Hey party people. Wait, wrong crowd? Well, anyways, I’m going to assume regardless that you’re my audience as The Shush Series is at it once again with last week’s Dougie Poole and Casey Hopkins Trio performing a free show at the Lower East Side venue, Drexler’s. Bands that represent the spectrum of American rock n’ roll music. Music that makes you feel both mentally and physically. And most importantly, music that is meant for both the feeling man and thinking woman (and obviously vis-versa).
I’m a sucker for the urban cowboy genre of music. Maybe it’s the Marlboro [Wo]Man in me, but throw a Stetson cowboy hat on it and my ears will be begging for more. Thus, cue Dougie Poole, a Brooklyn man who describes his music as “highly erratic and emotional.” And honestly, I can’t imagine what I’d consider to be more Americana than that. A lover of cats and country, his music is markedly representative of our nation and these trying times. Drawing influence from the great storytellers of our past, but with a slightly more reflective nature, he sings of loneliness and alienation, much like that of many Brooklyn inhabitants’ Facebook statuses that come across our daily feeds. In a city so big, how do we all feel so alone, despite being in such close proximity to one another? While the lo-fi production of his album, “Wideass Highway” reminds you of that one friend you knew who went to The New School, his modern lyrics and country twang have an amazingly contemporary feel for a genre that is notorious for it’s overt use of clichés. Thus, the record feels both authentically cool and overall methodical, as the songs aim to modernize the country music paradigm by affectively going against the grain and questioning the very model in which it seems to be based on. After giving it a listen, you’ll most likely be asking yourself the paradoxical question, “is it country music or isn’t it?” Or rather does it seek to transcend the very genre in which it represents? Hence, the music of Dougie Poole.
While the former artist seems to be the personification of an urban tumbleweed, quietly rolling along the plains of New York City, gathering memories and experiences in a silent manner, the Casey Hopkins Trio is a full bodied, raucous rock n’ roll group. Binging guitar-based rhythms similarly steeped in the notion of the artist’s “musical journey,” and drawing influences from the likes of The Cramps, T-Rex, and Jimi Hendrix. Casey’s music, thus, has roots that can be seemingly found in funkadelic, blues and even punk music, in which he aims to express the origins of the singer, by simultaneously rejecting the notion that his clothing and overall appearance has to necessarily match the music in which he is making. Rather he chooses to express himself as he sees fit. It is thus this rejection of the status quo that seems to tie most artists and musicians together, as they endlessly search to find ways in which to express themselves by going against the stereotypes that seem to have a strong influence over their peers and the like. It is therefore this very quality that Casey is attempting to interject into his impending full-length debut album, but for now can be felt live at any one of his shows.
Even though musically, Dougie Poole and Casey Hopkin’s may sound differently, it is the themes in which their music attempts to express and the ways in which they go about creating, producing, and promoting their music that is both similar and authentic. They choose to deny the paths in which their musical genres have set out in front of them and instead have chosen to blaze their own trails, which in and of itself, is a very American tradition. Make sure to check out these bands both online and live, as neither is an experience to be missed in person.
Coming up next up in the free Tuesday music series at Drexler’s will be local bands Wolf Diamond and Winstons, all of which whose members (at one point or another) appeared as fictitious bands on HBO’s TV series, ‘Vinyl’ .