In the end, it’s the final song, “Days to Come”, from the new self-titled Gypsy Revival EP, that gives a listener reason to think these guys are worth following. Clearly the rootsiest, most country rock take on the record, it sounds like they’ve been listening to Old Crow Medicine Show, as they make the line “Back then, everybody was living to be laid; today, everybody is living to be laid” sound tossed off and brilliant at the same time.
The Indianapolis alt-country/Americana/rock band, who went to Nashville to cut the record, give the CD an unexpected ending, following a rush of five songs that recall Steely Dan, Ben Folds and Lynyrd Skynyrd in their rootsy take on piano-and-guitar rock. One thinks of those bands because of a loose but intelligent piano that’s prominent in the mix.
The band’s version of Americana includes barreling and often soulful keyboard rock, Stones guitars, and eventually some crying lap-steel country music. They mix in some choice lyrics to make a record that gets better after a half-dozen listens.
Formed from the now defunct Indianapolis band Davey and The Chorus Caravan (Americana with their blend of country, rock and folk), Gypsy Revival was launched in early 2009, and includes three members of the Caravan Davey Allen, drummer Mike Sanson and guitarist Jesse Langebartels with the addition of Andy Nathan on bass.
“Leather Jacket Blues” from the new album echoes Chris Robinson and the Black Crowes weedy jams, with BTO-stuttering vocals atop a snare and lead guitar-driven tune. “Daniel Johnston” gallops along with an Elton John circa “Tumbleweed Connection” pulse, and there are enough jam band touches on the record (liquid lead guitar leads, piano breakdowns ramping into another chorus and solo) for them to stretch out live.
There’s also enough energy in the tracks to make them work – though I would say “take me higher” to the guys, and add some of the rush and abandon from the live shows (check out “Jumpin’ Jack Flash/Youngblood” medley from the Dave and the Chorus Caravan myspace page) within the songs, because even the mid-tempo songs are strong enough to take more punishment. In a live setting, they become a rootsy and rocky Indiana bands to watch.
For some more insight into the live show, hear a version of the Rolling Stones classic “Dead Flowers” on their current website. It gives another whiff of the scruffy side of the band, and a sound that suits them well – and me too. Dueling guitars, panned left and right. Keith Richards-soaked vocals. Yeah, we’ ve all heard the song covered by dozens of bands, but the grittiness of their version is a reminder that there’s a spark – and more – to what they are trying to restart.