REVIEW: Saugeye’s Self-Titled Album is Satisfying Songs


 Named for a freshwater hybrid fish — a sauger & walleye, the music is certainly smooth, slippery & lean.

There’s nothing new here to get excited about musically but what is here is 11-satisfying songs, all well-written, performed & sung. There’s a little Goose Creek Symphony, Poco, Farm Dogs & Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to keep those who like some smoke & cedar in their roots-Americana melodies.

The band is comprised of veteran Tulsa musicians Jared Tyler (acoustic guitar/dobro/vocals/songwriter & producer), Seth Lee Jones (electric guitar/slide guitar), Jake Lynn (drums/backing vocals & co-producer) & Casey Van Beek (bass/backing vocals) with Isai Mireles (keyboards).

Recorded in Tulsa in a single day the tunes capture the band’s live show admirably. Except for background vocals & Hammond organ, all instruments were cut live. There are varied tunes & some covers on this LP (Horton Records) set for release on Jan. 29. For a really cool introduction “Dirt on Your Hands,” is a Saugeye dynamic. Due to a lack of availability, the version here is a Jared Tyler solo & it’s representative.

Take all the comparisons, all the elements of each & shake them up in a paper bag. When you toss them out that’s what makes the band vivid & original.


The guitars are played with precision & with pristine sound. The drums are sharp & thunder when they should. The bass walks through the melody with authority & at times that old-fashioned B3 organ just whirls around to add warmth. The music is memorable & the lyric, despite some cliches, has glittering fragments of excellent storytelling. The cleverness comes in small doses with nostalgic melodies like “Waltzing Around with My Shadow,” which sounds like an old country song from the 40s polished to high sheen & buffed. Even the snare drum sounds vintage & the whiney steel guitar is romantic. Vocally? Done with gentle touches like a cross between Gene Autrey & big band singer/trombonist Tex Beneke.

I listen to lyrics & though there’s nothing deep in this collection the songs are well-managed lyrically. The fibers between the words & melodies, how they are played just reeks of expertise & feeling. That’s not always easy to achieve.


“She Believes,” is a gorgeous song that should be covered by a major artist. “Death of Me,” is a little weighed down but is rectified by a cover of Bill Wither’s “Grandma’s Hands,” — the band interprets this with just the right ounces of soul & country. Snare snaps, energetic vocals, & consistently fine acoustic guitar. Good choice of a cover.

A listener will indeed find a song or two to set on replay, if not all. It’s a good set & sounds like it was conceived with care & attention to detail. The 43-minute CD will be available at their Bandcamp site.

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