Walk Don't Run (Screaming Ear Records)
Slim Chance

By Michael Campbell

With Walk Don't Run, a new standard for Louisville's pop music is set. It's smart, lean, tough, direct, and accessible. Backed by notables including guitarist extraordinaire Tim Krekel, Gene Wickliffe, and Wes Hawkins and propelled by songs from Jeff Carpenter and Butch Morgan, Slim Chance mastermind Dan Trisko shrewdly blends his own compositions and talents to produce a truly successful community effort.

While inviting comparison to the viewpoint, musical dynamics, and straightforward production values of John Mellencamp, the prevailing differences overcome such comparison: Slim Chance is less formulaic, less strutting, and more literate.

The material is rich, and compels repeated listening. "Poor Girl" is a worldly paean to the reconciliation of media driven dreams with everyday indignities. "All The Rage" implies a double meaning, using anthemic guitar strikes, and Jim Baugher's soaring bass to drive the song's relentless conclusion. "Empty Gun" uses Hawkins' yearning vocal to connect the topic to vulnerability; the refrain "I can hurt with the best of them" delivers the corroborating testimony. The gnarly instrumental "Waddy Peytona", saluting the Venture's "Pipeline," may or may not drive a resurgence of surf music, but does provide a logical connection to the album's title. Trisko's "Little Town Jerk" reminds us all too well of people we encounter in bars on Friday nights, and serves it over an irresistible hook of an arrangement.

Although Slim Chance, by definition, is no sure thing, Walk Don't Run is on par with the best new music produced anywhere today, brimming with integrity, urgency, humor, and courage, dappled with hope.