Recorded in April of 2012 at Seattle, WA’s Café Racer, City Man finds Lonesome Shack’s original core duo of drummer Kristian Garrard and guitarist/vocalist Ben Todd joined by bassist Luke Bergman. Bergman’s presence is often more felt than heard: he muscles up the Shack’s raw country blues sound that Todd and Garrard are known for without reshaping it, patrolling the territory that lies somewhere between the bass drum pedal and the thumb of Ben Todd’s picking hand. At times Bergman is so in synch with his bandmates that you might not know there was a bass there … except for the fact that Lonesome Shack’s grooves on City Man often feel like they’re about to take out Café Racer’s walls at any moment.
Garrard and Todd do that thing they do so well: take ahold of rawboned blues by the horns and put their own twist on it. On the surface, it’s easy to burrow into City Man and imagine it was recorded in some Mississippi juke joint a long, long time ago (accentuated by the fact that Todd pushes both his guitar and the vocal through the same little amp). But when you put an ear to what’s really going on, you start hearing all the subtle-but-wild-ass stuff Garrard’s doing – or the cool how-did-he-do-that riffs Todd pulls, tugs, and flecks out of his Tiesco’s strings – or Bergman’s not-what-you-would’ve-expected-was-going-to-happen approach to blues bass. And therein lies the secret to Lonesome Shack: you can have a happy, casual hangout with City Man and have a good time – or you can dig into the thing as deeply as you like and find a treasure trove of mind-blowing grooves that go somewhere beyond the traditional.
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