Reflections (Bridge 99)
The Bridge

By Jim Conway

On a recent ozone-hazed afternoon, my vehicle and I were engaged in the evening rush hour ritual on Interstate 64. Through the late afternoon glare, the double spans of the Sherman Minton Bridge, in all of its Twentieth Century majesty, hovered like a spacecraft over a once serene Shawnee Golf Course.

However, just before the Interstate arrives at this river-crossing monolith, to the right and down below, in a terminal state of rust, is the old K & I railroad bridge. Nowadays, rail traffic is all that crosses this turn-of-the-century span, but if you look close, you can still see the rickety old metal lanes on either side of the K & I, which used to be the only way for motor traffic to travel from Portland to the New Albany side of the river.

The sight of that old bridge reminds me of a song off of The Bridge's CD, Reflections, called "The Bridge" as well. Songwriter Dan Weigleb writes of a new bridge being built that will probably make everyone forget the old bridge, everyone, that is, except him.

"But I still like the old one/that I found/on a bridge/out of town," he sings, against a Car's influenced synthesizer pulsating throughout this track. Kind of like he's pleased with this new/old secret that he's uncovered.

Hailing from the New Albany area, The Bridge is Weigleb on guitar and vocals, Chris Brabandt on guitar, David Miles on bass and Kevin Hays on drums. They offer some nicely penned, Hootie and the Blowfish meets Collective Soul, guitar-oriented rock. Standing out is a 7/8 time signature rocker called "Chapters," in which Weigleb sings (somewhat ambiguously) of his inability to remember what chapter he's on, with respect to his personal relationship, rather than book he's reading. I seem to pick up something different from the song upon each listen, like Hays' time-keeping ability, along with Brabandt's nifty wah-wah guitar playing in the fills. Exceptional.

Maybe slightly better is "Trampoline," which breathtakingly floats the listener on a four-minute rock n' roll dreamscape, courtesy of Weigleb's cerebral (and once again, ambiguous) personal observations of what appears to be a romantic relationship. The band builds the tension of this song until, in the final verse, Weigleb's voice and a lone keyboard signature are all that's standing between an anticipated love encounter and the all-out joyous blast of the finale, a huge consummation.

Not only can The Bridge do romantic rock, they can throw a mean rocker into the mix as well, such as "Screen," which takes a rather tongue-in-cheek look at answering machines, all to a Ramones-tempoed groove that kicks major gluteus maximus. "There's A Dip In The Road" asserts the idea that once you leave a small town existence, "We can never go home/We never wonder why/But I don't mind..." Basically, don't look in the rear view mirror of life, which is plainly illustrated on the cover photography of Reflections.

Unfortunately, Weigleb revealed to me that several personnel changes may be in store for The Bridge, which is disappointing, considering the obvious instrumental chemistry they've developed. To these ears, "Trampoline" and "Chapters" are as good as anything the Kentuckiana music scene has introduced so far in 1999. Maybe there's more to this story: but don't wait for the K & I to re-open.