Tennessee rock-and-roll bands are a patient lot, toiling endlessly for recognition and earning every sweaty accolade. It took Memphis’ Lucero four albums before appearing in the mainstream’s peripheral vision. Similarly, Murfreesboro’s Glossary has released five stellar long-players to limited acclaim despite the infectious, raucous sound and bittersweet interplay that adorn each and every chorus.
Tenacity and longing – and a sweetened since of harmony – are at the heart of Feral Fire, the quintet’s sixth album, aptly titled in reference to author Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road, in which he describes the “Paths of feral fire in the coagulate sands.” Glossary’s longing is set to a swinging, guitar-laden soundtrack of rock, that emerges quickly on the opening “Lonely is a Town,” frontman Joey Kneiser and vocalist (and his wife) Kelly intoning, “I want to know, Where is home.”
It is clear that the Kneisers and Glossary are intent on actionable longing, the kind that drives man from adversity to greatness. Even the crooning country of “Your Heart to Haunt” uses self-examination as a doorway to enlightenment. More importantly, the group purveys a life worth living at any cost, when grinding guitar and swirling pedal steel elevate “Bend with the Breeze,” and the couple harmonizes, “Now I’ve seen fires and floods and car wrecks where no one survived. But I ain’t never seen fear like I did when I looked into a broken man’s eyes.”
Glossary has every reason to cast doubt on rock and roll; the band’s road has been rife with agile musicianship, albeit marginally acknowledged. Call it tenacity, or maybe just something in that Tennessee water, but the quintet has used the bumps to keep its chin held high. When Kneiser sings, “We ain’t got far to fall, so raise your glass and bet it all” on Feral Fire‘s “Save Your Money for the Weekend,” he is touting a philosophy that continues to serve this band very well.
Glossary has gambled and won, and its luck is getting better by the album.
Feral Fire is out now on Liberty & Lament Records.