Maybe I’m swayed by the cover art, but the 7 tracks on Rothenbeck‘s debut studio EP encompass the feeling captured in that woodsy shot on the cover (which could have very well be taken in Twin Peaks, Washington). Rothenbeck effectively makes me feel right at home and find solace in knowing that I’m a 30-40 minute drive to any of the NJ entering points for the Appalachian Trail and that the woods are literally a hop away.
For this EP, Brian summoned Jeff Banchansky, Michael Biskup, and Brian Leahy (The Megadeath Three) to add more life to his already flourishing folk tunes. Brian hones in on an honest voice with the perfect hint of rasp and does not hide behind any jarring effects or edits. There’s no studio magic here, just solid tunes with production that appropriately showcases the nature of the music and lyrics. The Megadeath Three offer tasteful playing that accents each song letting the roots of each shine.
The EP ends on a song that reminds me of Cake’s “Sad Songs and Waltzes,” so naturally, I love it. If you’re looking for some honest music by great local musicians who do much more for the music community they are involved in than record a few songs and throw them on the internet and spam your social media, this is for you. If you’re looking for over the top production that hides in metaphors and effects, seek elsewhere. This EP is Brian Rothenbeck and friends doing what they love and do best. Take it or leave.