|Tom Radigan – drums/vocals, David DeVoe – guitar/vocals etc, Jeremy Ziehe – bass guitar, Greg Pasquariello – guitar/vocals|
Denver-based Americana act New Ben Franklins continue their 23-year career with the release of two new albums titled Something Old Something New and Something Borrowed Something Blue. Released separately but intended as a companion set, the recordings collect nine original songs written by vocalist/guitarist David DeVoe and nine cover songs that run the gamut from full-blooded Country & Western to British Shoegaze.
Showcasing songs that the Franklins have been honing in their live set over the past year. Something Old Something New collects a wide range of textures, from the plucky, poppy “Here Comes Chris” to the pure country twang of “I Don't Know What's Wrong With You Why Won't You Break My Heart?” and “Annie's Song (Down In Denton)”, to the Southern Rock of “Pied Piper” that leaves a bit of Southern Rock on the palate. “Beautiful Queen” is a wonderful love song to the fast-changing city of Denver, while “Michael” is a darkly beautiful tribute to one of DeVoe's favorite songwriters, Michael Been of The Call. The inclusion of “Whatever Happened to What's His Name?”, a track that recently appeared on the soundtrack for the motion picture The Creep Behind the Camera, is noteworthy in its hilarious lampooning of old timey American music.
Something Borrowed Something Blue somewhat follows the timeline of how DeVoe was introduced to different types of music, kicking off with a Waylon Jennings tune (How could it not? The band plays a series of Waylon tribute shows every February to mark the death anniversary of Jennings). Standouts include a retelling of the Echo and The Bunnymen classic “Bring On The Dancing Horses” and a noisome take on Swervedriver's “Last Train To Satansville.” The band even dug out a live version of a Catherine Wheel song, “Salt”, recorded with original band members back in 2000. And recalling DeVoe's Tucson roots is a brilliant Southwestern version of Tom Waits' “Jockey Full Of Bourbon.”
The two releases follow New Ben Franklins' critically acclaimed 2012 epic [peter gabriel]. Work on the two releases spanned just over two years and included a vast assortment of musical friends lending their talents to the songs. What began life as a simple two-EP project somehow dragged on much longer than originally planned. DeVoe recalls the records taking so long to be finished because “every time I would think we were getting close to a track listing, another song would pop up. It got to the point where thirteen months in I was getting frustrated that it was taking so long to finish two five-song EPs, so I sat down and made a track listing and realized we'd grown this thing into two full length records!”
New Ben Franklins are currently playing in and around the Rocky Mountain region with plans to do small regional touring to promote the new releases in spring. The band comprises David DeVoe (vocals, guitars), Jeremy Ziehe (bass), Tom Radigan (drums), and Greg Pasquariello (guitars). Not one to rest on his laurels, DeVoe is already beginning work on the band's next release which he says will be a “much darker, moodier collection of songs.”
These are quite good albums and you should purchase them both, the first from here, and the second here.