Low Cut Connie
Dirty Pictures (Part 2)
Adam Weiner clanks and coaxes sounds from his piano that place him in a specific lineage of pianists, one that includes Jerry Lee Lewis and NRBQ’s Terry Adams. Weiner can take you to the house of The Lord as easily as the house of ill repute. He can play get down rock and pop tunes while finding room for the arty, strange.
Returning to Memphis’ famed Ardent Studios to track this effort, Weiner and band get in touch with the region’s sin and salvation via “One More Time.” You immediately sense that what you’re hearing is not a song being performed as much as received. You can hear the dirt and heat of the deep Tennessee summer, smell the sweat and spirit in the room as the act of creation rolls by in front of your ears. “Desegregation” and “All These Kids Are Way Too High” are informed by a similar spontaneity, informed by the excitement that true musical revelation brings. As easy as the band makes that all sound, “Beverly,” maybe this album’s finest bit of writing and one of Weiner’s highest marks to date, provides evidence of a dedicated writer who clearly has plenty of dirt and grit under his fingernails.
It’s never been easy to unwind Weiner’s influences fully. Classic R&B is in there, as is early rock ‘n’ roll but one senses elements of cabaret and traces plucked from standards that emerged in the early hours of the last century. Sure, one can imagine Elton John chugging rocket fuel and whipping out a rendition of “Suzanne,” and “Hollywood” shares some of the self-effacing warm of The Avett Brothers, but in both cases there are quick turns that ultimately cause us to cast those comparisons aside. (Even a delicious cover of Alex Chilton’s “Hey! Little Child” leaves few clues as to its origins.) Better still, there are no cartoonish, overdriven guitar tones that some might mistake as “raw.” There are no tics and mannerisms culled from the pages of rock history. In short, Low Cut Connie never comes up as anything less than authentic.
Is this Low Cut Connie’s finest hour to date? Probably. Is it further evidence that Weiner and his bandmates have come to leave an indelible mark on our ears and rock ‘n’ roll? Absolutely.