I’m gonna admit up front that if you’re looking for an “objective” review of the album, then you may as well hit your browser’s back button right now. I’m not here to be objective about the music I love, and as any regular here knows, not only do I love the music these guys make, I like them as people, too. That said, no matter how much I like a band, I’m not in the business of convincing myself that I like something (see the last few DBT cd reviews), so I hope you believe that my enthusiasm for this album is genuine.
Two Cow Garage could not have found a more fitting month to release their fifth album, Sweet Saint Me, than Rocktober. Over the past eight years I’ve watched these guys morph from what one might call a heavy metal alt.country band into a straight forward bar room rock band, before adding keys to their sound in 2008 and becoming a rock and roll force that has taken (in my opinion) the title of Best Touring Rock and Roll Band In America from the Drive-By Truckers tour buses and backstage green room-softened hands. Over those years we’ve also watched them grow as songwriters and people, maturing from the small town youthful angst of the first two album, to the doubt and despair of being in a struggling band that was a large overtone of the last two albums, to now.
With Sweet Saint Me, gone are those doubts, gone is the despair. In its place is the acceptance of “Soundtrack of My Summer”, the resolve of “Brothers In Arms” and the battle cry of “My Great Gatsby”. It took 8 years and 5 albums, but Two Cow Garage has finally decided to shrug the jacket of discontent and plant their flag firmly at the 50 yard line of rock and roll’s home turf.
What do you say after that? Is it Essential Listening? Absolutely. Is it one of the best albums of the year? No doubt about it. Is it their best album ever? Man, that’s tough. Personally, I am looking at Sweet Saint Me as a reboot of the band. Two Cow v.2, if you will. I will say this, it’s easily the best collection of songs they’ve ever released. I’ll say that, even though I think the best song Micah’s ever written was “Skinny Legged Girl”, Sweet Saint Me displays Micah’s best songwriting to date, and once the pure rock fury (can you name the rock reference right there?) gets comfortable there will be plenty of depth in the words to keep you flush with heady obscure lyric quotes for Twitter for months. I will also say it’s the best album they’ve ever done instrumentally and it’s easily their most confident album ever.
So, behold. This is a great little band, and just because you may not have heard of them doesn’t change that. Once I watched a Black Keys show here in Tampa with maybe 50 other people. The next time they played Tampa they were in a fucking amphitheater. Get on board now, skip one 8 dollar, double mocha, double extra soy frapp with extra reverse zahbe-dah from Starbucks and buy an .mp3 copy of this album.
Tampa/St. Pete folk: Two Cow Garage will be coming to New World Brewery in support of Sweet Saint Me on Monday, October 11th. Cover will be $8.00. I hope to see some of y’all there.