American String Conspiracy | Help the Poor

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Country: Americana Blues: Folk-Blues Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Help the Poor

by American String Conspiracy

Genre: Country: Americana
Release Date: 

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1. Help the Poor
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3:10 $0.99
2. Never Too Late
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3:11 $0.99
3. Freddy's King
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4:32 $0.99
4. My Guitar
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3:24 $0.99
5. Wrong Road
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4:15 $0.99
6. Cherry Pie
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3:50 $0.99
7. Crawl
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4:43 $0.99
8. Little Hymn
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2:19 $0.99
9. Leave It Alone
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4:51 $0.99
10. N.O. Blues
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4:45 $0.99
11. Maybe
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2:57 $0.99
12. Goodbye
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2:57 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


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Joe Ross

Americana album with meaning and plenty of revelation
Fans of alternative country might want to check out the songs of Gary Keenan who also plays guitars, mandolin, and tenor banjo on this album by the American String Conspiracy. The rest of the band is Shu Nakamura (lead & slide guitar, Dobro), Ernie Vega (electric bass, harmonica, mandolin, vocals), Charlie Shaw (acoustic bass, drums), Suzanne Davenport (violin, chin-Cello, accordion), and Karen Dahlstrom (vocals). From New York, the group is riding the wave of the Americana and roots country buzz in the Lower East side of Manhattan’s bars and clubs. With the support of Avenue A Records, the eclectic blend of blues, rock, country and folk has taken seed in that area. The American String Conspiracy has been spreading their “musical mayhem in the American tradition since 2003” when Keenan and Nakamura formed the band. This album presents their material in both acoustic and electric arrangements.

Gary Keenan has a wide range of musical influences from the bluegrass of Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers to folk rock of Bob Dylan and the alt-country of Jimmie Dale Gilmore. While the message is appreciated, Keenan’s opening title cut “Help the Poor” probably isn’t his best cut on this album. He does better creating more sensual and textural rawness with a slower, bluesy ballad like “Cherry Pie” in which he needs that one additional ingredient to supplement his “half can of Bud, a yard full of weed.” The moderate-tempo and harmonica of “Little Hymn” also create a welcome relaxed setting for a way to make it through the night and life’s hardships by welcoming and embracing Jesus’ love. Backup vocalists are rather smooth with their delivery, and I wish that Keenan would’ve found a few with that same kind of guttural rusticity and inconsistency that his lead vocals deliver. The band’s instrumental depth is also kept fairly conservative throughout, but “Freddy’s King” establishes a rawboned danceable groove. Built around Keenan’s poetic lyrics, American String Conspiracy’s songs demonstrate some unassuming imagination and vision. At the same time, Keenan once stated, “No artist is perfect, and flawed work often holds valuable or more valuable insights into human experience than great or perfect work--we can learn from other people's mistakes as well as our own.” Thus, “Help the Poor” is not the perfect Americana album, but it has meaning and plenty of revelation. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Review)