Northern Southern Rockin' Country

Story of Gasoline (Gaff Music)
Rosavelt

By Sean Hoban

The WFPK Waterfront Wednesdays are well known for putting forth some of the best regional acts and May's rousing showcase of Rosavelt - a four-member Columbus, Ohio, crew -- was no exception. If you missed them at this show, their latest record Story of Gasoline, is a stirring substitute.

Rosavelt meander between Replacements style roots rock 'n' roll and grittier alt-country. It's a convergence of whiskey-drenched Nashville sound with down and dirty, fast Detroit punk. Each track on Story of Gasoline jumps between these genres, seemingly intent on blurring an already dusty line. What can you do? Call it Northern Southern rock `n' roll country I suppose.

However you choose to describe the band, though, you will be quick to notice the really fine guitar work, whether it is producing a steady and rolling rhythm or kicking out jolting riffs. Christopher Allen's gruff growling voice mixes with pistol-shot drums for a nice dirty/clean contrast.

"Emerald Hope" is haunting, endearing and spirited all at the same and Allen crawls through "A Little Bit of Trouble" with a voice reminiscent of sandpaper or tires on gravel. The band stomps through "Desperate For Cool" with a talented excellence that doesn't oblige a single note that isn't needed; it's such a tight, steady sound. The slow and easy "Saturday 3 AM Blue" is worth waiting for, showcasing Allen's surprising soft voice over gentle cymbals and scant guitar. This bit shows Allen is just as at home with all types of vocal work, from this breezier style to a dustier growl to a whiskey-choked scream.

No song tops three and a half minutes and the album closes with "Broken Little Heart," raced through in just about two and a half minutes.

Rosavelt aren't casual musicians; every bit seems deliberate and determined, planned out like industry. Still, the gritty and intense South is undeniable. What a conundrum? (But then again, what a good record.)