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Published: 2005/12/12
by Katie Mavrich

Self titled- American Minor

Red Ink 82876-69391-2

It's your typical rock success story: small town boys with dead end jobs miraculously find each other, discover that they have a mutual love of music, study classic rock influences, practice in basements and garages and tour relentlessly in a van that constantly breaks down and eventually dies. Just when it looks like said boys will be stuck in Small Town, USA, forever, they are discovered and signed by a record label.

Such is the story of American Minor, a quintet hailing from rural West Virginia — is there actually a part of the Mountain State that isn’t rural? The boys landed “coveted” jobs at the local Dairy Queen, practiced in the owner’s barn, and signed on bassist Bruno (like Madonna and Prince before him, he only has one name) after he agreed to let the band use his amp. They listened to Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Pavement, and Tom Waits. And, like so many before them, they write songs about real life.

Now, stereotypically, when one hears that a new band is from a place like Huntington, W.V., they might expect to hear banjos and fiddles, not a cross between an updated version of The Black Crowes and Blind Melon perhaps the Blind Melon sound because American Minor’s self-titled debut album was produced by Blind Melon’s founding members Christopher Thorn and Brad Smith.

Those “real life” songs could be just that. “Walk On” is about those two-faced people we encounter in life, and “One Last Supper” is the quintessential race/political/current affairs song. What works for American Minor is the way that their songs play out it’s not obvious if they are trying to make a statement and force their opinions down your throat or not, because the music that provides the backdrop to their lyrics almost overshadows them. In a good way. You’ll find yourself immersed in the songs without paying careful attention to what they are saying and analyzing them to death. Everyone has a song about drugs, everyone has a song about politics these days, and everyone has a love scorned tune American Minor isn’t all that different from other bands. These things are real life.

There is no rookie sloppiness to be heard on the release; each song sounds clean and polished, as though it has been years in the making. The West Virginia boys have real potential thank goodness their success doesn’t have to rely on their fellow townspeople’s hunger for Blizzards and sundaes anymore. Don’t walk on, rock on.

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