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Beat Jab: Jefferson Street Band, City of Colour

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City of Colour
  • City of Colour
Beat Jab offers reviews in prose poetry form from 2011 Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Emerging Author Award winner Micah Ling.

City and Colour
Little Hell
Dine Alone Records

If you’re feeling like you’ve got a lot at stake—that you’re reflecting, maybe making big decisions—this is your album. “What if I could sing just one song, and it would save somebody’s life?” Maybe things aren’t that desperate, but sometimes everyday life is saving someone’s life by saying the right thing. No pressure. You may know singer-songwriter Dallas Green (hence the band’s name: a city and a color…) from Alexisonfire. But this is a lot more folk/indie rock. Green’s voice is stellar. And it needs to be for these sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hopeful songs. Green sort of wakes you up with his falsetto first line “I heard the church bells from afar,” in the first song, “We Found Each Other In The Dark,” and from there, he settles into an absolutely full sound. Green has some help—other band members pitching in—but he does quite a bit himself: guitar, banjo, harmonica, piano, and percussion. From song to song he relies—in different ways—on certain instruments. There’s something so booming about “Grand Optimist;” about halfway through, the percussion just brings it together, and then lets it all loose.

Jefferson Street Band

If you’ve been in Bloomington recently, you may have unintentionally bumped into the Jefferson Street Band. You were, no doubt, glad that you did. These things happen in Bloomington. This is a group of unsuspecting musicians who will put on a show for you, if you stick around. A marching band of sorts. If you’ve caught them on Kirkwood, or around campus, maybe somewhere amid Occupy Bloomington, you know what can happen when musicians who are interested in doing something new and fun and sort of whacky can come up with. Many of the percussion setups are clearly homemade assortments of bells and drums. Sometimes they venture indoors—they did last week—for a small crowd just off the square. Ben Fowler is the director and plays percussion; he knows just about everything there is to know about drums. Most of the guys in this band do a lot of other things: play in other bands, teach music lessons, work a multitude of jobs. They’ll be volunteering their time to play at the School of Education at IU for kids on MLK day. And yes, they’re releasing an album—due out in March—just in time for spring marching.

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