Is knowing you’re an egotistical, arrogant, self-centered, bike ridin’, blues lovin, obsessive compulsive mad man self-deprecation or self-awareness? I am condemned to a sun lit search for legendary, stopping off at the Spyhouse for a cup of dark roast, the latest Indigenous CD Broken Lands loaded, the bike tuned-up, my heart aching for the freedom of wind and weather.
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From the group’s beginning in his parents’ basement through the release of the 2006 Vanguard debut “Chasing the Sun”, Indigenous was a family band. But after that disc Nanji recruited guitarist Kris Lager, keyboardist Jeremiah Weir, bassist Aaron Wright, and drummer John Fairchild to tour the album. They also appear on Broken Lands, joined by drummer Kirk Stallings, percussionist Chico Perez, and Mato’s wife Leah Nanji on backing vocals. Producer Jamie Candiloro (Ryan Adams, R.E.M., Willie Nelson, the Eagles) completed the studio team.
The trac “Eyes Of A Child”, a medium tempo blues shuffle with an
interesting chord modulation, is one of my favorites on the CD because
of the sentiment, and reminds me of something Stevie. It’s a
philosophy regarding one’s behaviour in life and something that I try
to practice in my own living. “Don’t you wish you could see thru the
eyes of a child.”
In the song “Place I Know”, Mato sings, “walkin’ down the street, no
shoes on their feet, sometimes they’ve got nothin’ to eat, in this
place I know.” Could be any reservation in North America, could be
life in any third world country on the planet. The Vanguard promo
material says, “One of the most compelling (songs) is ‘Place I Know,’ a
riff-rocker that decries the poverty and isolation of Reservation
“I love the way all of these songs came out, but ‘Place I Know’ is one
of the closest to me,” Nanji says. “It’s important to bear witness
about the things that inspire love in your life and about the things
that make you sad.”
The fourth trac “All I Want To See” is based on a Latin rhythm with a
beautiful minor 7th, major 9th chord structure. The percussion and
female harmony vocals fatten up the flesh of something reminiscent of
the Carlos Santana Band’s second album from back in the day with a
sweet Greg Rolie style Hammond Organ solo. This song looks at
experimenting, pushing the envelope and represents thinking outside the
“I Can’t Pretend” gives us some acoustic guitar as an intro to a slow
tempo blues rock ballad. Mato does blues ballads exceptionally well
and you don’t have to sound like dirt, whiskey and cigars in order to
have soul. When he sings “I can’t pretend to be the one for you” he’s
singing about integrity in a failing relationship.
The song “Just Can’t Hide” has a hard rockin’ start and is about
jelousy in a romantic relationship. This is a well constructed song in
a form that resembles what has been termed Southern rock. My favorite
music in this world is the southern style of rockin’ a blues song. “I
just can’t hide the way that I feel.” It’s about wearing your feelings
on your sleeve.
“Make A Change” is something of a traditional old school R-n-B style
song reminiscent of something Guitar Slim might have done that features
a blistering guitar solo and brilliant slide work.
The song “Let It Rain” is built on an interesting chord change for a
blues oriented song in the same way T-Bone Walker’s “Stormy Monday” was
a unique interpretation of the blues and really allows a guitar player
the room necessary for great playing. Mato sings, “Let it rain or let
it shine, all I want to do is spend my time with you.” Very cool and
By the time I’m headed west toward the sun and Hennepin Avenue to trade
licks with rush hour traffic, I am riding hard imbued with flesh and
blood, mortality, magic and mystery, star blind sexuality.
Every thing gets boiled down to the essence of breath and breathing and
when that happens, I go for a bike ride, bobbing and weaving through
traffic, looking at life through the eyes of a child, and running red
lights like I’m gonna live forever.
For more info on Indigenous, see: www.vanguardrecords.com.
Jamison Mahto: Reporter/Indigenous
In The News, Indigenous In Music CD Review