Americana: Meet the 2013 RFT Music Award Nominees
The 2013 Riverfront Times Music Showcase is a week and a half away! Think of it as St. Louis music's own official holiday and consider this the season. Throughout May we at RFT Music have been working hard to make our cases for all 130 bands and artists nominated for an RFT Music Award this year in 26 categories. Read on and get yourself acquainted, and we'll see you at the showcase!
Bob Reuter's Alley Ghost:
Though known primarily for his black-and-white photography, Bob Reuter is also a St. Louis music scene lifer. Considering the wealth of material that a musical career spanning 30 years provides, it is notable that Reuter's current output is more prolific than ever, and the music he plays for the wandering man remains as reliable as a train whistle. A backing band populated by respected youngsters from Big Muddy Records -- already fixtures of the new scene in their own right -- have brought fresh blood and a big boost to Reuter's songs. Reuter not only documents the musicians of the south-side scene, he is one of its elders.
2013 saw the return of Grace Basement after a few years of quiet, and Kevin Buckley's vision was both familiar and brand-new. After a few indie-leaning records, Buckley and company embraced the acoustic folk traditions of the best American balladeers and Irish session players, producing a record that was exuberant in its ability to understate itself. Wheel Within a Wheel is marked by Buckley's most introspective songwriting -- you can thank the arrival of his thirties and his recent marriage for some of that progression -- but he refuses to pen any song that isn't peppered with smart turns of phrase and trickier musical runs.
One could argue that the music of Melody Den could only be written by a handful of Midwestern folks, all of whom are products of their environment. It resonates through, from the Ozark foothills to the flat land of Illinois, and the music is catchy enough to resonate with any blue-collar, working-class citizen. There is sincere grit that's embedded within the trusty Americana chords, the Stones-influenced horn blasts and the somber, clinking keys. It feels familiar and comfortable without escaping the desperation and frustration that comes with it. Just like the Beach Boys wouldn't be the Beach Boys if the bandmates grew up in rural Delaware, Melody Den is unique to the land it calls home.