Poor Old Shine
Poor Old Shine
3½ stars (out of 5)
By Larry Stephens
Some music defies genre pigeonholing. Poor Old Shine’s press release says they are a roots band with a grassroots ethos. That effectively doesn’t say diddly. They mention the country swing of an old-time string band to describe what they aren’t, and that’s apt. Bluegrass is mentioned somewhere and they are not that, either. As soon as I heard their music I was transported back a few decades the the Grateful Dead’s heyday. POS is reincarnating the music the Dead made.
They are fun listening. I’m not sure what their target demographic is, but I like this music (and I’m a big fan of 50′s on 5, etc. on SiriusXM). Some of it is campy—”Ghosts Next Door” has a theme I really don’t get and they added a weird background sound that is supposed to emanate from a ghostly presence—but it’s easy to listen to. This is music that has words that aren’t all that important to most of us. No doubt some close followers will know every word and hum along, their eyes lighting up like cigarette lighters in a dark stadium. Most of us, if we try to sing along, will totally mess it up, like the line “there’s a bathroom on the right” that really isn’t in “Bad Moon Rising.” But you don’t have to understand them to enjoy them.
“Empty Rocking Chair” starts off with just the singer, a drum and a guitar, who tells us, “I left your mouth so full of questions in an empty rocking chair.” The message is understandable, oddly put but understandable. The background music remains minimal, including a melodic banjo interlude, emphasizing the vocalist who tells his story in sometimes puzzling terms. I’m sure the lyrics make perfect sense to the composer (listed simply as the band, without individual credits). “Footsteps In My Ear” has a fantastic classic rock sound, but that’s their signature.
If your first reaction when I mentioned the Dead was “right on!” or if you just like fun music, this one’s for you.