Stephen Kellogg And The Sixers – Glassjaw Boxer
Record Label: Everfine Records
Release Date: July 10, 2007
And now I will begrudgingly expose just how much TV I have watched in my lifetime:
The year isn’t important, but I was not yet in high school when Pace Picante salsa began a strong ad campaign. The focal point was simply that Texas (or any southwestern state) was the only place good salsa could come from. Everything else was just a sad imitation. In one commercial, an old prospector was ridiculed in front of a campfire for trying to pass his salsa off as something local. He wasn’t fooling anyone. What does Pennsylvania know about Mexican food? More importantly (and Jesus, hopefully more relevant!) what does a young man from Massachusetts know about alt-country and lap steels and organs? In Stephen Kellogg And The Sixers’ case, they know just about everything.
Glassjaw Boxer is tradition with a twist. Tradition in the sense that these songs wouldn’t seem out of place back when cowboys were actually Cowboys, while the twist surfaces in the geographic location and pop undertones. This is barn-rock. The same former scenesters who clung to the bright stars of TBS and Saves The Day have moved on to Johnny Cash and Garth Brooks (heck yeah!). Am I the only one who saw this coming? Am I the only one lying about claiming to have seen this coming? I thought so.
All the necessities are here. “Hearts In Pain” is a landscape of despair and raw vocals. “Why Are You Talking To Me?” immediately changes the atmosphere from hopeless to untroubled with dainty organs and oh-so-many cymbal crashes. If you need one of those rainy day pity parties, Kellogg has you covered (“Sweetest Goodbye”). And after all, it is summer; enjoy it with the acoustic guitars and clever storytelling of “4th Of July.”
Never once did I feel that Stephen Kellogg And The Sixers were trying too hard. Dwelling on Kellogg’s birthplace is just something I must do for this review. While listening to Glassjaw Boxer, I was scarcely reminded of such a misleading fact. This guy is authentic and he proves it on closer, “Big Easy.” A mixture of all the different moods preceding it, the track is long and diverse. Starting out soft and slow, the chorus turns the song into a rousing singalong consisting of a “wall of sound.”
Glassjaw Boxer is a worthy addition to any library full of the classics, no matter what your interpretation of "classics" may be (Thrice? Django Walker? Jay-Z?). The world's a smaller place nowadays. The distance between Nashville and Northampton is laughably miniscule. So, it's not hard to believe that Kellogg can succeed so triumphantly. We'll get used to it. We always do.
Recommended If You Like: Ryan Adams, William Payne, teleportation, Alberta Cross, MTV's "Break The Addiction" commercials