Review: Emory Quinn – See You at the Next Light (TEG, 2010)
If you charted the Texas trio Emory Quinn amid the circles of a Venn diagram, you’d find them at an intersection that neatly combines twang, beat and melody. For those who like their country to rock, and their rock to sparkle with catchy melodies, these ten original songs will have you humming along as you imagine yourself moving to the band’s guitar-bass-drums in a Texas dance hall. Clint (Quinn) Bracher sings with enough rootsy emotion to keep country radio at bay, but in a world where the Eagles and Wallflowers once had hit records (and numerous Nashville acts are only a pace or two away from rock), one can hope this sort of musical hybrid could again find a mainstream audience.
Bracher’s an ace wordsmith who employs a mix of detail and allusion, setting concrete moments amid more ephemeral thoughts. The group’s melodies are often misleadingly upbeat, hiding the dark murder and unhinged smile of “Holes Through the Windows” behind Byrds-like jangle and harmony. The banjo closer “Falling Down Again” is among the more chipper songs about detoxing you’re likely to hear, and though Dylan and Petty are obvious touchstones, there’s also the wariness and foreboding of Chris Knight in “Tear Down the Walls.” Bracher explores both sides of a vagabond’s life in a pair of songs; the rootless party times of “Moving On” offer contrast to the enduring loneliness of constant motion in “Finds Danger.”
Emory Quinn is a talented band with impressive original material and the musical chops to bring their vision to fruition. They create fuller arrangements in the studio than the basic sound of their stage performances (such as heard on Live at Gruene Hall), but they never overdo it. Nathan (Emory) Rigney adds finely played touches of guitar, violin, banjo and pedal steel, bassist Case Bell offers up a tasty keyboard solo on “When I Dream,” and touches of strings add atmosphere without overshadowing the group’s basic sound. Here’s hoping the band finds a way to break out of the Texas dance hall and college circuit!