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- Alt Country / Alternative / Acoustic
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Gary White & the Rockets Band Review at Montague's in De Pere, WI
September 17, 2009
A broken cell phone, numbers lost, me 147 miles away in Madison, and five years go by till my connection with a very dear friend is reconnected, thanks to his girlfriend putting his anti web and cell phone self on facebook. I love how he loves to remind me that he has been in the phone book all these years, what the heck is a phone book? Now this buddy of mine was there in the beginning, 15 years ago when my journey through the live music in this town began. We were chasing bands like Boris the Sprinkler, Covent Garden, and Vacuum Scam, so it was only suiting that we return to check out some more live music at Jeremy Brown's Montagues on Broadway in De Pere. Tonight it was Gary White and the Rockets, an original four piece nostalgic alternative county rock Americana band. Gary and the Rockets start off with a mellow first set and the music is not only soothing but interesting as well. Gary is the perfect singer / song writer, great steady rhythms with soft yet honest vocals, when he sings Gary is cool and mellow, he has a good vocal range at medium to high and its warm character with a slight twang fits the tonal quality of the Rockets harmoniously. Gary, on guitar, is a little more wavering in style depending on if he is playing the Martin acoustic, Gibson Les Paul or the 1963 Gretsch Nashville. You can tell how Gary's personality changes with the guitars personality that he's playing and yes guitars do have a personality! On the Les Paul he's a little more upbeat and on the Gretsch hollow body electric he is just rocking. My friend warned me that Gary will go out on some wild jams and he did when wielding the Gretsch through the warmed Fender tube amp.
Dana Erlandson, on steel guitar was putting out some hauntingly beautiful melodies playing through a vintage Silvertone amp and cab. The steel guitar is like a guitar on a table and it is played by using finger picks and metal slide while using foot pedals to control volume and tone. The steel guitar is a staple in most county music and its warm tone and melodic swells are such relaxing elements. As Gary White and the Rockets enter the second set I start to pick up on the drummer, Phillip "Gus" Gospodarek and his gift of sensitivity on the 4 piece kit. Gus completely flies under the radar by playing with such feel that the drums never jump ahead of the other instruments but it just lays down the perfect back beat. I loved watching him set up his intricate fills nails with a wee bit of aggression then finishes them with the lightest of hits onto the cymbals. Once I locked onto Gus it was so entertaining just enjoying the level of feel this guy has. Chuck was a solid bassist and back up vocalist doing an honest job and for this style of music. I would say Chuck was a great foundation and found a lock with Gus and his bass drum. Gary White and the Rockets were perfect for this evening, laid back, but still full of energy. Filling out the set Gary played songs from Neal Young and other classic tunes from this genre. Overall Gary White has a great cool and reflective style. The moods of this band are earnest, rousing and bittersweet. Even though I'm am not a real follower of country or alt country I have heard enough to appreciate the moods this music can lead on. Gary White has enough rock and enough roots to make Alt country a common ground for all. Watch out for a new album release soon! Also check out the video taken at the show!
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