While Trey’s weekend has captured the headlines in Phishland, our very own secret agent, Mike Gordon, has been on mission of his own, out on the road touring behind his new album, The Green Sparrow. With most every song on the album led by prominent big round melodic bass lines, Gordon is certainly the musical lead and centerpiece of his band. While teaming up with a host of different musicians on the album, he is currently touring with guitarist Scott Murawski, keyboardist Tom Cleary, drummer Todd Isler, and percussionist Craig Myers; and reviews have been stellar. The album has a distinctly Gordeaux feel to it with quirky lyrics, smooth rhythms, and a very listenable vibe. The vocals sound particularly good, as Gordon shows off his range and control on tracks that he dedicated a year to writing. A shift away from the calypso feeling of his previous collaboration with acoustic guitar craftsman, Leo Kotke, on Sixty-Six Steps, The Green Sparrow is definitely a rock and roll album strewn with Mike’s eccentric and unique funk bass lines. With an eighteen-month creative process behind the album, The Green Sparrow exists as Gordon’s most developed and focused solo effort.
Some tracks that are typical of the albums large rhythms and smooth harmonies are the opening track “Another Door,” “Dig Further Down,” and “Radar Blip.” Although Gordon seems intent on keeping this band together regardless of a Phish comeback, it would be hard to imagine that a few songs would not leak into the Phish repertoire. Ironically, the three Phishiest songs come right in a row on the album in “Pretend,” “Traveled Too Far,” and “Andelmans’ Yard.” A collaboration with Trey, Page, and Bill Kreutzmann, “Traveled Too Far” seems like a shoe in, and defintely has a place for Phish to explore the rock/bluesy textures of the song. I can hear Phish playing “Pretend,” a love song to an an unknown woman, as a mellow and groovy stop late in their set, with lush vocal harmonies and a Trey solo at the end. It would be great to see them adopt “Andelmans’ Yard,” an upbeat funky song with which Phish could really create cool jams in the vein of Undermind‘s “Access Me.”
It is interesting that little has been heard from Gordon’s tour, though people who have seen shows have nothing but good things to say. On the road through the first week of September, everyone still has a great chance to see him as he will be hitting venues, literally, all over the nation. Gordon is one who loves to tour, and on more than one occasion, has referred to Phish tour as a “mission” he was on, and how it never grew tiresome, regardless of the stresses it put on his bandmates. That being said, he is surely happy to be touring again, as his circuit is hitting New Mexico, Nebraska, Minnesota, Oregon as well as all the big markets. (New Yorkers- Highline-tonight!-8.13) Take the time and check it out, it really highlights Mike and the sound is infectious, and unlike previous solo albums, very danceable.
Mike Gordon Band 8.5.08 in Richmond, VA- sleeveless.
(This is the best clip I could find- the audio is not that hot.)