Between Two Lions
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August 2006

Smother
Editor's Pick
By J-SIN

Indiana is not only according to the Department of Homeland Security one of the biggest targets of terrorists (ahead of California clearly), but also the home to alt. country artists Between Two Lions. The guitar swaggers with a swaying hollow-bodied tone that belies a straight-forward Nashville sound. The lyrics are an honest reminder of down-home cookin and gritty bar brawls with a vocalist dipped in cheap whiskey. Stirring songs that will send a shiver up and down your spine, having you forget that whole Wilco trend. - Smother.net


September 2006

pulverradio.com
September 7, 2006
By MICHAEL MCCLENATHAN

Rock music (nay, music in general) may seem to the untrained eye to be in trouble these days. The major labels put out mostly dreck, nobody believes in or watches MTV, terrestrial radio borders on criminally negligent. And maybe (probably) there will never be another time period where people line up around the block from a record store on a Tuesday to buy a record the day it comes out. But all the loudmouthed fatalists just aren't looking in the right places. There is so much good music out there. The ship may be sinking, but there are a MULTITUDE of life-boats heading away from it in every direction. Between Two Lions is in one of them.

Between Two Lions' second release, Put This City On My Shoulders, delivers on the potential promised in their earlier work. And then some. According to the band's own site, "The album tells the story of someone growing up in a small town; leaving to explore the world; then returning, resigned to the fact that he can never truly leave; and finally embracing that fact." But don't expect a straight narrative, because it isn't one. It is, however, a strong collection of songs that, if you're like me and came from a small town, might make you homesick once or twice. I've said it before and I'll echo myself here: this band exemplifies small-town rock. There's no posturing, no big city grit. Just good, pretty songs. - PulverRadio.com


August 2006

The ChickenFish Speaks
Between Two Lions - Put This City On My Shoulders - CD
by GREG MUTANT

There are few times that I can appreciate a steel pedal guitar and this is one of them. BTL is a great alt country band with tastes of Chamberlain, Ryan Adams, Whiskytown and Todd Snider. I was trying to figure out who the vocalist sounds like and I finally got it, a young Jackson Browne. Yes, digging ever deeper into the past. Standouts include the haunting "Letters from the Inside", the introspective "Attic Flowers", The driving "Approximity Effect" and the sad story of "Controlled Burn". A real standout of a release from a band in southern Indiana. - The ChickenFish Speaks


August 2006

Babysue®: LMNOP®
Between Two Lions - Put This City on My Shoulders
(Independently released CD, Soft pop/Americana)

Between Two Lions is a four piece band based in New Albany, Indiana. Although the band is being lumped into the alternative country category, in actuality their music differs from other such bands. The tracks on Put This City on My Shoulders are soft, pure pop tunes that just happen to be accentuated by a rather precisely played pedal steel guitar. Other than the steel guitar, the band's music is pure, soft pop. This is the band's second album, and it finds them sounding exceedingly slick, smooth, and accessible. Unlike a lot of underground bands, these guys have the potential to hit it big with lots of folks. Their songs are smart, honest, and very easy on the ears and consciousness. Cool laidback rhythms and heartfelt vocals make tracks like "Attic Flowers" and "Letter From the Inside" really shine... (Rating: 4++++) - Babysue®: LMNOP®


April 13, 2005
by JOSHUA HAMMANN

There's not much clamoring out there for a one-man band.

It's tough to walk with that bass drum on your back, and well, clapping cymbals between your knees will never beat out a steady rhythm.

So Brent Engle recruited two of his best friends to turn Between Two Lions from a notion in his head and a collection of songs nobody had ever heard into a legit band.

Engle, along with drummer Eric Moore and bassist Todd Corley, have been playing and performing under the name Between Two Lions since late 2001.

All three guys, and manager Scott Estes, grew up together in New Albany.

In 2001, the three had been called Thieves, and included guitarist John Stein. Stein, however, moved to California in 2003.

It wasn't until the band was whittled down to a trio that it was able to play out.

Engle, Moore and Corley went into the studio about this time last year with Faulk Audio engineer Tim Haertel manning the board. As is the case with most young bands, money and studio time were short, so the band had just a week to record a nine-song EP.

"It was as much fun as playing out, if not more so," Engle said of his maiden voyage into a real studio. "It gave us time to be creative together, and it was a good experience for us."

The self-titled EP is nothing more than gentle, guitar-driven pop. Engle's voice, especially on "Thieves," is warm and intimate, and artfully takes the lead over his clean guitar lines and a steady, bouncing rhythm.

"Our sound has evolved a little bit," Engle said. "We were looking for the folk-country flavor in the beginning, but it's something a little more poppy and gentle now. It's basically pop and roots rock."

"The plan right now is to go back into the studio this fall," Engle said. "We have an enormous amount of new material to record. Hopefully, we'll have something by the end of the year to shop around. That's our goal right now."

Until them, you can check out Between Two Lions live April 27 during the Roots of Rock Battle of the Bands at Jillian's. - Louisville Velocity


May 5, 2005
by MICHAEL MCCLENATHAN

Between Two Lions is the name that Brent Engle uses when he puts on his rock hat. His friends Eric and Todd help out, too. This is rock from a small town in Indiana, and it sounds the way good rock from a small town should sound. It's not rushed, not obnoxious or overbearing, and it's very pretty. - PulverRadio.com


May 11, 2005
by DOUG RAPP

New Albany’s Between Two Lions has released an EP of sharp and jangly pop tunes, like REM and later-day Lemonheads. Opener “Walking Awake” floats over the same somberly discordant chords Evan Dando used to croon over. “Pop Song” is, well, a catchy pop song, with backing woo-woos and lyrics like I’m feeling alone, I throw a Velvets record on because I’m digging the tone. “Put On a Shirt” sounds like an intriguing demo of John Mayer jamming with Shudder to Think.

The trio shifts into alt-country mode with “Anthem for a Heartbreaker,” and then rolls into Stonesish territory with “Tracey,” a sly ode to a girl who broke songwriter Engle’s heart not once, not twice, but three times.

The eight-song EP closes with “Twenty-four,” a reference to the 24 years since Engle poked my head in at this world rather than Kiefer Sutherland. The band kicks it up a bit more toward the end, charging into a Neil Youngish guitar solo. Engle has a lot of ideas based in some tried-and-true schools of rock, and it should be interesting to see how these guys evolve. Between Two Lions plays the newly opened Oasis (1506 Lake Shore Court, 412-2275) with Bloom Street on Friday at 10 p.m. - Louisville Eccentric Observer


08/06/2005
By Derek Blackmon

Finally, my faith in rock is slowly being restored. On Indiana-based Between Two Lions' initial self-titled EP, it appears that talent, in lieu of flashy make-up (vis-à-vis My Chemical Romance and The Killers) and bed-wetter lyrics (reference your least favorite emo band here), is once again the new rage.

With nine songs attached, it’s a bit of a misnomer to actually classify this as an EP, but my job now is to write about it, not to change how it’s marketed. Don’t be misled, there are a couple of tender songs here, but the sad bastard element seems to be kept at elbows distance.

The opening track “Walking Awake” seems vaguely familiar to The Wallflowers’ “Three Marlenas,” but Jakob Dylan is a second generation rock God, so this influence is welcomed with open arms. Lead singer and sole lyricist Brent Engle does sweet justice to what are seemingly introspective lyrics and Midwest sensibilities:

Is the girl of my dreams
walking awake looking for me
pinch me if she's there
if not let me sleep
let me die alone in my sleep

“Anthem for a Heartbreaker” will go down as the most overlooked and underappreciated alt-country song of the year. Don’t believe me? Listen to it and find one better and I’ll paint your house. This is the song John Mellencamp could’ve written twenty-five years ago, but he must’ve been too busy changing his name and lighting another cigarette. The fellow Hoosier could use it these days; he’s got to be sick of singing “Jack and Diane” by now.

Something about the melodious angst of “Twenty-Four” made me shudder. I admire a guy who can wax philosophical about his young life, but there’s something unjust about thinking you should be settled in your early twenties. That’s the time when being young is priceless. At this point you’ve learned to avoid the police, relationships, bar tabs and responsibility. These are the days you tell your kids about when you reach your forties! Ah, impetuous youth, where is thy sting?

The demo for “Slow Shine” rounds out this collection, and if this is merely the demo I either need to hear the final cut or this should be heard by anyone who’s ever been innocently in love. This is the most eloquent and beautiful track here. And they call it a demo! Foolish, I tell you. This is the finished product.

Trying to place individual influences on each song is completely unnecessary. Everything is inspired by something that came before it, whether it’s apparent or not. Between Two Lions’ website indicates that a full-length release is expected later this year. If this is the case, we shall see whether these guys are a flash in the pan or America’s next favorite band. My nomination right now is for the latter. Mellow rock is more inviting than a bunch of black clad, Revlon sporting dilettantes prancing about and whining how they had to get record contracts because their parents cut off their allowance and kicked them out of the attic. Mellow down easy, man. Mellow down easy. - Indie-Music.com


July 12, 2006

by ANTHONY BOWMAN

I liked this band as soon as I heard them, and then I found out that they’re from New Albany, which made me like them even more.( Being from across the river myself, it’s exciting to see a really great band coming out of my hometown.)

Between Two Lions’ new record, Put This City on My Shoulders, is 45 minutes worth of alt-country magic. The smoky, jukebox ballads stand up alongside the best of Whiskeytown and early My Morning Jacket. Guitarist Tim Corley has perfected the plaintive wail of the pedal steel guitar, which seems to cry out its agreement with Brent Engle’s low, lovelorn, nearly whispered lyrics. Engle himself uses the harmonica to the same end, which works wonderfully. This isn’t “All My Rowdy Friends” country. This is pure “Tear in My Beer.”

Louisville is also a main character in the album; references appear in most of the songs. There is definitely a sense of the lonely isolation that can only be possible in a city full of strangers. If you imagine wandering brokenhearted alongside the gray streets of this city late at night and then stumbling into some honky-tonk dive, drawn by the music escaping along with cigarette smoke through the door left ajar, ideally the band playing would be Between Two Lions. If you didn’t imagine them, you probably haven’t heard them. And if you haven’t, you should.

Engle recently took time to take on LEO’s Five Important Questions.

LEO: If you were Mayor, what would you do to help promote people like you in this city?
Brent Engle: Find ways to emphasize local music. One way might be to help fund WXBH-FM, 92.7, Brick House Radio. This locally controlled station would lower the barriers typically associated with getting your music on the radio and give local artists a much needed performance venue from which to share their music. Helping local bands get their music on the radio would be the ultimate display of support by the Mayor’s office.

LEO: Which Louisville musician needs to get more attention?
BE: There are many. Two guys that come to mind right away are Nate Thumas (the old 100 Acre Wood, and now Dallas Alice) and Peter Searcy (Squirrel Bait, Big Wheel, Starbilly, solo). They are both very talented songwriters and musicians who deserve much more recognition than they have received to date.

LEO: Tell me about one of your favorite works of art aside from your medium.
BE: A local artist by the name of Michael Nicolas painted the oil-on-canvas piece “City” that was used for the cover of Put This City On My Shoulders. After seeing this piece and talking to Michael about his inspiration for creating it, I instantly got the idea for this record. I don’t know much about art, but it has been said that art should inspire. We have a really great record, and I bought the painting — I call that inspiration. Another artist who has been a favorite of mine for quite some time is Jack Simon. His medium is charcoal on canvas and he has a style that is very interesting to me — I own more than a few of his pieces.

LEO: If music were food, what kind would yours be?
BE: Probably a pizza and a beer from Rich-O’s Public House. I always feel great after a couple of slices of pizza and a few Electors. I hope that is how people feel after listening to our music — completely satisfied.

LEO: What do you want to say that you know you shouldn’t?
BE: I think we are all in touch with reality when it comes down to being in a band — that is, we all have our careers separate from Between Two Lions. That being said, we still occasionally check the machine for a message from Austin City Limits. - Louisville Eccentric Observer


August 2, 2006

by CHRIS QUAY

Between Two Lions apparently went through a transition with putting together its first-full length.

Whereas the local quartet's previous self-titled EP presented more of a cathartic indie rock feel, "Put this City on My Shoulders" shows the band moving toward a rootsy rock.

And it's a refreshing change considering how smooth the CD glides through each acoustic guitar riff or pedal steel guitar wail.

Remnants of Uncle Tupelo's "Still Feel Gone" or Son Volt's "Trace" can certainly be heard throughout the CD, but luckily Brent Engle's vocals stray far from Jay Farrar's nasal strain.

The strummy, upbeat "Approximity Affect" is a solid uptempo effort, but the band shifts dynamics well enough between the sweet ballad "Madeline" to the rocking "Blessed Steamroller" back to a pensive anthem about small town influence with "Rain Parade."

It may not be the Between Two Lions you're familiar with, but nonetheless the band has taken a major step forward with a CD full of solid alt-county songwriting and craftsmanship. - Velocity Weekly


Discography

Put This City On My Shoulders (2006)
Between Two Lions (EP) (2004)

Photos

Bio

Brent Engle, Eric Moore, and brothers Todd and Tim Corley were all born, raised, and live in the small town of New Albany, Indiana, making music under the name BETWEEN TWO LIONS. Inspired by this shared upbringing and their longtime friendship, the band has made a record that blurs the line between the alternative rock and country genres with an artist’s precision.

Put This City On My Shoulders is the band's second album and represents a whole new level of ambition. The album tells the story of someone growing up in a small town; leaving to explore the world; then returning, resigned to the fact that he can never truly leave; and finally embracing that fact. Engle's feeling of attachment to the region is a common thread throughout his writing on the record.

In keeping with the spirit of the album's title, the band chose an oil on canvas abstract painting by local Louisville artist and friend Michael Nicolas entitled "City", for the album cover artwork. Engle makes no secret that the painting, with the words "Put this city on my shoulders" scribed across its canvas, was the inspiration for the album theme and title. In the album's concluding track, Engle bookends the record with the statement, "I know I can lean on this town / when the time is right / and when the time is right / I'll put this city on my shoulders".

The band tapped Lexington, Kentucky, producer Duane Lundy to produce the album - their first full-length record. Lundy's work with other Louisville artists such as VHS OR BETA and THE PARLOUR BOYS - coupled with his appreciation for the alternative country genre - led him to a chance encounter with BETWEEN TWO LIONS at one of their 2005 shows. Recorded at Lundy's Lexington studio (Shangri-la Productions), the band set out to make the best record possible and make it on their terms.

A stark contrast to the "indie" rock appeal of their 2004 self-titled debut release, Put This City On My Shoulders is less straight-forward at times and has a more warm and intimate feel to it. Lundy creates this atmosphere through his use of an eclectic collection of vintage instruments, recording gear, and techniques; as well as a Nashville tuned acoustic guitar. With his experience and gear, Lundy's "atmosphere" became the fifth member of BETWEEN TWO LIONS during the recording process and ultimately sets this record apart from its peers.

Moore and Todd Corley provide percussion and bass, respectively, forming an understated yet consistent backing rhythm that provides a nice contrast to Engle's acoustic guitars and vocal delivery, which are strong enough to stand on their own as a singer/songwriter type record. Tim Corley's pedal steel and electric guitars provide a unique texture to the music and contribute to the overall distant rural atmosphere of the album.

The Put This City On My Shoulders track list includes: Attic Flowers, Approximity Affect, Madeline, No Parachute, What Treasure, Blessed Steamroller, Controlled Burn, Red Flashing Lights, Letter From The Inside, Rain Parade, and A Mouth Full Of Magic.

Press plans for Put This City On My Shoulders include regional and national press, radio, and Internet promotion with limited touring to follow. Most recently the band has also been selected to perform at the well-regarded Midwest Music Summit and has opened for acts such as OKKERVIL RIVER and RICHARD BUCKNER. Early reaction to the album has been enthusiastic, with it being named “Album of the Week” by Louisville’s public radio station WFPK, and drawing praise from critics such as the below.

"Between Two Lions' new record, Put This City on My Shoulders, is 45 minutes worth of alt-country magic. The smoky, jukebox ballads stand up alongside the best of Whiskytown and early My Morning Jacket."
- Louisville Eccentric Observer

"The band has taken a major step forward with a CD full of solid alt-county songwriting and craftsmanship."
- Velocity Weekly

"Stirring songs that will send a shiver up and down your spine, having you forget that whole Wilco trend."
- Smother.net

"BTL is a great alt country band with tastes of Chamberlain, Ryan Adams, Whiskeytown and Todd Snider." "A real standout of a release"
- The ChickenFish Speaks.com

"This is the band's second album, and it finds them sounding exceedingly slick, smooth, and accessible. Unlike a lot of underground bands, these guys have the potential to hit it big with lots of folks."
- Babysue®: LMNOP®

"Between Two Lions second release, Put This City On My Shoulders, delivers on the potential promised in their earlier work. And then some."
- PulverRadio.com

For more information on BETWEEN TWO LIONS, please visit the band on the Web:

Official Web Site
http://www.betweeentwolions.com

MySpace
http://www.myspace.com/betweentwolions

Sonicbids EPK
http://www.sonicbids.com/btl

Or email the band at info@betweentwolions.com.

For questions or informat