The Salvation Alley String Band

Ryan McGovern Quinn, Jason Bourgeois, Andy Goulet, Brandee Simone, Matt Silberstein, Matt Jugenheimer

The name "The Salvation Alley String Band" contains a lie, one truth, and one half-truth. First, the lie: the group's Western Swing, Honky-Tonk, and Rockabilly sounds rarely evoke the old-time connotations of a string band. The half-truth: the band has only played in an alley once, and even then, "alley" was a stretch. "Bistro" is more like it, but "Salvation Bistro String Band" doesn't roll off the tongue. The truth: Any recording or show by the Salvation Alley String Band is a BAND effort, as opposed to say, musicians backing a lead singer.

The Salvation Alley String Band strives to bring people the sound of a well-rehearsed, well-arranged band both live and on record. To that end, "'The Pioneer Valley Rose' and Other Favorites" was recorded live: drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, and lead vocals were all recorded in one room, in one day. The instruments all bleed into each others' mics, the guitar solos are live takes, and the sound of a live band - mistakes and all - was caught on tape.

While The Salvation Alley String Band is unapologetic about playing country music, "'The Pioneer Valley Rose' and Other Favorites" covers a lot of ground. Andy Goulet's upright bass on "I've Got Time" is reminiscent of mid-'60's Roger Miller records, while Ryan Quinn's pedal steel on "Knocked Upon My Door" and console steel on "Hartford Bound" suggest images of late 1950's country stars like Webb Pierce or Ray Price in rhinestone-studded, embroidered Nudie suits. Jason Bourgeois's insistent wurlitzer arpeggios and Quinn's Massachusetts-obsessed lyrics in "The Pioneer Valley Rose" recall Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers while Goulet's theremin sweeps bring to mind Brian Wilson.

The album has 11 songs and is just under 36 minutes. Nice work.


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