Two Cow Garage frontman Micah Schnabel has quietly self-released a solo album entitled When The Stage Lights Go Dim. The plan is for Suburban Home to release it later this year (or early next) with new artwork, but currently it is only available by emailing Micah’s father.
I’ve always felt like Two Cow is akin to Lucero five years ago, busting their ass on the road and building a rabid following one show at a time. Where Ben (Lucero) writes about the one that got away, Micah likes to write about the misery that the life of building the aforementioned following can produce. Personally, I am constantly surprised at how good Micah is at writing about the struggles of life on the road without ever coming off as whining. Rather, he does it with an eloquence and flair many songwriters can only aspire to.
When The Stage Lights Dim features another 10 tracks of tales from the road and of life in small town Ohio. Musically, the songs are stripped down affairs dominated by Micah and an acoustic guitar, with the occasional piano or backing vocal chiming in. It also features some of the finest songs Micah has ever written in “American Static” and “Cut Me, Mick”. Which brings me to my only complaint (whine?) about the album. I wish so badly some of the tracks like “God and Money” and “Throwing Rocks At The Sun” could have gotten the full Two Cow treatment, but I suppose there’s still hope. I first heard “Swingset Assassin” on a cd-r Micah and his father did together a few years ago.
This album is perfect for winding down in the middle of the night with a whiskey while you wait for the amplifier ring to subside a little. While it might not be a very easy cd to get right now, it’s easy to put it on the Essential Listening list, and I suggest you put the effort into acquiring it.
A Passing Thought: As time goes by and new music comes from Micah, it’s obvious he’s becoming one of the best pure songwriters in this genre. Can you imagine how good the next Two Cow album is gonna be?