The Mudville Project | Portico

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Rock: Heartland Rock Rock: Roots Rock Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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Portico

by The Mudville Project

Oklahoma Roots Rock: ". a lot of influence from alt. country and good old fashioned rock and roll. combining the worlds of John Mellencamp, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Buddy Holly with an indie/roots spin."
Genre: Rock: Heartland Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Tea
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5:33 $0.99
2. Kinda Man
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2:59 $0.99
3. Rice Check
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3:49 $0.99
4. Home Again
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5:16 $0.99
5. Long Road
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3:40 $0.99
6. Twice
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4:00 $0.99
7. Perfect Girl
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3:53 $0.99
8. No Regrets
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4:10 $0.99
9. Love Song
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4:55 $0.99
10. Hector the Protector
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Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Tulsa World SPOT Music Award winner and SXSW 2006 showcasing artist, The Mudville Project... with Randy Patton (RedEcco) on bass and long-time Boondogs drummer Dylan Turner, are rehearsing songs for a new CD (due in 2008).

With the release of their first disc, Portico, The Mudville Project serves up a big helping of twangy roots-rock. Hints of Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy and even some Tom Petty shine through, as well as the ragged growl of Black Crowes, Sticky Fingers-era Stones and Faces. These influences make it apparent the band is connected to rock-n-roll's past, not just the current Americana and alt-country trends.

Greg Klaus is the mastermind behind this little musical experiment as the primary songwriter and voice of The Mudville Project. As the original guitarist for Fanzine, Klaus has seen his share of success on the Tulsa music scene. When Fanzine won an Artist of the Year award in 2001 he realized something just wasn't right.

For Klaus, winning the award was anticlimactic. "I didn’t feel like an artist or that I was being true to myself," he shares. That epiphany was the point at which he decided he needed to get out. For all of the successes, the band and the process had become formulaic and old for him.

Joining the band Simon Starbuck helped Klaus get out of the rut he had worked himself into. When Greg was ready to work on the material that would end up as The Mudville Project, he called on Simon Starbuck guitarist Randy Patton, drummer Matt Brantley, and bassist Chuck Martin, who played bass on a number of tracks before stepping away when he re-located to Oklahoma City. Completing the musical equation is Grant Vespasian, whose ties to Klaus go back to being the original bass player for Fanzine.

Considering the histories of the players involved, this band might seem like a fairly radical departure from their previous endeavors. If you sit down to discuss the music with them, though, it’s obvious that its a matter of circling back to their roots and the basis of the music they love.

So where is this mysterious Mudville? As Greg explains it, "I grew up in Miami (OK), and we fondly referred to it as 'Mudville.'" The name just seemed to fit the band. "Were going back to where we came from, musically. You can change a lot about yourself, but not where you’re from."


Reviews


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Mike Johnson

Disappointed
The singer's voice blends in with the music on the much of the disk. What might be interesting to listen to becomes muddled.

Oklahoma Gazette

Suffuse with atmosphere and re-listenable in an almost addictive way...
The Mudville Project is quite clearly Tulsa resident Greg Klaus' baby--as the group's lyricist, arranger, vocalist, guitarist and occasional lap steel player, Klaus is the driving force behind this collection of starkly rendered, tumbleweed-studded rock. "Portico," Mudville's freshman effort, was recorded in Nashville, Tenn., and Tulsa, bleeding dark country soul along the way.

From the feedback-laced majesty of "The Tea" to the winning ramble of "Home Again," Mudville evokes images of a close-knit band plowing through rehearsals in some windswept ramshackle house, stranded on a high, lonely stretch of prairie. Klaus' reedy, powerful vocals thread through the dense, expert music executed by compatriots Matt Brantley, Randy Patton, and Grant Vespasian.

Suffuse with atmosphere and re-listenable in an almost addictive way, "Portico" marks another Okie band to watch. --Preston Jones

Urban Tulsa Weekly

Americana fan or not, this disc is too good to be denied.
The Mudville Project is the latest new addition to Tulsa’s rock landscape, marking a somewhat triumphant return to the scene for a few fondly-missed veterans. They’ve made it worth the wait with the best Americana/roots rock album I’ve seen locally since the demise of Marshallcity.

Portico is a disc of songs from Greg Klaus’ (formerly of Fanzine) personal stash and the band is primarily his baby. In tandem with buddy Randy Patton (former Hi-Fi), they serve up a stack of solid country-rock tunes with some excellent guitar work. While built around Klaus’ songwriting and rhythm guitar and Patton’s tasty leads and killer, classic tones you can’t overlook the rock solid rhythm section holding it all together.

Drummer Matt Brantley shares more than just his experience in Hi-Fi in common with Patton – all three were also a part of a band called Simon Starbuck (who never saw it’s work released) together, and their shared experience gels them together solidly. Bass duties on the disc were split between Chuck Martin and current bassist Grant Vespasian (originally of Fanzine, perhaps best known for MadVerb). Working together, their playing is rock solid, yet lets the band sound loose and ragged where needed.

“The Tea”, opens the album with the most epic scope, and almost a psychedelic sound with a slightly dark tone and nuance. After making a statement right out of the gate, the band settles into a more loose and rambunctious groove on “Kinda Man”. Drawing on late 50’s and early 60’s rock and roll, “Kinda Man” is at times eerily reminiscent of Buddy Holly, especially in its chorus.

Klaus has said that his songwriting was inspired primarily by his kids. The joy and innocence of that inspiration comes out throughout the album, even peering out through his darker tones or humor. “Rice Check”, in particular, reflects a parental point of view that transitions over the course of the song, as the narrator grows more comfortable with himself. After starting out by telling his son “you can be whatever you want to be, anything but not like me…” by the end of the song, after teaching him how to be a man, it has become: “Son, I hope you want to be like me.”

Portico is solid front to back, without any distinct weak spots. While listeners will each have their personal favorites, any of the other songs still stand as quality stuff. The songs shift in style and sound throughout, so as to never fall into a rut or start to sound like more of the same, drawing on influences ranging from classic and southern rock to modern alt-country and Americana.

While Greg’s vocals may take a little time to get used to (his baritone is strikingly lower than what you’d normally hear in this style of music), after a listen or two, it fits the songs quite well. Though not what you might initially expect, his voice at times recalls visions of Lou Reed, a little Tom Petty, and perhaps a glimpse of what Rick Ocasek might sound like outside of the post-punk, new wave stylings of The Cars.

I won’t lie – I’m not a huge fan of the alt-county/Americana movement, and even when I heard clips of the unmastered demos online I was cautious, if not a bit leery. When I got my hands on the disc, though, I was pleasantly surprised: it flat rocks--with a cool, stripped down, rootsy vibe. Americana fan or not, this disc is too good to be denied. If you like roots-rock at all, you need to look it up.

Recommended for: fans of Wilco, Son Volt, Traveling Wilburys, Tom Petty (without the Heartbreakers). –- Gary Hizer

label worthy

...sounds fitted for a late-night drive or a post-break-up lament.
The Mudville Project blends tasteful alt-country elements (see banjo, pedal steel, and theremin -- yes, we said theremin) with Iron-and-Wine-like vocals, forming sounds fitted for a late-night drive or a post-break-up lament. Ask the group about their sound, and they'll tell you to think of Uncle Tupelo and Lou Reed, whereas Label Worthy will add Pink Floyd, Doves, and Califone to that finely simmering stew of twanged-up rock. The first minute alone of "Home Again" is worth a listen... whether or not you're a fan of anything country, you can't deny that this music is memorable and well-crafted.

Hybrid Magazine

...a very strong recording...many unique tracks...overflows with promise.
Portico is the freshman effort by The Mudville Project, a collection of veterans on the Tulsa scene, who have managed to put together a great roots rock album... a lot of influence from alt. country and good old fashioned rock and roll... combining the worlds of John Mellencamp, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Buddy Holly with an indie/roots spin.

Great hooks... this reminds me of some of the great bands I saw as a kid at county fairs and local festivals who still had originality, and were in it for the music, unlike many bands out there.

Overall, this is a very strong recording with many unique tracks that overflows with promise. This album does not disappoint, and is well worth a listen for any fan of rockabilly or roots rock. These guys have a lot of talent and I am excited to see what comes of their next album.--Liger Woods