chord progressions and lyrics make it a little more somber with just a few hints of uplifting major chords.

“Walking for miles just to get a drink, then resting when we could find the shade, it’s hard to find the time for this poor boy to think, when he only eats if he sings and plays.” It’s still a well done song but this isn’t something that changes the minds of people who don’t like country.

“Railroad Blues” is another very well-performed and professional sounding track. It’s comparably more upbeat and will definitely hit home with anyone willing to give Creamery Station a shot. There are light hints of country style instruments and it is based on a 12 bar blues chord progression which makes this one feel more rock and roll than anything else.

Now “Sam the Clam” is where things get interesting. Harmonica player Don DeStefano dreamt up this song years ago in a separate band of his own while rehearsing backstage of a blues club called “Sam the Clam’s.” John Coltrane and Miles Davis were a big part of the inspiration behind this track as well as renowned harmonica virtuosos like Toots Thielmans and Little Walter. The combination makes for a jazzy, bluesy and damned smooth recording. It’s all instrumental to give keyboardist Jon Truelson, guitarist Jim Kader and DeStefano a chance to strut their stuff. The guitar is set to a perfectly smooth and warm tone, Truelson nails his time in the limelight and DeStefano absolutely kills his solo. It’s definitely the most fascinating song on the album and should be the go-to for first time listeners and those not soon keen on getting into the country scene.

And just like that, “You Did Me Wrong” jumps on and the listener is thrown back into the world of country. Unfortunately, like the first three songs, it blends into the rest of the old-school country scene, but they still absolutely nail the style.

“Out of Reach” is one of the most interesting songs on the album being that a country group created a pretty in-depth reggae sounding song. Everything about it is quintessentially reggae; a down beat, loads of percussion and funky guitar but a little hint of blues with a flavor of harmonica that sets this track apart from other songs of the same style. The best part of this song has to be the guitar solo. It’s a little dissonant and very similar to the styling of Carlos Santana. It’s a phenomenal track considering the roots of the band

The album ends on a bit of a bittersweet note with “Sleep Late,” a very lazy country sound that leaves a little bit of an odd taste in the mouth of the listener, but again, as far as EP’s go, this one was really, really well done.

Again, Creamery Station is coming to New York for the very first time and is going to blow the socks off of anyone that attends. This is a band that will be appreciated most in a live  setting, so see them on Friday, January 20th at American Beauty in Manhattan, find their free first album online, and keep an eye out for their soon to be released full length album, Pastures of Plenty.

Key Tracks: Sam the Clam, Out of My Reach, Railroad Blues, Rambler’s Delight

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