the road is dark
in the dust
is a spark
Down at the 5-Star might best be described as 'chamber Americana', just as music writer Jeremy Searle had once suggested in his review of the band's first album, Forever the Moon. Down at the 5-Star is a collection of eleven songs, mostly about life in
The title track is a tribute to the American truck stop. The songs are simple observations. Flowers and rainfall. Dusty roads and girls of summer. Remembrances of Southern moonlight and the honey-mouth of a Kentucky girl. Recorded primarily by sound artist Bruce Kaphan, the album achieves a markedly improved sonic distinction from the band's first album, while remaining centered upon the same thematic stage. American icons Jackie Robinson and Hank Williams are honored and a complex and unlikely homage to Spain's most renowned guitar maker is delivered plaintively. Many of the album's songs were written in 2010, at a time when songwriter Jerry Vessel seemed capable of balancing in a place between red-wine drunkenness and poetic clarity. Down at the 5-Star is slightly damaged folk art. Like an old quilt, simply sewn together just because.