Haynes Boys / Burn Barrel – Lakeside Lounge (New York City, NY)
When are the Haynes Boys not really the Haynes Boys? When they’re Burn Barrel, apparently.
After their debut CD and an acclaimed solo effort from lead singer Tim Easton, the Haynes Boys have teamed up with fellow Ohioan J.P. Olsen to release Reviled under the Burn Barrel moniker. To promote the disc, the band(s) embarked on a three-night New York City swing, which culminated at the intimate Lakeside Lounge, where, chances are, you’ll get really close to your neighbor by night’s end.
The evening started off as a Haynes Boys show, with Easton promising to “keep it mellow for the fire codes.” Happily, he reneged on his promise early with the ramshackle rock of “Just Like Home”, which caused some of the crowd to filter over from the bar area. The band, which featured Phillip Park on guitar, Matt Surgeson on bass, and the barefoot Jovan Karcic on drums, continued to glide along with an energetic version of “Special 20” and the appropriately understated “Jackie”. Easton also hit the right balance of mellow and somber on “All The Pretty Girls Leave Town”, which he played as Olsen tuned his guitar.
Then, after Easton declared, “The name of this band now is Burn Barrel,” they kicked into the infectiously poppy “Mrs. Tubbs”, showcasing Olsen’s songwriting ability. His specialty, gleaned from his work as a crime reporter, involves crafting bizarre tales around strange situations. “Mrs. Tubbs”, for instance, is the story of a mother pondering the fate of her daughter, who’s wanted for grand larceny.
Olsen also has a pretty distinctive singing voice, fairly nasal — one of those voices people think it’s a hoot to imitate. As the night moved on, his voice started to wear a bit, moving from pleasant nasal whine to grating nasal bleat. It became particularly annoying on some of the slower numbers, such as “Bad Florida” and “Little Cowboys”. But when Olsen’s voice threatened to drive people away, the band picked up the slack, powering through rollicking, late-set covers of “Cigarettes, Whiskey And Wild, Wild Women” (featuring guest Joe Ciriello on washboard) and “Walking The Dog”.
As the clock struck 11, Easton realized those who came to see the more country-leaning Haynes Boys might be leaving disappointed. Before closing with a solo take on “Bitters Past”, he searched for some perspective. “We’re not a country band, by any means. This is a pop band, but…” Easton said, trailing off. “We just have fun, don’t we?”