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Friday, Jan. 18, 2013

The Plainsmen


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If The Plainsmen have the kind of name you'd expect to hear announced on “Simply Folk,” it's not the only place the Milwaukee septet ought to have a presence. Theirs is the kind of acoustic/electric Americana rock amalgam that makes familiar melodies and arrangements sound fresh and timeless. That the band would sound at home at both The Coffee House and sharing a bill with rootsier commercial country acts such as Jamey Johnson speaks as much to The Plainsmen's unique niche as it does the slow sea change in music generally.

Especially setting the group apart are Charlie Ismert's vocals, which are wizened and bittersweet with a residual twang that reverberates sincerity. Guitars, mandolin, lap steel, trombone, harmonica and violin (not credited as fiddle) are arranged spatially to balance tension against casual vibes. Genevieve marks a masterful debut for a band in a good position to capitalize on its uniqueness.