The Reigning Sound, Ian McLagan, and a chicken in every pot

16 11 2009

As the Cleveland winds blow their chill inside the marrow of our bones, a simple soup is often our only bulwark of autumn resistance.  One of the easiest and most timeless of these, chicken soup, is a belly-warming balm for those of us who live by Lake Erie.  It’s hallowed yet malleable, consequently making it ideal for culinary contests, namely the 2009  “Better Than Your Bubby’s” chicken soup challenge, which was hosted by celebrity chef Jeff Nathan of Abigael’s, on Broadway in New York City.

The variations on chicken soup are seemingly endless, but the desired goal is a meal that, aside from spicing and cooking techniques, is truthfully filling and delicious.  This is likewise the case with The Reigning Sound’s singer/songwriter/guitarist Greg Cartwright.  Cartwright and his band start with the simmering broth of rock music: straight soul and country, mixed with those two sounds’ curious hybrid that brewed a 50s croon and a 60s jangle.  The Reigning Sound perform at the Beachland on Wednesday, November 18th.

Greg Cartwright of the Reigning Sound, from

To this easily recognizable concoction Cartwright adds greasy, overfried electric guitar, a spicy punk rock backbeat, and the vocals of a man who sounds stricken by love, possessed by lust, but also in the grip of an existential mania.  At times, The Reigning Sound is simply too much rock for one:  too sloppy, too loud, and out of tune.  Too Much Guitar, from a couple years ago sounds like an amplifer turned to meltdown, in contrast to the near-CCRisms of Time Bomb High School and their latest, Love and Curses.

But for those who hunger for classic sounds boiled in furious distinction, The Reigning Sound satisfies.  Here are a few streaming mp3s from to stoke the palate:

 “Debris” (from Love and Curses
“Time Bomb High School” (from Time Bomb High School)
“Your Love Is A Fine Thing” (from Too Much Guitar)
“Carol” (from Home for Orphans)

“Bad Man” (Reigning Sound, a tune by Cartwright’s old band, The Oblivians):

SIDENOTE: Cartwright’s Oblivians bandmate, Jack “Oblivian” Yarber, has released a new album with his own band, the Tennessee Tearjerkers.  This full-length is called The Disco King, and should like to hear Oblivian’s own take on southern soul/punk/rock and roll, you can tune into the Little Lighthouse podcast, or this humble but informative documentary, part of the $5 Cover series on MTV:

Jack Oblivian and the Tennessee Tearjerkers play the Beachland with Cleveland’s Short Rabbits on Tuesday, November 24th.   

While Cartwright and Yarber tastily updates long-gone sounds with a one-night-stand’s worth of sweat, Mr. Ian McLagan brings the real flavor on Thursday, November 19th.    Former organist/keyboardist for The Small Faces, The Faces, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, this living legend will perform a solo set full of tales and tunes, perhaps a little like this:

Ian McLagan and The Bump Band, with special guest Patti Griffin on Letterman:But here’s Mac as many of us know him, stoking up the electric piano on a live rendition of “Stay With Me” by The Faces from ’72:

If everything we’ve just discussed doesn’t whet your appetite…uh, go see a doctor or somethin’.


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