Homespun: Grace Basement

Gunmetal Gray
(Undertow Records)

Gunmetal Gray

Grace Basement CD release
9 p.m. Tuesday, July 9.
Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue.
$7 ($10 with CD).

Grace Basement bandleader Kevin Buckley may be a world-class Irish fiddler, but his gifts for harmony and melody don't stop at jigs and reels. As a guitarist, singer and songwriter, he synthesizes 50 years of popular music into engaging, direct three-chord rock songs. Buckley played every note on Grace Basement's 2007 debut, New Sense, but his Gunmetal Gray is a full-band effort and features other special guests from St. Louis' rock, folk and Irish music scenes (including his father Jack, who contributes sweetly keening Uilleann pipes). Even though Buckley surrounds himself with talented players, these ten songs are peppered with his unique trademarks: immediate hooks, stacked vocals, serpentine fiddle runs and quirky but heartfelt lyrics.

Gray's easygoing pop swings in two directions. Certain songs are saddled with — but not bogged down by — a sense of resigned melancholy (the addiction lament/lullaby "Back of the Moon"). Others — such as the infectious opening track "There He Goes" — ramp up the group's perky, punchy, pop dynamics. On that sunnier tip, "On Your Side (Soldier's Song)" begins like a Sonic Youth jam and morphs into a horn-aided rocker reminiscent of Being There­-era Wilco. Even slower songs such as "Why Would I Wait for Another?" and the stunning album-closer "Land of Endless Change" turn Buckley's blues into something grand and majestic, thanks to their precisely arranged instrumental codas. Few bands anywhere spin out songs that spring to life with a simple, earthy joy and heart-on-sleeve sentiment — but Grace Basement and Gunmetal Gray achieve this balance with emotional maturity and musical intuition.

Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o The Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, Missouri, 63130. E-mail [email protected] for more information.

Scroll to read more Music News & Interviews articles (1)
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Riverfront Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.