Once upon a demo, Kevin Buckley planned to release his twangy power-pop solo recordings under the moniker the Harmony Band. But with the summer 2007 release of New Sense
, the 27-year-old stepped out in town as Grace Basement and in the process established himself as one of the most versatile performers in town. Like a less-rootsy Wilco, Fountains of Wayne sans shtick or a hi-fi Kinks, Sense
is nostalgic but not trite, familiar without being derivative. Vibrant fiddle countermelodies dart through "Orphan Annie & the Dump Truck," organ simmers on the tear-jerking "Santa Fe" and the lush wistfulness of Crowded House echoes through "Caught." And did we mention that Buckley played every single well-orchestrated note that's every instrument, folks on Sense
? Even more impressive, Buckley penned all of these songs in between playing traditional Irish music on the fiddle his first specialty at places such as McGurk's in Soulard. And heck, even those outside of the Lou are starting to notice Buckley's talent: He rated a mention in the liner notes of Challengers
, the new album by Canadian power-pop collective the New Pornographers because he recorded St. Louis harpist (and a member of Grace Basement's live incarnation) Eileen Gannon for the album. Now that's
some powerful pop.