Artist of the Month

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November 2015
The Old No. 5s
The Old No. 5s’ second album, Steam, is first and foremost a blues record. But it shouldn't be pigeonholed. A self-proclaimed rock/roots trio, members Brock Alexander (guitar/lead vocals), Derek Tucker (bass/vocals), and Aaron Thomas (percussion/vocals) prove they can play the blues with the best of them, but also have the chops to bust out some serious soul, bring the funk, or simply construct a nice power pop song.
The majority of the 11 tracks are fairly straightforward blues rockers, beginning with the album's first song, “Going Nowhere.” A perfect appetizer, it gives listeners a taste of what can be heard throughout the album: solid vocals, nimble guitar, and one of the best rhythm sections you'll find on a local or national release this year. There is an undeniable Stevie Ray Vaughan influence on this and several of the other true blues tunes, including “Starting to Show,” “Easy,” and the harder rocking “Hill Country.” While few guitarists can match his licks, Alexander certainly dials in Vaughan's tone, and has plenty of salty riffs himself.
Alexander's vocal style varies. On “Easy” he is confident and powerful, channeling a cocky Jimi Hendrix. He shows off a deep soul sound during “Keep Lovin' Me Baby.” On “Little Man,” a jazzier number, he is a bit more transparent and vulnerable, much like a young John Mayer. While he is very capable at each, I couldn't help wondering which one is Alexander’s real voice.
The standout track on Steam has to be “Barn Party.” A tightly wound ball of energy, it combines ferocious slide guitar (sounding very similar in this case to a pedal steel), brilliant bass, and a shuffling beat to create foot-stomping fun. Reminiscent of Robert Randolph and the Family Band, it starts uptempo and only gets faster, ending at a blistering pace. Be sure to have your air instruments handy for this one.
The Old No. 5s display a more unique style on the album's final track, “Just the Way I Am.” While remaining true to the band's bluesy vibe, the song has a catchy pop sensibility—with an impressive jam in the middle—and should appeal to a wide audience. The trio seems to find their own identity here, something I hope to hear more of on future recordings. 
Steam is filled with truly fantastic music that taps into several genres. The songwriting and execution is top-notch. The expertise and use of each instrument, tempo changes, and drawn-out solos make it one of the most enjoyable local albums I've heard in some time. As the band continues to mature and distinguish itself, The Old No. 5s should become a force to be reckoned with—both locally and beyond.

--Brad Scott 

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Artists on Trial: Josh Colburn of Little Rosco

Artists on Trial: Josh Colburn of Little Rosco

Little Rosco is one of the newest bands to emerge in what continues to be a growing Kansas City music scene. Though the four-piece rock group only has a couple shows under its belt, it shows promise and willingness to become a force in the musical community. Today, we chat a bit with frontman Josh Colburn.

The Deli: Gun to your head: one sentence to describe your music.  What is it?

Josh Colburn: You know the song that comes on the radio that makes you get a speeding ticket? Like that...

The Deli:  Let’s talk about your latest release or upcoming shows. What can we expect?
JC:  We're are playing a show at Czar Bar on Saturday, August 11 with some other great bands: The Chaotic Goods and The New Imperialism (Wichita). It should be a great show. I know I am ready to throw down and I am super pumped to see the other bands perform! We are just starting out, so for us every show is huge -- no matter how big or small.

The Deli:  What does “supporting local music” mean to you?

JC: Of course you can tell your friends about your favorite local bands, but will they actually take the time to go find and listen to them at home? It's better to take your friends and go to a show and then if you like it, support the band! Buy a t-shirt, CD, sticker, death metal coffee mug for mom, or whatever your fancy is. Getting involved in the local music community is a great way to help and easy to do! For example, one of our members writes concert reviews for a local radio station on a volunteer basis. It may not pay anything, but he gets to meet a lot of great musicians in KC and plug them through a popular medium. There really are lots of ways to help out and make sure the music you love gets out there and doesn't die on the vine. 
The Deli: Who are your favorite “local” musicians right now?

JC: There are a lot of great local bands in the KC area, so it's really hard to just name a few. Some favorites would be Cherokee Rock Rifle, The Atlantic, The Strive and We Are Voices.

The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?
JC:  Well, Foo Fighters tops the list, I think for all of us. Also Jimmy Eat World, The Used, The Joy Formidable, Mutemath, Relient K and The Starting Line are all bands that have influenced us. On the other hand, some of the guys listen to bands that we don't emulate as well, such as the Alabama Shakes and Japandroids.

The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?

JC: I don't know if I can speak for everyone, but my personal favorites would be Rockin New Years Eve in New York and the Metro in Chicago. Not lofty, I know. But ever since I was young I've loved the intimate setting of the Metro and the energy of New York. But when it comes down to it, I don't like to be too far removed from our fans during a show.
The Deli: Would you rather spend the rest of your life on stage or in the recording studio?
JC: Definitely on stage. I've never heard of "Studio Fright" and there's a reason. I love the rush and the energy you feel being connected to other people. It's incredible.

The Deli:
 A music-themed Mount Rushmore.  What four faces are you putting up there and why?

JC: Dave Grohl (do I need to explain?), Jimmy Page (again...), Frank Sinatra (there has to be at least one true gentleman up there) and Johnny Cash (again, I don't think that needs an explanation). These guys are legends or legends in the making. Their music and lives inspire musicians daily.
The Deli:  All right, give us the rundown.  Where all on this big crazy web can you be found? 

Twitter - @littleroscoband 
The Deli:  Always go out on a high note.  Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?

JC: Go out and support local musicians. They're your friends or potential friends and they're working hard for you! Find music you love and don't ever let it die because, as Quincy Jones said, "What a harmonious world it would be if every single person shared a little bit of what they are good at doing." We like to think we are contributing to such a world, but we need everyone to join us!

Rock out with Josh and the rest of Little Rosco this Friday, August 10 at Club 906 in Liberty, or this Saturday, August 11 at Czar Bar. They'll be playing with The Chaotic Goods and The New Imperialism. Show starts at 9 pm.

--Michelle Bacon

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