Dr. Bacon: ‘Fast & Loose with the Essentials’
As you start listening to Dr. Bacon, you might ask: what on earth is going on? I’m hearing country, funk, reggae, indie, Americana, prog, and more. And looking at them doesn’t help. What on earth? Top hat? Baritone sax? Lap steel? What fresh hell is this?
Hell? Not at all. Fresh? Damn skippy. These seven gents based in Asheville are here to twist your head up and smoke it with the bacon. Great players, great compositions, and a unique mix of sounds that works regardless of the genre they’re tapped into at the moment, Dr. Bacon have worked out a great formula for delivering their madness to the masses.
Most recently, we saw them tear it up at Suwannee Hulaween’s Hula for a Cause benefit night. In addition to their set, members joined the band on before them, Ajeva from St. Petersburg, and Voodoo Visionary, who closed the night. We attempted to describe their set:
The aforementioned Dr. Bacon from Asheville had the next slot, and they CRUSHED. I know that word will come up a lot before we get to Sunday night, but they started it. The septet mixed up tunes from brand new album Fast & Loose with the Essentials, some old favorites, and a couple dandy covers, including “Lost in the Sauce Again.” Jesse Talbot has a superb voice, and the sound of the band was just so rich. Baritone sax, lap steel guitar, and harp? Damn skippy!
Dr. Bacon are: Jesse Talbott, voice, electric guitars, trombone; Myles Dunder, voice, tenor and baritone saxophones, electric/resonator/acoustic guitars, Glockenspiel; Michael Crawford, harmonica, electric violin; John Kirby, electric guitars; Jackson Weldon, lap steel guitars, electric guitar; Rob Palmer, bass guitars; and Ben New, drums, percussion.
FAST AND LOOSE WITH THE ESSENTIALS
Fast and Loose with the Essentials was produced, engineered, mixed, and recorded by Matt Gornto and Dr. Bacon at Dogwood Studios in Asheville. “Music My Soul” and “Mati” were engineered and recorded by Tommy Brothers at Tommy Brothers Studio In Wilmington NC. “Scrumptious” and “Red Letter” were engineered and recorded at The Eagle Room in Weaverville NC by Matthew Williams. All tracks were mastered by Steve Raets at Bunkersound Studios in Chapel Hill.
They set out immediately with Prince-ly funk on “Overtime,” which combines the aforementioned baritone sax and lap steel guitar. The percussion really stands out here, and there is a fabulous chorus of everybody!
No good reason to attempt to decipher lyrics on an album with songs such as “Pancakes.”
Does your mama like pancakes in the mornin’,
’Cause I’m stayin’ here tonight?
Blueberries or chocolate I’ll put on them.
I just wanna treat her right.
Does your mama like whiskey in the evening,
’Cause I’m trying to “clank” tonight?
See? Nothing good can come of that!
“Maybe Maybe” is a true jam tune, one you might associate with the Black Crowes or Blues Traveler. Jackson Weldon’s lap steel is huge here, and the vocals throughout the album of Jesse Talbott and Myles Dunder are really spot on, quality voices. that theme continues through “Music My Soul,” a deep bluesy rocker centered around the vocals with a great guitar solo, then Weldon on lap steel, and Michael Crawford’s sonic harp.
There’s a soft country intro to “Scrumptious,” but that melts away as the tune goes way uptempo, riding on Ben New’s drums and the low end from Rob Palmer. Crawford stars here, too, as the song takes several tempo changes before somebody (Talbott? John Kirby?) screams on guitar.
“Red Letter” is a rocker bouncing atop organ (who’s playing THAT?). Danders bari in the chorus is killer. This is a Hester Prynne sort of story, with a glockenspiel! That is followed by brief insanity declaring a happy 2019 under the guise of “Boiled Bacon.”
There is a stripped-down indie rock tune called “She Needs,” with powerful distorted vocals, harp, lap steel, and a fine guitar solo. “Chili Dog” is about, well, it’s like this: “She can’t keep her hands off my chili dog.” It’s a frantic rocker with a tremendous funky groove.
“Got That” is real funk, which is what the song is about. So infectious. Killer bari solo, guitar, then harp rock this one. Changing directions, “Tomorrow Brings” is a country rocker, waaaaay up, drums pulsing, and a dandy lap steel solo.
Another new direction, mining “Exodus” territory with “Mati,” a superb vibe and groove, great vocals and guitars throughout. Next we are regaled with the tale of an encounter with the law in “Scruthers.” It’s a long, funky rocker, and the wah-wah guitar solo is a monster. As the tunes finally fades, the shredding is massive.
The album closes with a solo singer/songwriter not using his better judgment:
“Hey you, over there. Lookin’ good. Seems like you’ve stacked a few pounds on since the last time I saw you, but hey you. Over there. Lookin’ good.”
Do yourself a favor. Pick up the album, and check these boys when they roll through your area. They’ve got two shows next weekend in NC, followed by six Florida dates. Dr. Bacon will ring in the new year at Beech Mountain Brewing Company.
DR. BACON FALL TOUR
12/06 Boone Saloon | Boone NC w/ Funkelstiltskin
12/07 The Evening Muse | Charlotte NC w/ Julia
12/09 Sarbez | Saint Augustine FL
12/11 Guanabanas Island Restaurant & Bar | Jupiter FL
12/12 Ringside Cafe | Saint Petersburg FL w/ Row Jomah
12/13 Cafe DaVinci | Deland FL
12/14 Beachside Tavern | New Smyrna Beach FL
12/20 The Red Room | Kinston NC
12/21 The Palm Room | Wrightsville NC w/ Mac & Juice
12/31 Beech Mountain Brewing Company | Beech Mountain NC