Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Carpetbagger "Far Off The Daybreak Call" EP Review

Greg Loftus is a Boston boy who landed himself in Austin, Texas. His music has always had a sense of “that certain twang” to it. So much so, it wasn’t completely out of the question that he would end up in the live music capital of the world. His live shows have always been an experience to endure. Capturing the attention of anyone who lends an ear and hushing often rowdy crowds with his lyrics. Then again, he writes a lot of unruly, upbeat drinking tunes that make you want to chug a beer and break a pool stick on the asshole at the bar who is hitting on your girl. But I digress. He is just a road house kind of guy with a songwriter’s wit that never disappoints. 

Upon moving to Texas, Loftus engulfed himself in the music scene, surrounding himself with some top notch players from the city and forming the now, aptly named group, Carpetbagger. Two years later, the boys have released a new EP titled “Far Off the Daybreak Call”. A couple of familiar tunes from Greg’s past with a new energy, and a few new ones I haven’t heard before are in the mix for this record. Regardless, it’s got a great energy and tells the story of a man traveling to find himself…I think he may have.

Weighing in at 5 strong tracks, the EP is a solid set of songs that is satisfying, rollicking, and very country (in the best way possible).

“American Bruises” is a song that any songwriter can immediately relate to. From the very first line it just grabs you by the sides of your face and demands your attention.

This old guitar case doesn’t age at the edge of my bed

I haven’t opened it in days and start to hate myself for it

With a nice back beat and driving rhythm, the song is a middle of the road tempo’ed tune, a feel good kind of a song you bob your head along to and mouth the words along to as you sip your Lonestar.

Track 2 kicks in a bit harder with a “hell yeah” kind of attitude. I have a special attachment to this song, being from Boston (and maybe have sung on the original recording…) it really sings to me with references to “hardwood floors” and when the “chairs are on the tables” at a gig, it really strikes a chord. The new sound behind this song is really great too. It has a very rock n’ roll meets country thing going on with some great guitar work by Cody Brown, some nice variation in intensity at certain parts, and just a great feel.

“New Orleans” just has a killer groove to it. Add in Loftus’s always on point lyric work and gravely, gruff voice, and it’s a sure winner. A real barn burner with some great tone on the electric guitar, a strong rhythm section, and a steady strummed acoustic guitar.

“Highway 59” may be one of my favorite songs ever…seriously. One of my favorite lines ever penned “thrift store budget in a pearl snap shirt” just paints this picture in my head that is utter perfection for a using words to put something in a listeners head. Few songwriters perfect this.  I just fucking love this tune. It’s so good…that’s all I can really say. Listen to it and you will see. The EP ends with “Santa Ana”, a bit more of a muted jam with some quotable lines and a “late night at the bar” kind of a feel.

5 tunes is a perfect intro to these fellas.  Loftus’s voice has a bit of early Springsteen with a bit more dirt on it, but still maintains a sound all its own. The band is prime and genuine, the writing is blue collared hard but still has a bit of vulnerability to it. Plainly stated…this shit is just great.

Carpetbagger is:
Greg Loftus - Vocals, Guitar
Cody Brown - Lead Guitar
Kevin McCann - Drums, Backing Vocals
John Tranum - Bass

Check it out online at

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