Dexter Romweber – Folk Songs
Dexter Romweber is a funny kind of guy. At first casual listen, the singer/guitarist of the Flat Duo Jets sounds like a trailer park troubadour. He spouts the unrefined brilliance that seeps from the untapped wilderness of the American southeast: Having once heard Elvis on the AM band, all scratchy hot ‘n’ bothered, a country boy innocently plugs in a guitar and channels the wisdom of the ages into a primitive, twangy stomp and a guttural wail.
Well, that’s all fine, but Dex is more than a carbon copy of Hasil Adkins. There are obvious similarities, but Romweber is an educated savage. On Folk Songs, a compilation of solo lo-fi recordings (several songs were recorded in his mother’s bathroom!) made between ’91 and ’94, he draws on not only his ’50s rockabilly ancestors for inspiration, but also jazz crooners and classical composers. There are even smidgens of folk, as the album’s title would suggest.
Probably the most startlingly divergent moments here are the two organ songs, which have enough eerie ambience to score a silent vampire movie, and the almost Jim Morrison-ish spoken word “Marching Diamonds”, backed by a rickety Pong sound-alike keyboard.
Overall, it seems Romweber can lend his considerable talent to just about any musical genre and come up with something interesting — and, more often than not, good.