Show review: Greyhounds at The Grey Eagle

“As long as you come out to hear us, we’ll keep coming back,” promised guitarist Andrew Trube of Austin-based band Greyhounds. “There are more people than last time we were here.” The crowd numbered optimistically at 30 — a small group inside The Grey Eagle. But Greyhounds, a class act, performed as if it was a sold-out show. Visuals, a lava-lamp backdrop, multiple smoke machines and a dancing spaceman added atmosphere (as did the musicians’ sharp-cut suits following a change from coveralls). But, as much fun as all if that is, Greyhounds provides plenty of ambiance even without props.

20141202_211617_LLS_resizedTrube’s bandmate is keyboardist Anthony Farrell. Together, their sound is a bluesy, groove-heavy take on blue-eyed soul. But each musician, a songwriter in his own right, lends a slightly different flavor to that theme. Trube’s songs — from the tartly funky “Amazing” with its creeping background vocals and clunky beat, to the sharp-edged “St. Louis” with its biting guitar parts — are tightly wrought, driving and command feet to tap if not dance outright. Meanwhile, Farrell’s offerings — from the smoothly emotive “You’re Gone” with its vintage organ tone and percussive shimmer, to the spooky, pervasively moody “Lone Rider,” which spans the velvet-to-fiery range of Farrell’s vocal — are laid back and effortlessly cool.

The video for “Lone Rider,” launched in June does a tidy job of contextualizing the song within the band’s dusky, retro-tinged aesthetic, without diminishing any of the considerable mystique. “What’s on Your Mind,” a sweaty, pulse-thick and falsetto-sliced slow-dance, was also set to video earlier this year. “We know a dude who has a video camera,” Trube said from the stage. “He likes to make weird shit, so we’re like, ‘let’s do this.'”

Hopefully the videos get Greyhounds’ tracks to more ears. The band — together since the end of the ’90s — has already attracted plenty of musician fans. Trube and Farrell’s songs have been covered by the likes of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks; Ruthie Foster sang Greyhounds’ song “Cuz I’m Here” on her album, The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster. The band performed that song at The Grey Eagle, the line “There are times when I can’t stand the thought of talking,” stretched out to give Farrell’s vocal space to unfold. The song pushes the far perimeter of the lanky, loose, emotionally wrung-out soul that Farrell taps into.

20141202_214843_LLS_resizedIt also served as a perfect foil for the band’s material at the other end of the psychic spectrum: The Trube-led, harmonica-driven “Hot Sauce,” for example, or “Soul Navigator,” which could be Greyhounds’ authentic response to “Soul Man.”That song’s got it all — the swagger, the social awareness, the positive outlook and the stomping beat (played by touring member Anthony Cole, a formidable drummer with jazz panache and impeccable taste). Onstage, the spaceman presented Trube with a melodica to play the melody. At the end of the song, Farrell produced his own melodica, ending the song with a harmonized duet set to a bare-bones drumbeat. “We’re thinking of adding a third one for the drummer,” Trube announced. “A melodica three-way.”


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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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