Asher Kahn Band

Independent release, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


The Asher Kahn Band seems to make a habit out of breaking preconceived notions of who you think they are, even after you think you've got them pegged down.

Their latest disc, Content, at first sounds like the group - guitarist Asher Kahn, bassist Mike Smith and drummer Aaron Boczkowski - paid attention to their Dave Matthews Band records, creating a folk-like groove in their music while trying to carve out their own unique musical niche. But in truth, the band owes a bigger debt to groups like The Jayhawks, as a country-rock influence is strongly felt by the time you reach the end of this disc.

Admittedly, the sound is shaped by the wide variety of musicians who helped to create my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Content, including guitarist Nathan Lyons, organist James Harton and drummer/percussionist Ben Lindemann. But Kahn bears the brunt of the praise and criticism as the front man - though there is more of the former than the latter.

To be sure, Content features a group still trying to discover what the best route to deliver their music is. On songs like "Fading Away" and "Stuck Up In The City," there is the strong Dave Matthews influence - and these would not be bad efforts with a little more focus on cosmetic touches, such as harmony vocals or more development in the choruses.

The magic really kicks in on "Something To Hold," a track which picks up the groove and slams it into your spine. I'm positive I hear xylophone in the mix, adding a real jazz flavor to this song. This track is just a lot of fun to listen to, and is quite possibly the highight of the whole album.

This isn't to say that the remainder of Content is weak. Indeed, many tracks show that Asher Kahn Band will be well worth watching in the months and years to come. Songs like "Blame Me" (complete with toy piano) and "Josephine" all revel in the absolute joy this music creates. These tracks also seem to focus more on a slightly countrified sound, though the rock roots are never betrayed. The closing instrumental "139 Grant Avenue," a tribute to the recording studio the band worked at, all but seals the connection between this band and the Jayhawks.

If there's one downfall to Content, it's that the listener might find themselves disinterested until they're a quarter of the way through the disc. Especially when a band is unsigned and virtually unknown outside of their hometown, you need a disc which hooks the listener almost immediately, and Content is in need of that hook. Remember, the average listener's attention span is, uh, um... I'm sorry, I forgot where I was.

Still, Asher Kahn Band proves to be one worth watching, and Content suggests that there will be great things to come from the core of this band. There's enough on this disc to suggest that the glory days might be closer than they think.

For more information or to order this CD, please visit the band's Web site.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent release, and is used for informational purposes only.