Steelism – Ism (Rating 4 out of 5)
At first listen, it would be natural for your ears to question exactly what is going on here. Is this some sort of hipster master plan to inhabit our brain and expose us against our will to sounds and textures not unleashed since the 60’s? Or, and this is more likely the case, are we seeing the go-forward template for quality music in general and the vibrant Nashville scene in particular.
Steelism is mostly an instrumental band with Jeremy Fetzer and pedal steel player Spencer Cullum serving as ring leaders for a circus that sound-melds should-be Bond Themes, Surf Guitar, and Clint Eastwood worthy Ennio Morricone lone gunman riding into Deadwood vibes
On Ism, the duo enlists a posse of the new wave of Nashville denizens including Andrew Combs, Ruby Amanfu, who does a back of the barroom Shirley Bassey inspired job on “Roulette” a song that could easily be a Bond theme, and Tristen who sparkles on the Pop gem “Shake Yout Heel. The opener, “Re-Member,” features an intro that sounds like it jumped right off the grooves of ELO’s version of “Roll Over Beethoven.” Fellow Nashville resident Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys must have been bus, otherwise he would have been hip to the scene joining in on the fun with Duane Eddy, his personal musical muse in tow.
Sprinkled throughout this landscape of textures and sounds are instrumentals that would fit in quite quite nicely in The Tonga Room in San Francisco, or at The Lei Low, our favorite Tiki Bar in Houston.
Take yourself back in time and stay hip to the scene at the same time with a Singapore Sling at the ready and Ism on the turntable. Aloha!