Vol. 2, Issue #10 June 8th - June 21st, 2007

CD Review: Cheyenne -- Land Rush
By: Graham Lee Brewer

Lots of great songwriters have left home to find themselves, or to find that missing piece of the music. Neil Young left the Toronto folk scene for San Francisco and Buffalo Springfield. Dylan left college in Minnesota for an ailing Woody Guthrie in New York City. And Guthrie himself never stopped moving, following the movements of the migrant workers.

Beau Jennings left the red dirt of Oklahoma for grey streets of Brooklyn. I don’t know if Jennings was searching for something missing in his music, but if he was, he found it. Cheyenne’s new EP, “Land Rush,” is their most impressive album to date.

The album starts with the pounding beat of The Army Marching Past, and right from the beginning you’re sucked in. Jennings and company paint a whimsical, twangy picture of a man looking back to the heartland from the big city. The dreamy, folk core of “Land Rush” is contagious and perfect, and Jennings’ lyrics swell with the bitter sweet joy of reflection and searching.

As most bands who use Norman as their hub Cheyenne brought in lots of friends on “Land Rush.” Of course, former member, solo artist, and Starlight Mints pianist Ryan Lindsey joined in. Josh Jones of the Evangelicals lent his guitar, as did steel guitarist Rob Stephenson. New York City anti-folk singer Jaymay sings beautifully on Write it Down in Red, and drummer James McAlister of Ester Drang and Sufjan Stevens’ backing band chimes in, too. A line-up of friends any musician would envy.

The stories that grace this album are so vivid and familiar that any Okie could connect with them. Lines like, “Lately I been thinking bout the way we met that night/It was underneath the dark and heavy Oklahoma sky/You were playing with your options/I was playing in a band/ It’s just I think we’ve waited for as long as we can,” are hard to shake off. The western tinged lyricism and rich sound of songs like As Long As I Can and This Is The Fashion mix well with the folksy, rustic tracks I’ll Be Gone and Write it Down In Red.

“Land Rush” is the predecessor to Cheyenne’s second full length release, due to drop by the end of this year. If the LP is anything like “Land Rush” I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy, cause I have a feeling it will be the next step in an amazing and successful career for Cheyenne.


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