Nine Mile Station

REVIEW: Nine Mile Station “Bazar”


Nine Mile Station – Bazar

The one thing constant with Nine Mile Station is their persistent goal to improve with each release through creativity & persistence of vision. There’s nothing lackluster here. This time out, the melodies are still strong & with well-shaped interplaying. There’s clarity, as always, & the songs are well-arranged & performed with expertise.

Nine Mile Station

Recorded in L.A. the 11-song Bazar (Drops July 21–Fastback Records) was produced by Will Hawkins & Fernando Perdomo. It does what Will (guitar/lead vocals) & Nine Mile Station usually do. They kick where others merely slap. There is a genuine attempt to recapture the rural aspects of The Band, the melodic ingenuity of Little Feat & the soulful undercurrent of Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes.

There are times when Hawkins’ team succeeds & when they don’t – they’re being themselves which is equally compelling. While the guitar plays with relevance the performance holds down the weight of what is often typical of guitar performances. No real flash ala Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jeff Beck, or Clapton. But fortunately, the showcase is never stale, it doesn’t pretend to be what it’s not.

This unit is starting to become Nine Mile Station with the frills being their enthusiasm alone. “Caught In the Rain,” is energetic, soulful & has attitude. The guitar work on this is fairly basic but there is a tinge of spirited quality that others don’t have – it makes the piece a disciplined performance. It possesses a vintage style but isn’t retro. The backup voices are quite good. This is not a good song; this is a brilliant song.

With “Who You Love,” the rural rock steam yields a full-throated soulful indulgence. It’s captured quite well with a warmth many black balladeers of the 60s possessed. The guitar on this is appropriately in a Steve Cropper-Muscle Shoals vein. Drums are funky & sting on the high-hat swipe. There’s a little Blood, Sweat & Tears’ David Clayton Thomas heaviness blended beautifully by Hawkins’ English folk singer John Martyn’s mournful yearning. Quite a departure.

“Santa Ana Winds,” unwraps with a deep-voiced Tom Waits-Nick Cave atmospheric & moody noir melody. “Theme From NMS,” finds Hawkins in his finest Bruce Springsteen tone doing it better than Bruce himself. But the real power is in Nine Mile Station’s performance. The unit has fiery power & sends out cinders as they play.

The sound is pristine throughout the CD. No disappointments.

Highlights – “California,” “Caught In the Rain,” “Who You Love,” “She Walks,” “Santa Ana Winds,” “Theme From NMS,” “Breathe” & “Open Highways.”

Musicians – Nick Moran (drums/percussion), Fernando Perdomo (lead guitar/bgv), Brendan Vasquez (bass) with Michael Russek (piano/B3 Organ) & Lainey White (violin).

Color image courtesy of NMS website. CD @ +

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