For his long-awaited follow-up to Under the Crazy Hat, Tempe guitar virtuoso Joe Myers, his artist/writer wife Casebeer and their two children set up shop in a legendary New York landmark for little more than a year, until the events of 9/11 cut short their stay. It'd be hard to imagine a more perfect love letter to the century-old cultural mecca, and rather than name-drop the Chelsea's illustrious roster of ghosts, the couple pays tribute to its actual structure, the characters outside of its walls and the odd, unidentified noises down the hall.
As a vocalist, Myers sounds like a man both scared and exhilarated to be dwarfed by the city. The instrumental passages here convey the sense of foreboding that we attach to music made before the attack on the Twin Towers. Instead, we should attribute it to the inherent tension of a musician leaving the safe confines of Tempe and putting his artistry on the line.
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Myers and Casebeer have also managed to top their previous packaging efforts (CDs encased in wooden crates and snuff boxes) by replicating the Hotel Chelsea matchbook in CD size and bundling it with both fake and real matches. Striking!