Built4BBQ reviews: The Urban Pioneers’ “Feast or Famine”

Urban Pioneers

The melodic melting pot known as Roots Music. The accumulation of the more traditional genres: Americana, Blues, Country, Bluegrass, and yes, even a little Punk. Held together with banjos and dobros. Rhythmically kneaded by double bass and stirred vigorously with fiddle. Whether you know it or not, the combination in any form will suck you in quicker than West Virginia mud. Don’t try to fight it. Just hold your breath and sink in.

At the head of the pack, with more mile markers in their rearview than most, are the lovable duo of Liz Sloan and Jared McGovern. The two have nurtured their craft as the defiant book ends of the stage, encasing such notable talent as Bob Wayne and Jayke Orvis to name a few. It wasn’t until the Autumn of 2013 when the pair took center stage as The Urban Pioneers.

Lay the hammer down, as they say, and you find them neck deep in quarter notes to quarter miles releasing their third full length in three years – a feat any band should be proud of. Appropriately named “Feast or Famine”, the title, as well as the cover art by Quinton Baker, conjures the “now or never” spirit. The “eat or be eaten” reality of nearly 300 days a year on the road. Asking, can this continue on? Can album number three really live up to its predecessors?

2016 left the band with big shoes to fill. Their previous album, “Vehicle in Transit” (May 2015) was nothing short of spectacular from beginning to its six-minute-long end with “Just Over The Horizon”, a Hungarian gypsy-style rager that leaves your heart racing on the corner. So what’s next? “Feast or Famine” has the answer. It does more than provide. It satisfies. Jared and Liz snatch you up right where they left you a year ago. Courageously starting the album with a scorching instrumental priming the pump for another big go-around, The Urban Pioneers whirl you and wow you with their tenacious speed and fury right before hitting the brakes.

“Feast or Famine” seems to officially begin with track two, “Sunrise After Sunset”, a step into the more traditional sound they do best. The charm of Texas swing colliding with the ballads of the Blue Ridge. Much like Jared and Liz, a match made in heaven. The album continues to follow suit with the previous full lengths. A blend of stories running the emotional gamut from teary eyed heart melters to cheeky humor spun to make you smile. Not forgetting to toss in a couple of traditional numbers like “Lazy Bones” and even a few moments reminiscent of their time in The Broken Band. It has become the Urban Pioneers’ simple but highly effective equation for creating a great album.

Improvements shine brightest in the musicians themselves. The inclusion of Martin Sargent’s on-point upright bass playing sets a solid foundation for Jared’s claw hammer banjo and Liz’s hellfire fiddle, which have both become faster and more refined (I didn’t think it was possible either). The raspy lead vocal from Jared has been honed and even found sultry at times and when combined with Liz’s voice, which plays a much bigger part on this album (hallelujah!),  you get a more fantastic dynamic between the two. Liz even takes lead on their version of Ola Belle Reed’s “High on the Mountain”.

In addition to the three piece, accompaniment from the likes of Abel Casillas (accordion), J.D. Wilkes (harmonica), and Joe Macheret (guitar) polish up “Feast or Famine” with a professional sense of taste and quality. Just what any solid studio album needs.

If one wish could be granted it would be more “Cincinnati” Joe Macheret in the mix. His Terminator guitar, though played wonderfully, would have been a bit more effective with a small twist of the volume knob. Yet, beggars can’t be choosers.

Everything considered, “Feast or Famine” is clearly another Urban Pioneers must-have. Find out more at www.urbanpioneersmusic.com or look them up on Facebook. Go to a show and pick up the great deal they offer on all three albums, because any one or two is just not enough. You need the trifecta, believe me. You’ll thank me. You’ll thank yourself. Mostly, you’ll thank the Urban Pioneers!

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Save the date!

7-1-16 flyer.JPG

Start training now – Built4BBQ’s third annual STAR SPANGLED BONANZA returns to The Low Beat & Pauly’s on Friday, July 1! Stay tuned for more info coming at ya real soon.

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Seeya in the pit.

EPSON MFP image

This is why John makes most of our flyers.

Built4BBQ’s got a whole lotta punk rock coming your way.

Our resident ska/punks  Girth Control hit the road for a few days in early April, spreading the “get stoked” gospel to the good folks of Cleveland, Buffalo and Syracuse.

They’ll make their return home on April 14 on a stacked lineup at The Low Beat with the notorious Hellasexuals, Buffalo rippers On the Cinder and those righteous Savage Randys. Lace up the boots and RSVP here.

Long-promised new stuff from the Randys is near at hand, and it’s gonna hit you a like piledriver. We’re stoked to be working more with those guys and everyone’s favorite R’n’R SOBs  New Red Scare this year. Seeya in the pit.

 

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Doubleheaders and new records

3-11 happy hr

Ten Foot Polecats 3-11-16

Once again, Built4BBQ brings you two for the price of one on Friday, March 11 at The Low Beat. Surf on into the weekend with a FREE happy hour show featuring the mighty Kimono Dragons and a rare solo set from Party Boat/Rechorduroys mastermind Ben Garrett! All the surf-pop-fuzz-rock you can deal with, plus fine drink specials and good company… the music kicks off at 6! RSVP here.

For a little cash on the barrelhead (5 bucks, to be exact), you can stick around for a rockin’ night of punk rock blues with Henry’s Rifle, local punk rockers The Savage Randys and Boston roots rippers Ten Foot Polecats. That’s a triple bill for the ages… put it all together and you’ve got yourself quite a Friday night. Find the Facebook event here.

Speaking of Henry’s Rifle… recording’s officially underway for the new EP, Arkansas. Along with the patented Pipino blend of  rip-roarers and heartbreakers, there’s some spooky stuff in the works like you’ve never heard from this guy before. Stay tuned, all this and lots more on the way from the BBQ pit in 2016.

HR rec

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Built4BBQ Happy Hour

Happy Hour 2-12-16

It’s the happiest hour of the week, and Built4BBQ is here to make it even happier! A new series of FREE Friday shows at The Low Beat kicks off on February 12 with BBQ favorites Girth Control & Henry’s Rifle! All the drink specials and good times you can handle, all for the low price of free! Make a night out of it and stick around for the late show with Kimono Dragons, Hammer Hawk & Colorway.

And mark your calendars for the March Happy Hour with those same Kimono Dragons on 3/11, followed immediately by another killer late show with Ten Foot Polecats and Henry’s Rifle! 2 for the price of 1, double trouble, BOGO… whatever you wanna call it, you can’t beat it. 5 o’clock’s right around the corner…we’ll see ya at the Low Beat!

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Henry’s Rifle hits the boards.

Built4BBQ’s resident country-blues heartbreaker, art director and head honcho Henry’s Rifle is back in a big way this winter. After laying low for a few months, the Rifle reappeared at Funsgiving and has a few great shows lined up.

First up, check out one heck of an Americana bill at The Low Beat December 5 as John opens for Boston honky-tonk heroes Girls Guns and Glory.

Girls Guns Glory

Another Henry’s Rifle original!

And as the calendar turns, the Low Beat hosts “The Art & Music of Henry’s Rifle,” a free happy hour show on January 8. A combination art installation and performance, the evening will feature the first-ever gallery showing of John’s prolific, righteous artwork – which you’ll recognize from many Built4BBQ show posters, t-shirts and albums past – alongside a floorshaking live performance. And of course, there’s drink specials. This is the first in a series of free Built4BBQ happy hours coming your way – stay tuned for more!

We’ve got a lot to be thankful for and a lot to be stoked about in 2016. From the Built4BBQ family to yours, happy holidays and tasty times into the new year and beyond!

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Funsgiving!

Another radical flyer by Henry's Rifle.

Another radical flyer by Henry’s Rifle.

Give thanks, friends! Worlds collide as Built4BBQ teams up with the fine folks at B3nson Recording Company to present the 8th annual Family Funsgiving at The Low Beat & Pauly’s November 20!

In the grand tradition of Thanksgiving overindulgence, we’ve packed 8 righteous bands into one $8 evening. Built4BBQ head honchos The Slaughterhouse Chorus and Henry’s Rifle, Syracuse buds Bridge Under Fire and new 518 rippers Bummer City (formerly Dearest Vendetta) join forces with B3nson heroes Hammer Hawk, Bear Grass, the Hoborchestra and Secret Release! We’re psyched to be able to help carry on this Thanksgiving tradition as B3nson celebrates 8 years of awesome. Find more info at the Facebook event page.

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Upcoming Events
  • The Deacons, Javier & Los Dish Dogs, Kimono Dragons, Girth Control at the Low Beat June 4, 2016 at 8:00 pm – 12:00 am the Low Beat
  • SAVE THE DATE! Built4BBQ's Star Spangled Bonanza 3! July 1, 2016 at 7:00 pm – 12:00 am
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