The latest buzz out of Sante Fe is a man named Jono Manson (first name sounds like U2's Bono, last name sounds like Helter Skelter's Charlie). But he's not a native; in the early Eighties, Manson and his band, the Worms, galvanized Manhattan's downtown bar circuit, from which acts like the Spin Doctors and Blues Traveler emerged. Recently, he left New York to live in Tesuque, New Mexico, where he's practically become the Dali Lama of local music.
One Horse Town is nothing short of a portable Saturday night. It comes complete with smoking horns, hot players--like the late keyboard god Nicky Hopkins, drummer Ian Wallace and harpist John Popper--and no-frills R&B, and all that's missing is Manson working the crowd between songs. Equal parts NRBQ, Asbury Jukes and side four of Exile on Main Street, Manson makes the miles between Santa Fe and the Big Apple melt away. The standout cut is the title track, a poignant, soulful ballad about being a big fish in a small pond. What are you waiting for? Reel him in! Call 1-505-989-2564 to order a copy.
Okay. Idaho is a band from L.A. with an East Coast edge that makes it sound like a slightly Seattle-ized copy of a mopey San Francisco act (American Music Club, Red House Painters, etc.).
Except when massive Dinosaur Jr. tendencies send all reference points running for cover.
Jeff Martin is Idaho's lead singer, guitarist and chief depressive. His influences indicate way too much time watching 120 Minutes, which explains the depression. But the guy's onto something when he shuts his mind off, turns his amp down low and picks out unique combinations of guitar notes to laze along with his gloomy croon.
This Way Out is gorgeous in spots--"Sweep" is especially nice, and "Fuel" makes for a fascinating impression of a lethargic pop song. It all makes you wonder what Martin's capable of when fully conscious.