The Corduroy Road impresses in Virginia

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The Corduroy Road
Steelwater Coffee Bar
Wise, Virginia
March 27, 2009

Though they only began touring as a quartet in January, Athens, Georgia’s The Corduroy Road has quickly become one of the finest roots rock bands in the Southeast.

Started in 2006 by banjo player Drew Carman and guitarist Dylan Solise, the duo recently added John Cable on drums and Tim Helms on bass and the foursome is creating a solid buzz amongst Americana fans up and down the East Coast.

Their recent show at Steelwater Coffee Bar proved just what the buzz is all about; Carman and Solise are emerging as one of the strongest young songwriting duos on the Americana scene.

The band’s set featured a healthy dose of Carman/Solise originals and numerous well-chosen covers. The evening began with "1889 Johnstown, PA," a melodic tribute to that year’s devastating Pennsylvania flood, before really picking up speed with the frenetic "Temperature Raised" and the title track from the band’s upcoming EP, Just One Drop.

Other highlights from the band’s deep reservoir of original tunes included "The Healing," described by Carman as having been written for a friend in need, "The Ballad of Stoker Joe," a not so true story about a very true person, and Solise’s "So Blue," a touching love song that includes the great lyric, "I’m not much of a dancer/But I’d dance all night with you."

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The band peppered the setlist was an eclectic range of covers; they took on Bob Dylan ("You Ain’t Going Nowhere"), Woody Guthrie ("Mule Skinner Blues"), Uncle Tupelo ("New Madrid"), and John Prine ("Paradise"), along with contemporary interpretations of old standards like "June Apple" and "Will the Circle Be Unbroken."

The evening came to a rousing close with the band being joined on stage by tour manager (and former Delta Drift guitarist) Cameron Thomas on electric guitar and folk crooner Ian Thomas, who opened the show, on acoustic guitar and vocals. Thomas’s vintage Telecaster accents added just the right amount of rock and roll bad-ass to the band’s sound, while Ian Thomas’s harmonies complimented Carman and Solise’s vocals superbly. 

The coming months are going to be huge for The Corduroy Road. June will find the band releasing Love is a War, their full length debut (produced by John Keane, who has worked with Widespread Panic, The Indigo Girls, and REM) on Mule Train Records. Folks itching with impatience should check out Just One Drop, an EP of songs from the Keane recording sessions that was released on April 9th.

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