Butcher's Blind,
Destination Blues
(Paradiddle, 2013)

Butcher's Blind must be a more popular band than I had imagined because the first mailing of this CD arrived at my house ripped open, with the one-sheet and other PR materials inside but with the CD itself stolen. From hearing the replacement copy Paradiddle Records sent, I know the thief is having a good time listening, because these guys make fine music.

The guys in question are: Pete Mancini, guitar and vocals; Paul Cianciaruso, drums and vocals; Brian Reilly, bass; and Christopher Smith, piano. Their music is influenced by the usual alt-country heavies -- Gram Parsons, the Band, The Illegitimate Sons, more than a little early Wilco and Uncle Tupelo -- but these guys have thoroughly integrated their influences into a sound that is all theirs.

The opening song, "Nobody Hears What I Say Anymore," announces their arrival. Great harmonies, a Band-like arrangement but with a prominent fiddle and fine song writing. Then they pick up the rock -- a host of guest musicians and a couple of added harmony singers help out.

Mancini's lead vocals are soulful and enthusiastic, selling the lyrics but also establishing a vulnerability that makes the song even more accessible. Here's the deal: despite the alt-country trappings and the love of bands like Whiskeytown, Butcher's Blind is a rock band and a very good one.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

12 October 2013

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