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Kurt Deemer Band Kurt Deemer Band
Album: Gaslight
Label: K D B
Tracks: 12
Website: http://www.kurtdeemerband.com

Based out of Baltimore, the Kurt Deemer Band are the sort of guitar led indie/rock outfit you'll find in bars or college in pretty much any city across America you care to name. Evoking stable comparisons to the likes of Petty, Counting Crows. The Replacments etc, they'll always pull the hometown crowds but may find it harder to make their name in a market with scores of similar bands trying to get a foothold. This is, by no means, to cast aspersions on their abilities or talent, it's just a fact of musical life and the luck of the draw.

Deemer's been doing this for some twenty years and, though drummer Steve Rose hails from the UK, his band are seasoned Baltimore scene veterans too, so, as you'd expect, they do what they do with assurance and the tightness that comes with experience. This, though, is their first album and gets off to a good start with the melodically chugging Petty-esque 'Fire Escape', establishing Deemer's ability to pen a catchy chorus, following up with the slow burn Springsteen influences of 'Gaslight' and the throatier guitar drive to 'Burningman'.

Riding 12-string guitars, pedal steel, keys and a splash of mandolin, these are strong and compact songs, presumably honed over numerous shows, only one of them exceeding the four-minute mark, big on hooks, punchy guitar riffs, memorable choruses and Deemer's grit and bourbon vocals. Petty echoes again sound out on 'Fading' and 'Come Close' and, if the tracks all tend to stick to a similar pacing and mood (no belters, no soaring ballads), none of them would have you pressing the skip button. I'm not sure they have the special something that will earn them the wider exposure they need to break out of the state circuit, but it'll sound good on the car CD player and, if you're ever around Baltimore, you'll know where to go for a good night out.

Mike Davies