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MP3 Rough Shop - Here Today

Modern American Folk Music - “They groove without jamming, play country like rock, rock like soul, bluegrass like pop and pop like completely original, completely refreshed roots music.” Riverfront Times

12 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Folk-Rock, ROCK: Americana

Get ready for the fabulous new release from St. Louis’ own Rough Shop. HERE TODAY features the mature writing of Ploof, Tkach, and Wendland in an inviting acoustic setting. Gather round the stereo and enjoy a journey down an intimate lyrical path that winds through exceptional performances of new old-timey tunes, bluegrass, jazz and more. The Rough Shop trio is joined by the fine fiddle stylings of Colin Blair, the tasteful accordion of Peter Hesed, and some crooning from our old friend Sean Anglin.

John Wendland: vocals, guitars & mandolin
Anne Tkach: vocals & bass
Andy Ploof: vocals, guitars, dobro & mandolin
Spencer Marquart: drums & vocals

“They groove without jamming, play country like rock, rock like soul, bluegrass like pop and pop like completely original, completely refreshed roots music.” Riverfront Times

“With multiple multi-instrumentalists and singers, Rough Shop is a formidable talent collective that deserves the chance to make a very loud noise. Post-Dispatch

At the core of Rough Shop are two former members of One Fell Swoop, one of St. Louis, Missouri’s most celebrated roots/folk/whatever groups. Throughout the ‘90s, Swoop released three records, played Farm Aid and toured Europe— and then called it quits in 2003. Principal songwriters John Wendland and Andy Ploof regrouped, adding the voice of Anne Tkach, a veteran of both Hazeldine and Nadine. They now perform as an acoustic trio and as an electric outfit featuring Spencer Marquart on drums. The Riverfront Times named them Best New Band in 2004 and The St. Louis Music Awards gave them the Critic’s Choice for Best Americana Artist in 2006.

This mysterious yet simple thing called “music” is the subject of and purpose behind Here Today, the band’s new album. It’s the second record under the name Rough Shop, after Far Past the Outskirts, which appeared in 2006 on the Perdition Records label.

Most of the time, when a second album includes only three of the same musicians who played on the first album, it means there has been a drastic personnel change. But, in the case of Rough Shop, there have been two versions of the band performing for a long time. The six-person line-up which produced Far Past the Outskirts allows for full, intricate arrangements - the smaller acoustic trio on this album creates nuanced, open performances which breathe with gentle rushes of musical air.

Andy Ploof, Anne Tkach, and John Wendland are the core members of both versions of Rough Shop, and their individual contributions are on fine display on Here Today. Ploof is the quiet observer, the songwriter who describes what he sees with a keen eye for detail and a sense of lost opportunity wedded to melodies torn from the pages of American musical history between the 1850s and 1930s. In “Dance All Night,” Ploof watches his childhood self watching a religious revival, where the music and the dancing continue all night, seeking a salvation that never comes.

Anne Tkach has never written a song before coming up with the ballad, “Dear Mama.” Tkach has played bass, drums, guitar and other instruments in bands for most of her life, but never got inspired to set down words and a tune until recently. Here, she takes the close, intimate sound of her delicate alto vocal, and seeks the personal connection her voice has always implied. Conflating her love for her mother with her need for a friend and her desire for a lover, she begs for a song to continue all night.

John Wendland wrote “Golden Slumber Inn,” the next song in this sequence. In most cheating songs, the protagonist is either tortured or thrilled, but here he is both simultaneously. Wendland is the band’s moralist, the one who knows that consequences of actions are unavoidable, and yet who can’t imagine a life without them. In this song, the music is outside his characters, coming from a radio in the next room, commenting on what is happening as his songwriting comments on people and the moments which define their lives.

Rough Shop has performed as a full band and as a trio (and in other configurations) for several years. Their musical chops are undeniable, their songwriting emotionally satisfying and always hummable, and their singing a source of beauty and fun. Here Today doesn’t tell the whole story of what this band can do, but it shows off their acoustic side to brilliant effect.

–Steve Pick

People who are interested in Bob Dylan The Byrds The Band should consider this download.
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