Blythe Township Mellencamp
Release date: June 8, 2010
For the past ten years Gleasons Drift has been rockin’ and rollin’. Hailing from Pottsville, PA, in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, the band has it’s sound rooted in the friendships and landscapes that make up their hometown. Like the hilltops of the coal region where they grew up, their sound is at times scarred and tattered, yet familiar and real, owing as much to the twang of Hank William’s as the guitar boogie of Chuck Berry. Rock and Roll as it was intended to be; spontaneous, genuine, foot-stomping and free.
Refusing the labels that are thrown their way; garage, punk, alt-country, Americana, pop, indie, the band prefers to call their sound, “rock and roll with a twang”, or “hillbilly rock”. Anyway you slice it, their newest release, Blythe Township Mellencamp, extends the tradition of real American Rock and Roll music while wearing all of it’s influences on it’s sleeve.
From the opening Mott the Hoople inspired strut of The Ballad of Captain A, to the Crazy Horse influenced Billie’s Hill, smalltown America will tip their hats to this band. Be it the story of a man who chooses the couch and the bottle over a bed and his wife (Couch) or the mechanical/psychological struggle with an old rusted Dodge (Omni), everyman who has raised a glass or driven a beat up car, will understand where Gleasons Drift is coming from. Luna tells us what can happen when a full moon rises, while Hey Frank shows how gossip can change from person to person and verse to verse, as everyone has his or her own version of how Frank passed. What everyone should notice, is that Hey Frank is essentially a Polka in rock’s clothing.
This is exactly where the beauty of Blythe Township Mellencamp lies. You get alt-country (Crowes), pop (Well Known Drag), punk (It Ain’t Easy Being Me), and garage (Evelyn) without realizing that it is all served up under the guise of Gleasons Drift.
Blythe Township Mellencamp triumphs in blending genres, styles and traditions, creating something recognizable and yet still managing to surprise.
Recorded at Saturation Acres with Bret Alexander and at G-Hill Studios with Nick Meyer, the recording was completed between October and April of 2009/10. Songs were written by guitarist Bill Whalen and John J.P. Lipzok, who grew up one mile away from each other. While both started their musical journey in different places at different times, their inspiration was culled from their having grown up in a blue collar area surrounded by mountains, streams, bars and dreams. Whether writing alone or collaboratively songs come to life as reflections of who they are, where they have been and where they hope to go. When listening to Blythe Township Mellencamp, we understand some things about where we came from, who we are and what we aspire to be.