Last call for the home crew
The live album was recorded during the group’s swan-song performance in August of 1999. After more than a decade of band-hood, the high school-friends-turned-professional-musicians decided to pursue other projects.
They recorded their final concert to DA88 multi-track for posterity’s sake. Since many of the die-hard fans refused to acknowledge the band’s split, it was inevitable that From Good Homes release an album documenting the performance. It’s got the personality of a live album – lots of crowd participation without being distracting – as well as the polished musicianship that defined their sound. The guitar work invites the listener on a bit of a building ride, a good foil for the fat bass line and – it must be said – sexy sax.
Lyrically, the group can be frolicsome or introspective by turns, but always accessible. From rejoicing in friends and lovers to the mysterious process of creating a song, they mix it up. They’re song-centered like Bob Dylan, with the free-spirited jaminess of Dave Matthews.
“Take Enough Home” kicks off with “Charlie Loves Our Band.” Written by lead singer/guitarist Todd Sheaffer (he’s now the frontman for Railroad Earth, a frequent Colorado visitor), it talks about Charlie Hogan, their biggest fan. He loves them even though they’re “not a famous band,” a rather suitable song for a well-loved group that was dispersing. Musically, it sets the tone for the album – playful with a bit of wry humor.
“Charlie Hogan is a fictional name,” explained Sheaffer. “But I had a couple of fans in mind. It was about all our fans, really. The whole concert was a celebration of the bond between the audience and the band. It kind of came off in a bittersweet mood, which I thought was pretty appropriate for the whole thing.”
Other stand-out tracks include the passionate “The Giving Tree” and funk-riddled “Where Songs Begin.” The best track is “Boulevard of Dreams,” a sweet song that floats.
From Good Homes is Sheaffer, Brady Rymer (bass, vocals), Patrick Fitzsimmons (drums), Dan Myers (sax, melodica, vocals) and Jamie Coan (guitar, violin, mandolin, vocals). Sheaffer, Rymer and Fitzsimmons grew up together.
“The first notes I ever plunked out on my guitar were with those guys,” said Sheaffer. “I think “Honkytonk Women’ was what we started with.”
“I guess we should have listened to what we were playing,” he added, laughing.
The name was born from the trio’s brush with the law. They were playing a hometown show in the ’80s as The Dogs. Apparently it was a rocking show, but the bar owner got cranky and wanted to shut down before they were done. They left their equipment there, then broke in during the middle of the night, turned the amps up to 10, and let loose in a distinctly non-discreet manner. Naturally, they were arrested and at their hearing were sentenced to community service, since they were all “from good homes.”
In addition to the eight live tracks, “Take Enough Home” also includes a bonus studio song, “Into the Light.” It will be in stores Oct. 8, but is currently available via http://www.fromgoodhomes.com.
Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.