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Monday, June 15, 2009

John Sieger

Live at Bob’s (Faux Real)

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In the '80s, when John Sieger was in the R&B Cadets, you might have labeled his songs revisionist. Later, with Semi-Twang, the band's heartland sound would be seen as a precursor to alt-country. But as the times catch up with each solo album, it becomes clear that the Milwaukeean's songs are simply timeless. Taking his cues from the era when a gumbo of 45 rpm records ruled the AM airwaves, Sieger's new album scans like the rsum of a guy who combines craft and passion with the icons he looked up to as a greenhorn.

On Live atBob's, recorded during a pair of living-room gigs, Sieger is joined by his brother Mike on bass and vocals and Nashville jazz chameleon Bill Dwyer on guitar. His swinging solos are punctuated by oddball quirks that draw you in and demand attention, at times even recalling the great Mickey Baker. Over the course of 14 tunes, Sieger ranges from the introspection of "Won't You Call Me?" (with a Dwyer guitar break that reflects the tune's heart-wrenching depth) to the tongue-in-cheek sendup "Nashville 2-Pt. Tragedy." From the Latin tinge of "Miss Me That Way" to the lyrical twists of "That'll Teach You," the band smartly covers a fair amount of stylistic ground. Vocalist Kelli Gonzalez guests on a few tunes, taking the spotlight for an especially smoldering "Baby, Maybe Then."