Backtracks: The Evening Rig – Nothin’ to Hear Here

c90a157cfae4cd5bdac407fea51f5def3904cc1eNothing is more disheartening than discovering a band at a crucial juncture in their career, especially one who is seemingly going on hiatus. Sometimes real life gets in the way of rock and roll dreams.

Such is the case with the Minnesota foursome The Evening Rig. After releasing Nothin’ to Hear Here last year, the band will be playing their “last foreseeable show” this Friday at Kieran’s in Minneapolis following a career move that has taken bassist Eric Reyers to Texas.

Hometown aside, the comparison to The Replacements has been made before and will likely continue any time The Evening Rig is mentioned. You can’t fault vocalist/guitarist Jason Miller for sounding at times like Paul Westerberg. This is most evident on the album’s opening track, “Pulling Strings” and the ramshackle standout “Dear You” which could be mistaken for a ‘Mats song due to Miller’s Westerberg-esque phrasing and vocal range.

But rather than pigeonhole Miller, it’s worth noting he inhabits a vocal territory occupied by the likes of Rodney Crowell on “Beyond that Light,” Robert Levon Been (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) on the somber “Unlucky Ever After” to Bono on the album’s final song, “Coming Home.”

The twin guitars of Miller and Josh Lynch provide the band with a more expansive sound, steering more towards A Blessing and a Curse-era Drive-By Truckers on “Untitled.” Anchored by Becky Hanten (drums) and Eric Reyers (bass), the piano and pedal steel sprinkled throughout Nothin’ to Hear Here warrant The Evening Rig a place in the same camp as contemporaries such as Truckstop Darlin’, Glossary and Alone at 3AM.

Listening to Nothin’ to Hear Here after the fact, one can’t help but discern a sense of finality. The plaintive closing track, “Coming Home,” says it all:

The dirt beneath my feet
Is where I’m planting deep
This sky is what I want to see
When my days decide they’re through with me

Running for so long
Ended up that long gone
Lost sight of my dreams
Lost sight of me
I’m coming home

Should Nothin’ to Hear Here be The Evening Rig’s swan song, they have left a worthy catalog of music during their seven years as a band. Check out Nothin’ to Hear Here as well as their earlier releases, Is Doin’ Stuff and Never Been’er.

Watch The Evening Rig perform “Dear You” at First Avenue in their hometown of Minneapolis.

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