The Porch Rockers,
Heard the News
(self-produced, 2003)

Heard the News is the sophomore release from the Porch Rockers. This album is a subtle mix of roots, Americana and blues with a bit of country and gospel. There's not a lot of flash or far-reaching performances. All the performances, vocals and instrumentals, seem to realize their role and don't try to overshadow each other. The final effect is a measured, consistent and enjoyable album.

While the overall album has a steady level of quality, each song encourages individuality and showcasing. For instance, the leisurely "Prison" exhibits lead vocalist Tim Gartland's controlled Darius Rucker vocal sound. "Shed These Tears" has a classic blues sound to it, thanks to a great electric bass performance by Dirk van Gulden. Joe Giardella's national steel guitar and van Gulden's acoustic string bass shine on "Will You Be There." (Actually, they're so good that you almost don't want the vocals to interrupt, but Gartland manages to please the ears.) "Haven't Heard from You" has cool background finger snaps that frame a great performance from all of the Porch Rockers.

The best song on the album is "The Bridge." Guest lead vocalist Erica Rodney sings with a saucy, sassy style that really makes this song stand out from the others. Also, this song, more than any other on the album, has an across-the-board top shelf performance by the band.

The vocals are strong and the instrumental performances are strong. There's nothing that will blow you away, but you definitely get your dollars' worth of entertainment. Heard the News opts for safe and enjoyable rather than stretching the limits of the band. In this case, "safe and enjoyable" results in a solid and consistent album.

- Rambles
written by C. Nathan Coyle
published 24 July 2004

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