Third time's a charm for Trucker boys By KYLE MUNSON Des Moines Register Music Critic 07/17/2003 How can the image of a weather-beaten chair leaning against a rural front porch be all that compelling, let alone signal a leap forward for an Iowa roots rock band? Because the chair in question is just the first of many vivid scenes that spill out of Brother Trucker's third CD, the deceptively titled 'Something Simple.' Singer, guitarist and primary songwriter Andy Fleming always has had a sharp eye for what makes the common Joe and Jane tick. Now he has developed an ear that hears exactly how his lyrics can best settle into each song's groove and showcase the riffs from childhood pal and lead guitarist Mike Fitzpatrick. That chair is the first image in the opening song, 'Side By Side,' quickly followed by a cooler swarming with fruit flies, dirty socks, muddy boots, a damaged screen door, etc. By the end of the song, the middle-aged married couple at the center of Fleming's miniature drama have come brilliantly to life, and it's impossible not to have Fitzpatrick's licks running through your head. 'Something Simple' refers to the characters' lives through these 11 songs, whether simply rough or sublime or a little of both. This CD has serious breadth. In the ballad 'For J,' Trailer label mate Bejae Fleming adds angelic backup vocals. Fitzpatrick becomes a master of minimalism, as if he's learned a thing or two from veteran Iowa City guitarist Bo Ramsey, whose own haunting, precision tones are heard on 'Burnin' ' (a literal trucker song) and 'Jimmy.' As with the previous two Brother Trucker CDs on Iowa City's Trailer Records, label boss David Zollo is master of ceremonies, both producing and (more so than before, it seems) playing piano/organ. Zollo also contributes a song, his decade-old '15 Dollars.' Throughout, the rhythm section of bassist Lyle Kevin Hogue and drummer John Conlan keeps Fleming and Zollo and all solidly in the pocket.
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