Ancient, Pete (Band) - 2000 Lady On The Radio

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ARTIST: Pete Ancient Band
ALBUM: Lady On The Radio
LABEL: Self Released
YEAR: 2000

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image
LINEUP: Pete Ancient - vocals, guitars * Andi Wiesend - brushes, backing vocals * Uli Messerschmitt - bass * Carsten Paul - guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 Lady On The Radio * 02 Tequila Hideaway * 03 More Than A Little * 04 Ain't Gonna Be * 05 Wherever You'll Be * 06 Greener * 07 Enchanted Forest * 08 Crooked Road

Background

According to his press bio, singer/songwriter Pete Ancient once played the role of Jesus in a rock version of 'Jesus Christ Superstar'. It's perhaps premature to label Pete and his band as potential saviours of a genre overrun with a glut of generic and mass-produced acts, but on the evidence of 'Lady On The Radio', they are without doubt making a good job of resurrecting it.

When I add that Pete Ancient is actually a German aiming to gatecrash the party of new country music, it proves that everything good in this genre doesn't necessarily have to hail from Nashville. On their self released mini album, The Pete Ancient Band play a stripped down, acoustic and melodic blend of pop and folk, as well as traditional and new country, all performed with conviction and no lack of talent.

And it's not just the packaging of the CD (a metallic tin) which demonstrates a thoughtfulness and originality lacking in other independent bands.

The Songs

Title track and opener 'Lady On The Radio' demonstrates the band's tight organic sound and right from the opening bars hits all the right places melodically. Proving this music's broad crossover appeal, the song is so imbued with pop sensibilities that even people who aren't keen on new or traditional country will appreciate its melody line.

Of the two more traditional country cuts, 'Tequila Hideaway' manages to deal with a fairly well - worn lyric theme without descending too far into the realm of the cliche, and the intelligently written 'Greener', contains some nice time changes. Indeed, there is definitely more to these songs than just new or traditional country.

The epic and emotive 'Enchanted Forest' is a tune Dylan-esque in its ability to send shivers down your spine upon hearing it, while the well written and philosophical 'Crooked Road' demonstrates a catchy line in acoustic based folk-pop.

The album is thankfully free of any fancy production embellishments - it sounds as if it was recorded live in one take and the contributions of the other members on brushes, bass and guitar respectively, manage to create a rich sound texture to complement Pete's clean vocals. Those vocals shine most effectively on the acoustic pop of 'Ain't Gonna Be', 'Wherever You Be' and best track on the album, 'More Than A Little'.

The first two tunes display a remarkable grasp of a tongue that is not naturally Pete's own - unless you were told, you would not know he hailed from Germany. Whist the passionate pleas of 'More Than A Little' wander spectacularly into ballad territory and reminds me of when good music - country or otherwise - was about real emotions, sincerity and expression, rather than swagger, superficiality or a relentless PR machine.

In Summary

With minimum emphasis on technicality or embellishment and maximum emphasis on songs, intimacy and subtlety, The Pete Ancient Band have delivered a fine album which pushes the boundaries of both new and traditional country.

I have had a sneak peak of their upcoming EP 'Rides On' and there is more to come from these guys yet. Rather than Pete Ancient, perhaps the name should be Pete Future, as on this evidence, that is what he and the band look to have.


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