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Drunken Prayer At The Grand Ole Echo, Sunday August 19th 2012

Indie-folk band Drunken Prayer played a set during the weekly Grand Ole Echo last Sunday, and the two men on stage went through a series of songs from their latest release ‘Into the Missionfield’ as well as older ones. But Drunken Prayer is essentially Morgan Christopher Geer, who writes the songs, and who was only accompanied by his bassist this time.

 

If the Grand Ole Echo brings country music and this sort of ‘Americana’ brand that can apply to a lot of genres, Drunken Prayer’s music could easily fit into a lot of categories too, with bitter-sweet-ironic ballads like ‘Maryjane’ or fast tempo garage-rockers like ‘Ain’t No Grave’. May be it was due to the fact they were only two on stage, but Geer’s main instrument seemed to be his voice, strong and deep, leading the rest through stories mentioning a hell of times the devil, graves, judgment day and girls naturally. If Geer had appropriately been compared a lot to Warren  Zevon, his tone of voice on this 'Maryjane' song reminded me a little about a Randy Newman,… with a beard. His songs were pure storytelling like ‘The Beachcomber’, which was a nice acoustic remorseful tune dealing with a softer sound, may be closer to a Portland sound (the band is from the Oregon city), if such a thing exists.

 

There was no doubt that tunes like ‘Pearls and Swine’ or ‘I’m Gonna Lay Down in Front of My Lord’ from their previous and self-title release, were totally at home at the Grand Ole Echo, with their beautiful country arrangements and gospelish ambiances. However, the sonic diversity was there, with songs like ‘Always Sad’ mixing pop and being reluctantly country and others totally embracing the Americana sound like the slow-paced of ‘Tramp On the Street’, which seemed to have borrowed something from the big classic country ballads. There even were a few bluesy numbers, and Morgan Geer and his impassible bassist, after a cover of Merle Haggard's 'I can`t hold myself in line', closed the show with the whipped-rhythm of an almost Cash-inspired song, ‘I’ve Been Down A Mighty Long Time’, a totally high-energy number!

 

I was just regretting that the band had to perform so early in the afternoon, since the music could have taken a whole new turn if played late in the evening, when people have already drunk too many glasses, and begin to adopt a behavior matching the band’s moniker.

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