Our Lady of the Highway
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Our Lady of the Highway

Band Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Ivy Room (live review)"

It's frankly amazing that Our Lady of the Highway frontman Dominic East didn't injure himself in a similar manner. The dude is positively manic, strumming his acoustic guitar with an endless series of bombastically goofy expressions flashing across his face, while often hopping and jerking around for maximum comedic effect.

If he jumped up on the bar and started dancin' to "Tequila," you'd swear to Christ homeboy was Pee-Wee Herman.

What makes this doubly strange is that Dominic appears to sing songs solely about romantic desolation, heartbreak, and self-medication: He began the set braying "Lord, stop the bar/I wanna get off" and ended it sweetly crooning, "You still like boys in all of my dreams." As a quartet, Our Lady of the Highway floats these post-breakup moans atop swirling alt.country tunes reminiscent of R.E.M. in the good ol' days -- these Oakland cats fit the bill perfectly at the American Music Club reunion show back in August.

In fact, Dominic's bandmates all play the Mike Mills role: quiet instrumental excellence and the occasional sweet vocal harmony, but all delivered with a deference to the flailing frontman's odd star power. Dominic's I'm-so-happy-to-be-singing-this-incredibly-sad-song mannerisms are super-bizarre but oddly appealing, and he clearly takes 'em seriously. At one point between songs he literally tuned his face, hesitantly delivering the next song's first line -- "It's like lightning" -- before shaking it off, cocking his head to an almost perpendicular angle, brightening his already beatific facial expression a couple thousand watts, and trying again: "It's like lightning."

Much better.

It's hard to resist such melancholy delivered with such joy or such a gentlemanly air. After the first tune a woman in the crowd loudly dropped or otherwise mangled her drink, and Dominic quickly fished a free drink ticket from his pocket and skipped offstage to hand it to her.

Moments later he was wistfully reminiscing about a first kiss: "It was raining/It was a Tuesday/You wore green/And bitch I'll cripple you/Again/I'll cripple you/Again."

It's the quiet ones you have to watch out for, folks, and the weirdly giddy ones you really have to watch out for. Here in the Ivy Room's wood-paneled womb, ain't nothing what it seems. - East Bay Express

"About Leaving (album review)"

About Leaving, the new cd from Oakland-based melodic savants Our Lady of the Highway, is all heart. Put out by Fogsnob records (who also put out the Desoto Reds' impressive Preppy Freak Out albums), About Leaving finally surfaces a year and a half after tracking finished. Engineer Tom Mallon, best known for his work with the like-minded American Music Club, gives the band a sparse, live in a church basement sound. In an attempt to avoid repeating myself, I'll remark simply that "About Leaving" bottles some magic. Earnest and elegant, the best songs on the album - "Friday Night", "Stevenson St.", "Spiteful Song", and "Beautiful" - evoke the purest work of Will Oldham, Cowboy Junkies and Ryan Adams. The band never resorts to O'Rourkian dissonance or rote, obligatory "rocking" to dillute the emotional urgency of the songwriting. There is neither guile nor imperfection in singer Dominic East's voice when he sings "waking up angry is starting to feel/just like waking up by yourself". It doesn't look like much on paper, but it sounds like every conviction you wish you'd held onto from your youth. Please, go to their site, see them live, and pick up this cd. - Blue Mag Review

"SF Gate (San Francisco Chronicle)"

There may be a million perfect bands for an end-of-summer house party, but last Saturday night, as the sun was setting over Bernal Heights and the keg of Oly was hitting its stride, there wasn't a better thing going than locals Our Lady of the Highway. Something in the bracing waltzes and melancholy lilt of their country-washed songs was meant to be played against the backdrop of thorny blackberry branches creeping over the wooden deck while a neighbor's infant chubette smiled at no one in particular. And it seems like ages since I've seen a singer like OLOTH's Dominic East. Coming off entirely un-self-conscious, belting it out and completely at home with his tweaky little dances, I will dare say there was something Michael Stipe-ish about that man. And that would be Stipe if he had a grown-out mohawk, and long before he was spied busting loose to "Sister Goldenhair" on the jukebox at the Expansion.

Apparently, the band's show the following night at Doc's Clock was just as fun-tacular. Plus, their drummer is a high school shop teacher, people. - Beth Lisick

"Blue Mag Review"

Our Lady of the Highway makes pretty American music about heartbreak, local bars and loneliness. The veteran Oakland quintet's music is shabbily romantic and effortless yet completely engrossing. Heartfelt and unpretentious without stooping to self-conscious hokeyness, the songs evoke Pink Moon -era Nick Drake as well as the late, great Townes Van Zandt. Equal parts Hank Williams and Paul Westerberg, lead singer and songwriter Dominic East comes off like a perfectly lovable populist, the kind of guy you'd love to get drunk with on some snowy night in your hometown. The band was complimentary and understated, ensuring that the focus fell squarely on East's vocals and the beautifully simple lyrics about girls and going out. Friday night at Edinburgh Castle was the second time I've seen Our Lady of the Highway live and both times I've been completely blown away. I have no idea why these guys aren't more well known - I'm not sure that anyone could fail to connect to their music. - Rooney

"Section M Magazine"

While spinning yarns of broken heart and drunken scenes in the rain, Our Lady of the Highway is constantly smiling. The elegance and passion in which Dominic East delivers his sorrowful tales evokes comparisons to Michael Stipe, but he appears to enjoy it more. Although their subject matter and humble accoustic sound may fall into the Alt-Country scene, the band actually sounds inspired and genuine, not derivative like many of their contemporaries. - Live Reviews

"Not Just Me"

You know, there is only so much Our Lady of the Highway can do for you.You'll have to take it upon yourself to see that your heart gets broken sometime. You've got to love and lose and suffer on your own. You don't necessarily have to have had a drunken scene in the rain, but it helps to have come close once or twice.

Then once you have done your leg work, that's where these guys come in. They will take your pain and make something beautiful of it. Dominic will relive your heartbreak at the top of his lungs, grinning all the while. The bass fiddle will offer structural support for your soul. Andy will likely be adding guitar jangle, which is his way of saying that he knows what it's like to be pulled in two directions at once. David will be chaperoning the group on the drums.

Like your dad, if your dad were cool. Our Lady sings songs about your old girlfriend. They know the smell of her hair and that brown dress she always wore. They will take you for a drive through the town in which she lives. As a matter of fact, they know all your old girlfriends, and how they got to be that way. They will sing of bonfires and motorways that you have known and never realized were so stunning. They will make you glad you suffered. It's the only thing they know. - Larry Gallagher


About Leaving, LP (2003)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Soulful, sweet acoustic music with the occasional punch of an electic guitar, or the swell of a pedal steel, Our Lady of the Highway embodies the eclectic literary sound and textures of the Bay Area.

Our Lady has performed in living rooms and bars throughout Oakland and San Francisco for several years. Now they're set to release their first full-length album. Produced by the band and Tom Mallon (American Music Club, Toiling Midgets), "About Leaving" is a cycle of eleven songs that maps the trajectory of two broken hearts falling even further apart.

Front men Dominic East and Andrew Gerhan formed the band in 1996. As their sound evolved, David Clifford added the back beat and Grey Wedeking joined on electric bass. With the additions of multi-instrumentalists and innovative sampling, the band has found new ways to extend their arrangements live.

Look for their debut album, "About Leaving", coming soon...