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  • Apr 30

    St. Ann's Church


  • Jun 9

    The Archway



Songs for Love Drunk Sinners "What a great album title! Opening with the genial 'January Morning' - where the rural chill and distance from urban areas is never a problem when there's togetherness in a home - the blend of banjo and pedal steel here establishes the sound that defines the album. 'Birds of many Colours' is a fond recollection of a past love. Next the rocking 'Leaving Town' ups the ante with its urgent melody and violin and percussion joining the banjo and steel. At this point Jan Bell and the cheap dates had completely won me over, and I settled in for the rest of the ride. Jan wrote nine of the album's songs. Her lyrics are virtually devoid of urban imagery, refreshingly so. Her melodies are rich and meaty. 'Snowbird' melodically reminds me of 'I Still Miss Someone'. The impressive 'Carpenter's Arms' limns a brief, steamy encountergrabbing the now with a traveler passing through. The two covers are an excellent spare but spooky take of Townes Van Zandt's 'Snake Song'; and Wilfred owen;s 'Miners' an ode to those who wait for their men to return from the pits everyday. One of the coolest aspects of The Cheap dates, is how they don't all play on every song. Thus the album's sound has unexpected variety which keeps the listener engaged and a bit off-balance.Besides Jan's acoustic guitar the group sports Rima Fand's violin, Hilary Hawke's banjo, Bob Hoffnar's pedal steel, and Nathanial Landeau and Greg Schatze alternating on upright bass. It took a couple of spins for me to really get this one. But once I did the charm of Jan Bell and the cheap dates totally got me. Hope to ear from them again soon. Songs for Love Drunk Sinners is an album of deceptively layered depth, really fine songs, creative arrangements and crisp playing. Hard to ask for anymore than that!" Michael Tearson, Sing Out! Winter 2008.