ARTHUR DODGE & THE HORSEFEATHERS
I first heard Arthur Dodge & the Horsefeathers only a few weeks ago, but I’ve heard everything they do many times before: in their rugged, countrified rock sound are traces of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, the Faces, Gram Parsons, the Rolling Stones, Wilco, and the Bottle Rockets. Of course these days the used-CD bins are chockablock with groups that sound like this, but Dodge is a better-than-average songwriter and he’s blessed with a distinctive, raggedly soulful voice. On the group’s second album, Cadillacs, Ponytails & Dirty Dreams… (Barber’s Itch), his vocals are better than they were on 1997’s Arthur Dodge & the Horsefeathers, though he still gets lost during the gentler moments. Apart from the occasional sharp line–“Curiosity didn’t kill the cat / It was a dog”–most of his lyrics are the usual plaints about looking for love in all the wrong places. But between his working-class charisma and his band’s hardscrabble exuberance–fans of the scene in Lawrence, Kansas, may recognize Guy Stevens and Brock Ginther as the rhythm section of the Homestead Grays and Tenderloin–there’s still plenty to chew on in Dodge’s music. Josh Rouse opens; on his recent debut album Dressed Up Like Nebraska (Slow River/Rykodisc) he comes at strummy folk rock as a sensitive Britpop fan. There are moments of simple beauty, but too often he comes off like a wimpy mope. The Vulgar Boatmen headline. Friday, 10:30 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508. PETER MARGASAK
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.