Whatever Works – Mile 8
Mile 8 are an energetic sextet. Driven by the saxophones of Adam Livingston and the vocal styling of Randy Boen, Mile 8 evokes memories of early 1990s organic pop. While the Tennessee based collective use typical jamband ingredients in their musical stew, ranging from funk to rock to light reggae, songwriting remains a key factor in Mile 8’s success. So, it seems fitting to place this ripe Nashville collective alongside the jukebox-driven bar-jammers of the Blues Traveler era.
Since forming in the summer of 1999, Mile 8 has cultivated a niche for themselves in the Nashville music community, as well as recently traveling to Greenland as part of the UFO tour. Reminiscent of From Good Homes’ suburban New Jersey jam party, Mile 8 layer their guitar attack with short horn bursts, touching gently on groove jams before retuning to their funky-rock songs. Opening with "For You," guitarist Randy Boen reflects, "Please don’t ever let this dream get away/‘cause I’ll keep on tryin’ for it til my dyin’ day." Throughout their sophomore release, Mile 8 live out this zealous dream, crafting enjoyable cuts like the stream of conscious "Pogo Stick" and the catchy "Why Shouldn’t We." Adding a bit of southern-rock spice, Johnny Neel touches up nine tracks with his trademark Hammond organ and Southern fried vocal styling, most notably the excellent "Around the World."
Citing Dave Matthews, Phish, and Jimi Hendrix among their influences, Mile 8 follow in their predecessors’ footsteps by curbing their jams into fully realized songs. Lyrically, Mile 8’s three primary songwriters, stack their cuts with youthful reflection, musing life changes on "Waste Away," while flipping through some tongue-in-cheek imagery on "Grandma’s Groovin’." While Whatever Works doesn’t immediately recall Mile 8’s influences, the group’s quirkier edges at times border on jamband clich Adding a bit of weight to the group’s funky spin is the two-pronged percussion of Curt Redding and Robert Knowles, which gives Whatever Works a bouncy backbone. While Mile 8 certainly have a mature effort in their collective DNA, Whatever Works is a well crafted studio document of the sextet’s current live sound.