Ryan Davis • Julia Blair • King Courteen
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After more than fifteen years of music released on labels like Feeding Tube, Load Records, Astral Spirits, Bruit Direct Disques, Petty Bunco, All Gone, and others (including, if not primarily, his very own Sophomore Lounge imprint) as/alongside such outfits as State Champion, Tropical Trash, Equipment Pointed Ankh, Roadhouse, and others, “Dancing On The Edge” — a seven song, 53 minute basement folk opus — is the first collection of material released under Kentuckiana-based visual artist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Ryan Davis’ birth name.
The tunes on the album range from bare-boned, achingly crooned avant-honky tonk tales to jovial, full-band excursions into long-form experimental country-tinged rock modes. Continuing in the tradition of the TVZs, Terry Allens, Souled Americans, and DC Bermans before him, this 2xLP reimagines the exceedingly dated archetype of modern day “indie troubadour” music and the inherent trappings therein.
Davis’ solo debut is a dense collection of Americana-Noir that navigates a familiar yet alternate reality, one of enchanted mundanity and uniquely mid-southern introspection. Simultaneously anti-social and outwardly inviting, free of cynicism yet slightly steeped in paranoia, “Dancing On The Edge” is as delicately choreographed and emotionally connective as it is, at times, absurd.
Julia Blair was born of this world as a force to smother the disquieting agents of despair- and as a gentle soul that no-less employs her mighty voice to speak truth to power. Those who know her personally know this, and those who have heard her sing know this as well. On her debut solo album for Crutch of Memory Enterprises, Better Out Than In, Julia proclaims her fondness for self-expression and demonstrates her aptitude for dynamics: from the explosive nature of a pop hook to the firm, comforting grip of a lullaby. She does so at-times anecdotally, while utilizing the marriage of sophisticated arrangements and plain-spoken lyrical language.
Michael Gerlach builds beautiful things from nothing. As a woodworker, he transforms razed relics from Milwaukee’s industrial past into things like furniture and visual art. As King Courteen, the Riverwest singer-songwriter and pastor’s son constructs folk renderings known to captivate audiences using little more than the raw material of an acoustic guitar and his re-purposed choral background. -Milwaukee Record