Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

December 24, 2008

Lloyd Cole + The Lonesome Brothers

Pioneer Arts Center, Easthampton
December 20, 2008
by Eric Sutter

"Turn away, turn away, turn your blue skies to grey" is a line from "Unhappy Song" off Lloyd Cole's CD "Love Story." Tales of heartbreak and true love were performed by the English singer-songwriter who got his start in a modern rock style in the 80s and has now evolved into a literate character-driven sensitive song writer on acoustic guitar. He sang the moody ballad, "Butterfly" from a 1991 CD. Many of his songs had sad outcomes and/or a caustic dry wit, such as "No More Love Songs" and "How Wrong Can You Be?" from 2006's "Antidepressant." He followed with the perturbed "Impossible Girl" and "Young Idealists," which could be the story of folksingers from the last century.

The Lonesome Brothers peppered it up with the rockabilly vehicle "Fins on a Cadillac" from their latest CD, "The Last CD." These singers are Northampton rockers who keep on doing what the locals love best -- exciting music with lively lead guitar by ace Jim Amenti performed in an Americana style. Both Armenti and Ray Mason are keen observers of human nature with lyrics that shine playful humor on relationships and life situations. Mason's comical "You've Never Seen My Baby Drunk" brought forth dancing at PACE on this bleak night just shy of the Winter Solstice. "Amy Cincinatti" was Armenti's joyful jaunt of rock n' roll.

The banter between Armenti and Mason, as they traded songs, caused chatter in the audience which spilled out with shouts of requests of such favorites as "Swamptown Girl" and "Frozen George." Mason slowed things down with his ballad "Early in the Spring." The duo concentrated on requests like "Sure Looks Pretty," but since it was a CD release party they focused on songs from "The Last CD." The audience was treated to Armenti's Christmas song, "Country Christmas." "Pass the Wrench" was Mason's and featured a bluesy harmonica solo by drummer Tom Shea. The trio encored with the country-rock tinged "Warm Vinyl," which was a homage to vinyl records before the age of CD.