Mahan's bread-and-butter is elegant, graceful and often poetic Americana music, with songs built around his sturdy acoustic playing and imagery-laden lyrics. On Daydream, there are some of Mahan's best ever songs in that style (the minimal title track and the slow-burner "Fireflies"), but the rest of the album shows that he is not limited to any one specific "genre" when writing.
Calypso rhythms imbue "Mento" with a sassy strut, sounding like a weird mesh of Graceland-era Paul Simon and neo-Eastern European revivalists like DeVotchKa, while "Wink 'n' a Smile" closes the album on a playful, sunny Pop note. Producer Brian Lovely helps achieve a crisp sound that allows the songs to breathe and the musicians that flesh out the arrangements (with everything from strings to drums) perform flawlessly.
Thirty-Five-Cent Daydream sounds as good as any "Roots" album you'll hear this year, local or otherwise. Here's a prediction for ya -- local NPR affiliate WNKU is going to play the shit out of this one. Other programmers would be smart to follow suit. (Find out more at gregmahan.com.)
More Local Notes
� Kim Taylor has formed a new backing band, which debuts Saturday at the Northside Tavern. Her new crew is pretty "all-starry," featuring Reuben Glaser and Jesse Ebaugh from Pearlene and Steve McCabe of wil-o-ee. Taylor promises "all new songs" Saturday as well. Singer/songwriter Ben Sollee opens the free 10 p.m. show. (kim-taylor.net)
� Following up last year's tribute to David Bowie, another "tribute/benefit" show is happening Saturday at the Southgate House to raise funds for the Drew Campbell Memorial Fund. The Fund was set up in the name of a young boy who was killed when his father accidentally hit him with his truck. The fund has so far helped buy several billboards around town that preach child safety. On Saturday, Prince will be tributed by a bevy of local musicians. Artists signed on for "Prince Fest" include Abiyah, Da Muttss, Joe Hedges, Wake the Bear, The Seedy Seeds, Moped Mafia, Chick Pimp and several others. (princefest.com)
� Blue Jordan Records is beginning a series of "Living Room Shows," intimate concerts that will take place in someone's private home or backyard. The first show is Friday and features singer/songwriters Mike Helm and Liz Bowater. Tickets are $10 and can be bought online in advance (go to bluejordan.com for directions and further info). "Season tickets" are also available for $75; those will get you into all six shows and a copy of a special compilation featuring some of the series' best performances.
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