Eastbound Jesus to Debut Charismatic New LP at Cohoes Music Hall Saturday, February 1st

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When I went back to check on the last time I’d written about Eastbound Jesus, I was shocked that it had been six and a half years ago. I was cocksure at the time that this band was going to go viral worldwide and get caught up in a breakout that would have them the new darlings of the expanding Americana banner worldwide.

Listening to their fifth studio album Full Moon Over Salem doesn’t change that opinion an iota. This is one of the most talented groups to emerge from the regional scene in the 50 years I’ve been writing about music. This six-piece band from rural Greenwich, New York, features three guitars and a banjo that often takes center stage in the mix of 11 originals. In six years, they’ve learned to edit themselves. All of the cuts are radio-friendly clocking in around four minutes and only one at more than six.

Luke Anderson (banjo) & Dave Wright (bass)
Photo by Ray MacGregor

If you haven’t heard them, they have a touch of West Coast New Riders/Mill Valley 1972 feel, and a lot of The Band influence which makes their appellation “Northern rock” a good defining name.

Bluegrass is a big influence, but they blend that with a stringed smoothness best exhibited in their title cut that runs six minutes and 14 seconds. The song takes the listener out to the back 40 and the kind of ethereal stillness you get watching a fire that’s burned for hours. Cushioned in the rocks of a makeshift stone fireplace, it transports you from everyday reality with its flickering light and occasional sparks and crackles. You’re in a zone and you don’t want it to end.

Adam Brockway sings on eight of 11 cuts and has a voice that you’d expect to spit tobacco at any minute. It’s authentic mud stained Carhartt with anecdotal story songs and lyrics such as “like a rusted-out airplane someday you’re gonna come down. So, if you crash to the ground you’ll go straight to hell.” But you don’t care because you’re cow tippin’ and country trippin.’

Dylan Robinson (electric guitar) & Zack Infante (lap steel and electric guitar)
Photo by Ray MacGregor

These guys are on their way to being a northeastern contemporary version of The Cate Brothers. The last time anyone north of the Mason-Dixon Line ever heard of the Cates was in 1976 when Steve Cropper produced their only charting single “Union Man.” Rick Danko wanted them to join The Band back then, but they preferred to stay home in Helena, Arkansas, home of the King Biscuit Blues Festival, and when they play there, all the seats are taken.

Would viral success spoil Eastbound Jesus? See them Saturday night in Cohoes and decide for yourself.

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