The Izzys

The Izzys

BandRockBlues

Soulful, country rock blues reminiscent of the early 70's Stones.

Biography

The Izzys formed in 2002 in New York City. Starting off as a trio, the band found instant recognition for their sound and their first release, “Fast and Out of Control Wins the Race.” This was catchy, urgent, and undeniably danceable rock and roll in the vein of many great musical forebears, delivered in an unpretentious production style reminiscent of early independent studios such as Sun, Chess, and Stax. After this release, The Izzys went to London to record a session at BBC 1 for John Peel and played to excited British crowds.

Following up their debut came their self-titled full length. This record was hailed critically for its roughly hewn production style, excellent songwriting, and vitality. The Izzys supported this record extensively, touring in the UK, Ireland, and the US, seeing a bit of the world and turning people onto their sound. All that wear and tear brought on some lineup changes along the way, but the band came out of it all a stronger quartet, which they remain today (with the exception of occasional sit–ins by various pedal steel guitar, piano, and horn players).

Two things really define the sound of the band. First, The Izzys are song driven. Their songs have catchy melodies and great lyrics that are never cliché--tunes that you can take home with you. Well-built songs render seamless a rock song with a honky-tonk waltz or a country soul number to a jump blues. This is the beauty of the band. So much of what you hear in clubs and on albums today is ten of the same song, in varying quality. The Izzys don’t dumb it down for the audience; they figure anyone who likes one type of good music will like another. After all, great musical careers relish variety. Chuck Berry mixed R&B and Country music and even sometimes calypso. Bob Dylan has made a career of reinterpreting and rewriting the American songbook, be it folk, country, blues, or rock and roll. Even Robert Johnson, ”King of the Delta Blues,” played non-blues numbers and novelty songs.

The second thing that is significant about their sound is their understanding of (to borrow Greil Marcus’s phrase) “the old weird America”--that timeless, ethereal, sometimes eerie thread that runs through the best of America’s indigenous music. This is a level of depth and nuance most bands don’t achieve. Whether they do it through song delivery, choice of arrangement or production style, The Izzys refuse to be generic. Their music is timeless and takes its cues from something other than the flavor of the month. Shock of the new they are not, more like shock of the old and weird.

The Violent Bear It Away, The Izzys third release takes all of this a step further. Whereas many songs on their previous releases were under three minutes, this record stretches out more and the tracks, overall, have more shape. “The Madman Sleeps” tears open the record and along with “Dead Man,” later in the sequence, rocks with anxious foreboding and carpe diem defiance to a world gone wrong. “Slow Drag” rolls and consoles and aches like any good soul song should without sounding trite, as does “Call My Name,” another anthemic country soul number. Both “Drinking Who hit John” and ”Real Cocaine Blues” show the band’s versatility to play the blues, show their roots, and also show that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Both are recorded in casual a style, making it feel like they could be playing at your rent party or local watering hole. “The Violent Bear it Away,” the album’s namesake, is a beautiful country dirge touching on those things closest to you and fear of losing them, capped off with a stunningly chaotic coda. Finally, the record ends with “Gone (Like Fighting Fire)” a sort of punctuation mark on the themes found throughout the record. Sonically, the oddball of the group with its drone and chant, it’s a welcome palate cleanser and hints at even greater things to come.

Discography

The Izzys
Fast & Out of Control Wins The Race
The Violent Bear It Away

Set List

Dreaming
Call My Name
Highway Blues Tracks
Strange
Change Your Mind
You Got Me Crying
Dead Man
I'm a Rounder
Gone (Like Fighting Fire)
Velocity
Dreaming
Little Sally Water
Change Your Mind
Morning Bells
Blue & Gold
The Madman Sleeps
Drinking Who Hit John
The Violent Bear It Away
Velocity