Mingus young
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Mingus young

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"Review of 'Jackson Hole'"

The great music business myth is the gorgeous young teenager who's handed a guitar, plunks out a few songs a couple of months later, gets noticed, and becomes a millionaire, all while barely being able to play three chords. Mingus Young is the anti-myth.

It isn't just the supurb instrumentals, or the musical history behind the riffs, melodies, references, and phrasing. It isn't just the well-written lyrics. It's the whole package.

Of all the songs on Jackson Hole my favorite would have to be "A Terrible Synopsis," but then I'm always a sucker for a gorgeous accoustic guitar. The lyrics are extremely tender -- a simple and true break up song I wish anyone I'd dated had been smart, honest, and sweet enough to write at the hard time: "If you love somebody else, I could float away/tell him that we're out of touch/ it's just so hard to say/ you and me, gone without a trace;" or "You should really call your mom,/ think she'd like to know./ Soon as you put down the phone/ you'll be headed home." The harmonies are rich but not obtrusive, the guitar fingering intricate but not overpowering. Musically this is about balance and simplicity; lyrically it's about saying complex, real things in an understated, delicate way. There is something about "You should really call your mom, think she'd like to know" that is so loving, even while it's final.

"Headlights" with it's multiple earworms has a wry, Beatles-y trippiness, as does "80's Glamour Girl" after a witty opening with the chords and portentiousness of The Who's Tommy and Pink Floyd's The Wall.

"Hymn 54" is another lovely accoustic showcase. There's drums, vocals, subtle keyboard and bass, but the rich accoustic instrumentals dominate. "Jackson Hole" (the title song for the album) on the other hand, is a lovely, extended piano showcase; not jazz, not rock, not classical, with some allusion to George Winter and a little Vince Garibaldi on the bottom fingering, but primarily it's own serene creature.

"Elliott," opens with a great Les Paul/Charlie Byrd Jazz guitar riff, shifts into the psychedelic garage band/Squeeze/Donovan holding pattern for Mingus Young, then adds a bodacious brass call out.

"Pull" is the bootie-shaker of the album and features some power funk lead guitar and keyboard call outs. "Trucking With a Four Fingered Man" is a folkie accoustic number -- cheerful, thoughtful. I'm reminded of James Taylor and Bob Dylan, not the least because of the nice harmonica chops.

"Carrie Alverson," with it's subtle pun on "Kyrie Eleison," is musically fun, and for a closing "I'm Your Man On the Dial" is an interesting choice. It's a more dramatic guitar than the rest of the album, but still it falls easily within the Beatles-y/psychedelic/instrumental Mingus Young footprint.

This album is very coherent, and I love it. But I have to admit (though this may mark me as perverse) I'd love to hear what Mingus Young would make of bluegrass, of a Steve Earle harder edged influence. Jackson Hole isn't a bootie shaker. It's thoughtful, dense -- perfect music for an evening chilling with friends over dinner, a long drive, for hanging out. So far the album is available only from Mingus Young directly (see their myspace website) but it wouldn't surprise me to see that change.

- myspace.com/musicelliza

"Live Review"

"Chapel Hill's Mingus Young opened with a impressive set that reminded listeners of My Morning Jacket and some of the buoyant sounds of the Beatles."
- Daily Tarheel


'Jackson Hole' debut album 2006
Currently working on as of yet untitled album set to be released in late 2007 or january 2008



Born in the fall '05 in the low hills and back alleys of the indie rock mecca known as Chapel Hill, NC, Mingus Young is a melodic five piece rock-n-roll band. Utilizing three part harmonies, a multiple guitar attack and a driving rhythm section along with the distinctive sounds of the electric violin and rhodes piano, the band evokes a sound that is equal parts British invasion (Kinks/Beatles) and American roots rock (Neil Young/Wilco). Winning over audiences opening for the likes of V2 recording artists Roman Candle and local heroes The Dynamite Brothers, the band is proving to be an engaging and energetic live act. The Daily Tarheel says of their sound, "...an impressive set that reminded listeners of My Morning Jacket and some of the buoyant sounds of the Beatles." Their debut album, 'Jackson Hole', was released this past fall which was followed by a successful east coast tour.