Lynch and Potts
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Lynch and Potts

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All me to introduce you to one of my new favorite bands on the local music scene, Shamus 73, who in their own words on their website, "grew out of the ashes of two popular Twin Cities bands, the Loose Rails and Skeleton Ed." (For those of you really keeping track, you may note that Shamus 73 was formerly known as the Leeds.) Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised to stumble across Shamus 73, which I did quite by accident Wednesday night at the Uptown. On my list that night was to see The Exceptionals. But accidentally discovering a great new band is one of my favorite parts of my self-imposed rock hack hobby.



I was a certifiable Loose Rails fan in "the old days;" the early 90's now practically seem like a different era in local music. I knew Matt, Jeff and Adam from the Rails pretty well actually. And I'd seen the now mythical Skeleton Ed (featuring Rodney Lynch) more than a few times at the Entry. Ten years on I am delighted to see Potts and Lynch's have teamed up to form the heart Shamus 73, Lynch on lead vocals and Potts on lead guitar, balanced on the rhythm section of Joe Munster on bass, and the handsomely tattooed John Munster on drums.



In the late 70's and early 80's I was a bigger than big teenage fan of three bands that most people ignored at the time but that as time wore on became terribly important to pop music, at least from a critical perspective: The under-appreciated Zion, Illinois band Shoes; the perfectly poppy wunderkinds, The Records; and the legendary Peter Perret led The Only Ones. The spirit of all three of these great bands is alive and well in Shamus 73. It's almost as if the guys have been sleeping with their records under their pillows for the past 20 years.



Shamus 73 opened with a cover of "Shake Some Action" by the Flamin' Groovies. It immediately cheered me and made me doubtful if I would still be able to make my self-imposed midnight curfew that night. From the first few bars of scintillating guitar it conjured up sweet memories of "Starry Eyes" by The Records. Matt "Guitar" Potts lived up to his rock god reputation when the effects kicked in on his Gibson; I was transported to a time and place simpler and just plain more fun than today.



Their second song was "Please Gravity" from their critically acclaimed (http://shamus73.homestead.com/quotesShamus73.html) spring 2002 release "Growing in My Mind" a recommended purchase from your local indie shop or online at CDBaby.com. I was awestruck by the quality of the song writing here, most of which is done in by the team of Potts and Lynch. These are pop songs of an exquisite quality hard to match by any band in the Twin Cities today. (You can grab this one from the band's MP3 site.)



I wrote the note "Wow!" next to the third song in the set-list, which turned out to be none other than "Sad Day" the opener to their album also available on MP3.com. Although the bass line of this song sounds eerily like The Only One's "Another Girl, Another Planet" imitation is surely the sincerest form of flattery and you can expect no copyright infringements here. You will be in love with this song and this band by the time you get to the verse "You're not falling / It's just gravity pulling you down." This is purely and simply a five star pop song.



Potts introduced the bands fourth song by saying, "This one's for all the ladies in the audience." This was surely a somewhat twisted joke as there were almost no women in the bar by this time. (What is it with the Uptown Bar stage? I don't recall the last time I've heard a serious or coherent in-between-song comment by any band on that stage. Is there some sort of running joke about Uptown Bar band banter that I've not been let in on?) In any case, that song was a rocking rendition of the Elvis song "Burning Love" (http://www.geocities.com/just_4_u333/elvis.html#BurningLove) written by Dennis Linde.



Rodney Lynch then introduced a brand new song called "Mount Palomar" which I don't recall too well, but was not a set highlight. Somehow there was a momentary loss of focus here, or so it seemed. But nothing to worry about as song six saw things coming right back together again.



Alas, it was a school night, the midnight bells had rung and it was time to go home. (Matt Potts filled me in later via e-mail that they'd ended the set with "6 Days on the Road" and a Flaming Groovies cover "Teenage Head" so I wish I'd stayed.) As I was putting on my rain gear by my Vespa parked out behind the Uptown for the ride home Johnny waved at me from his seat at the drum kit.



Verdict: Shamus 73 are super nice guys, these are terrific songs, and this is a great live rock show. I will pass along info on their next show as soon as I can dig it up as no future shows are yet listed on their website.



P. S. In my e-mail from Matt, he also said he believes the Shamus 73 songs are some of the best songs he and Lynch have ever written. I would have to agree with that. It's my hope that this review will serve as my part at attempting to get more people out to see this gem of a local act!--David de Young, howwastheshow.com
- Howwastheshow.com


I'm sitting here in shock.

PURE muther-fucking-bend-me-over-backward-and-spank-my-hot-ass shock. Because I was scrambling to make my press deadline for this review, I purposely woke myself up on a Sat. morning at 5:15 AM AFTER a Friday night gig in Wilmington, DE (I live in Philly). So let's just say I wasn't in the sweetest of moods as I sat down to Shamus 73's debut album, "Growing in My Mind."

The goddamn sun hadn't risen yet, I haven't had breakfast or my coffee and here I was about to listen to new music. Humph. This might get ugly--but that's why I'm sitting here in shock. It didn't get ugly. In fact, just the opposite occurred. Shamus 73 is probably one of the most inspiring, hooks-slapping-my-face-off, indie, un-signed bands I've heard. EVER. Ever ever ever ever ever EVER!! If you like Whiskey Town and Wilco, Shamus 73 will give you a hard-on (or the female equivalent (I'll have to ask my wife about the word for that). After listening to the album three times in full rotation (I'm not kidding), I signed up on their fan list, downloaded their songs from MP3.com, and explored their entire fan website. What the hell happened?? I feel like a teenage girl in 1964 who's screaming her titties off because she's about 200 deep waiting for Ringo Starr to dash out of a limo. How can I get a poster of these guys to hang in my room?! Seriously. Named after a Burt Reynold's filmed released in 1973, Shamus 73 (see the connection, ahhh?) represents everything true, real, and beautiful about original music. From Matt Pott's naked guitar with infectious Neil Young-esque riffs to the near-perfect rhythm section combo (The Munster Brothers, Joe and Johnny) pocketed wonderfully to accent lead singer, Lynch's tenor, Shamus 73 frame their straight-ahead song writing with discipline, passion, and hooks that never stop. My personal favorite and a band anthem is "Sad Day." I especially admire how the vocals and musical dynamics drop back into the verse from the chorus--there's something so simply perfect in the arrangement and songwriting there - you'll hear the same thing when you listen. Without fail, every song on the album made me glow--and not just musically. Their lyrics border on brilliance as well. "I'm not a wise man searching for a star. I'm just a fool who left the bedroom door ajar ("Every Color's Blue"). And how true is their theme in "Voodoo Summer" - "You don't believe in magic anymore - that's a part of you I will have to ignore." What I respect most is that Shamus 73 isn't lead by one mastermind, but rather a songwriting partnership between Lynch and fellow band mate, guitarist/vocalist Matt Potts. These two together are, excuse the expression, kicking ass and taking names (I had to use that phrase-- Shamus 73 prides itself on poignantly clichéd retro humor which is employed heartily on their web site). Tag-teaming on lyrics, melodies, and arrangements, the Lynch/Potts consortium produce 3 min. power pop nuggets that pull the listener into simple yet universal themes. The songs are compact and evoke personal connection through measured use of descriptive language, i.e. song title, "King of the Jersey Shore." Could I go so far as calling this songwriting team the Lennon and McCartney of the Twin Cities? Maybe, but let's wait to see how their next album sounds. And believe me, I'll be watching for it. Shit, I'll be sending Lynch and Potts daily fan emails begging, "Hey! when's the next album coming out? Come on, muther fuckers, you just gotta let me know!" Jesus, save me, I didn't know I had this side of me. Where's that poster of the band holding calico kittens as they all sit atop a '74 Corvette for my wall again? Everything about Shamus 73's "Growing in my Mind" feels good, which by the way is titled "in honor of Stephen Hawking and his pursuit of the Grand Unified Theory (GUT) that ties all known physical laws into one neat package (Shamus 73)". These boys from the northern tundra are damn good. I've got to publicly thank my editor, Deneen, for sending this demo my way. Shamus 73 reminds me painfully of how much I miss the original and unique flavor of the Minnesota music scene. P.S. The only piece of advice I could pass on to this band would be to enlarge their menu bar on their website. Either that or change the text color from blue to yellow or something. I couldn't even read the section titled "buy." How you gonna sell albums that way, man? A piece of advice for all you Demorama and Toast fans out there, aside from buying their album, you really should visit Shamus 73's website (www.shamus73.com). Like their songs, the website is a feel-good, no frills portal offering sweet vibes and some quietly funny material. Their links section, for instance, provides access to sites such as, "Men Who Look Like Kenny Rogers" and "Aluminum Foil Helmets." Their art section displays a sample of their old gig posters which are creative mock-ups of comic book covers and 1950s regional wrestling bouts. And their recommended reading list--let's just say it tickled my funny bone to the point where I wanted to rock and hold myself until my nipples exploded into small pieces for kittens to eat. (Eric Thiegs - Demorama.com


Rodney Lynch and Matt Potts have been performing together for a very long time. In fact, the two have established over 100's songs together since beginning their journey together in 1996. Now the two, who met playing in Twin Cities bands, are continually making music that will make you feel good on the inside. Make sure to take a peek at their EPK (Electronic Press Kit) on Sonicbids.com (Music Resource Submission Giant). In the meantime, enjoy this great spotlight with the band here on Junior’s Cave.

Isaac-Joseph: How is everyone doing today?

Lynch and Potts: We’re fine. Just trying to stay warm. It’s pretty cold here in Minnesota (it’s February.)

Isaac-Joseph: Your music has a nice acoustical feel to it. What I really like about the music is that when you are listening to it I feel I am listening to a story being told. How do you approach your music?

Lynch and Potts: Well, the music is a means of self-expression what we would like to have make sense to other people. Sometimes one of us a bit of a lyric lying around that we expand upon and fit to music. Other times it’s exactly the opposite and between us we get a full-blown set of lyrics and no music. What it really comes down to, though, is that we try to write the kind of songs that we’d like to hear as listeners.

Isaac-Joseph: What aspect of making music excites you the most right now as an entertainer?

Lynch and Potts: One exciting thing is the prospect of creating something and having it available to anyone within a few hours. Technology has been a boon to musicians like us. It’s a double-edged sword, too, since every band has access to the same technology. The whole DIY ethic is (and has been) a pretty exciting philosophy. There is a much bigger outlet for independent music than ever before.

Isaac-Joseph: What aspect of making music gets you the most discouraged you the most?

Lynch and Potts: It’s an old complaint but it seems that music these days is a lot more image than music. Maybe it was always that way and it just never registered until now. In the 70s, a bunch of paunchy hairy guys could get together and make a record. It’s unlikely today, though, that the record would get released on a major label. It gets discouraging, I think, when you finally come to the realization that the recording industry is really just a numbers game more than anything else. When you hear people talking about “units”, it’s like any artistic value has been leached out of the music. It’s not music anymore but a thing—they could be talking about blenders.

Isaac-Joseph: You have some new releases. Expound on your new project and what can we expect from them.

Lynch and Potts: What we’re doing right now is a shade quieter than music we’ve done in the past with our previous bands (Skeleton Ed, The Loose Rails, Shamus 73.) There’s room to breathe in a lot of the songs. On the other hand, we’re both fans of the Wall of Sound/Beach Boys/Beatles type of production so we do have some songs in which we’ve thrown in everything but the kitchen sink. Because it’s just the two of us we’ve been more inclined to write for ourselves rather than for “the band.” In a band situation,there are more instances where you think “Oh, this won’t work for the band” and never bring it in. So there’s a variety of styles.

Isaac-Joseph: What's the most unusual place you've ever played a show or made a recording? How did the qualities of that place affect the show/recording?

Lynch and Potts: Most unusual place? An old roadhouse in Caledonia, Illinois. We played with a band in which the singer dressed up like a tomato and the band threw hotdogs and toast into the audience. I’m glad we played before them. The place was big with a big stage; there were a lot of people there (they were all eating hotdogs.) I don’t know if it affected our performance but having a bigger audience was really gratifying.

Isaac-Joseph: In what ways does the place where you live (or places where you have lived), affect the music you create, or your taste in music?

Lynch and Potts: I’m not sure if a specific area affects how I write except for maybe providing different descriptive phrases that get filed away somewhere. Different memories, I suppose. Most of my youth was spent in the southern U.S. and because of that I still have a soft spot for Molly Hatchet and other southern rock bands. My parents were from the south, too, and because of my mother’s record collection I grew up listening to people like the Louvin Brothers. Moving up to Minnesota at right about the time the Minneapolis scene first gathered steam I got immersed in lots of independent bands and met lots of people who opened my mind up to other kinds of music.

Isaac-Joseph: When was the last time you wrote a song? What can you tell us about it?

Lynch and Potts: We wrote a couple on 2/6/08—I remember the date because we both took time off from our respective jobs. One’s called “I Can’t Stand To See You See Me Cry” which is a title I had floating around for months. It’s a throwback to the late 60s/early 70s country—what a lot of critics called “countrypolitan.” We were trying for a Conway Twitty kind of feeling and ended up somewhere between Twitty and Tom Waits. The other one is still untitled but it’s got a folk-like feel to it. Very spare.

Isaac-Joseph: As you create more music, do you find yourself getting more or less interested in seeking out and listening to new music made by other people...and why do you think that is?

Lynch and Potts: I’m still as interested in new music as I ever was. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the abundance of choices that we have now with music on the Internet, etc. The sheer volume of choices can be a bit of a sensory overload. Sometimes because of that I don’t initially give music purchases the chances they deserve and instead move onto the next thing. But, then later on I’ll go back and find a gem. I think the reason for still actively listening to new music is that like lots of people in bands/music we both started out as music fans more than anything else and that’s at the core of what we, and everyone else in a band, are. It’s just that feeling you get when you find something really cool; it’s like it’s your own personal discovery that no one else knows about. And simultaneously you want to keep it a secret and tell everyone about it.

Isaac-Joseph: Lately, what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener? (Old or new music? Music like yours or different from yours?)

Lynch and Potts: For me, it’s a lot of poppy stuff (old and new) in the “70s AM radio” sense. You know? lots of melody and harmony. Also, I like a lot of old country music that my mother listened to when I was growing up that I probably didn’t like much at the time. Plus, I’ve got a turntable that plays 78s so it’s cool to go out to places like Goodwill and find old blues/country 78s. They’re all scratchy but sound like you’ve been transported to another place.

Isaac-Joseph: Name a band or musician, past or present, who you flat-out LOVE and think more people should be listening to. What's one of your all-time favorite recordings by this band/musician?

Lynch and Potts: Richard and Linda Thompson, the entire “Shoot Out The Lights” album. Great songwriting, singing and guitar playing. Linda probably has the greatest voice of the past 30 years. It’s a great album to play after you’ve been given the heave-ho by someone.

Isaac-Joseph: What is your favorite song of yours that you enjoy performing on stage?

Lynch and Potts: “This Is The Way The World Begins.” It’s fun AND it mentions Mike Love.

Isaac-Joseph: This is what we call our Shout Out time. Elaborate on any and everyone that matters the most to you:

Lynch and Potts: I’d advise everyone to listen to Rufus Harley. He played jazz bagpipes and was phenomenal.



Lynch and Potts' EPK on Sonicbids.com
http://www.sonicbids.com/LynchandPotts - Junior's Cave


Discography

Together and individually Rodney Lynch and Matt Potts have appeared on the following singles and albums:

Skeleton Ed--"Duck Fumpling"(album)
Skeleton Ed--"Jive Job For Chump Change" (album)
Skeleton Ed--"That's Cool With Her" (album)
Skeleton Ed"Fridley Bound/"Cow's Come Home" (single)

Skeleton Ed--"Spree Sessions" (EP) {The B-side, "Edge of My Bed," garnered airplay and was selected for the Shreds, Vol. 5: American Underground Early 90's compilation.}

Loose Rails--"Bet The Farm/Waiting For You To Be Mine" (single) {A hit in Sweden}
Loose Rails--"Jerk!" (EP)
Loose Rails--"Red Turns To Green" (album)

Shamus 73--"Growing In My Mind" (2003) Album
Shamus 73--"Bright" (2005) Album

"Mount Palomar," the first single from "Bright" received internet airplay.

Photos

Bio

Rodney Lynch and Matt Potts have composed 100's of songs together since 1996. The two met playing in Twin Cities bands, Skeleton Ed (Rodney) and The Loose Rails (Matt). The first song they composed together was "Message to Judy", which appeared on Skeleton Ed's release, "That's Cool With Her". Together Lynch and Potts were members of The Leeds. From 2000 thru 2006 they led Shamus 73, composing and performing the critically acclaimed "Growing In My Mind", and "Bright"
Reviews of these releases stated...
"songs of an exquisite quality hard to match by any band in the Twin Cities today" "Tag-teaming on lyrics, melodies, and arrangements, the Lynch/Potts consortium produce 3 minute songs that pull the listener into simple yet universal themes"
"straight-ahead song writing with discipline, passion, and hooks that never stop" Their lyrics border on brilliance as well. "I'm not a wise man searching for a star. I'm just a fool who left the bedroom door ajar ("Every Color's Blue"). And how true is their theme in "Voodoo Summer" - "You don't believe in magic anymore - that's a part of you I will have to ignore." They frame their straight-ahead song writing with discipline, passion, and hooks that never stop…