LEAN CANTEEN - IT DON’T MATTER
Recorded at 1-4-5 studios in Huntsville UTAH Reviewed in April 2023 by Tom Doel
Lean Canteen are a band from Salt Lake Valley in Utah. The bands play’s Roots Americana, Hillbilly, Rockabilly and Western Swing with loads of experience which has them playing festivals in America and Germany and includes the UK in 2023 they have plenty of coverage online including on Bopflix where they have a video recorded at Viva Las Vegas weekender in Nevada which tells you the level the band has achieved. After the success of their debut album “Come Git Some” which had a mix of covers and songs written by the band this time, "Lean Canteen" went back to the studio to record the new album "It Don't Matter" with 14 tracks all written by the band themselves which cover an array of genres and styles. Band members are – James Melillo (Lead Guitar and Vocals) Paul Woodmansey (Double Bass and Vocals) Steve Child (Rhythm guitar and Backing Vocals) James Cherry (Steel Guitar and Backing Vocals) Craig Gawreluk (Drums and Vocals)
Track review 1. It don’t matter (Melillo) – The title track on the album this track starts with the acoustic guitar and vocals with the Steel picking out some accompaniment for around 48 seconds before the rest of the band comes in. This is a strong start to the album a proper Country song. 2. Lean canteen Boogie (Woodmansey)- I love a boogie track there great to play and always get your toes tapping this is written by the band but has all the familiarity of the boogie tracks from back in the bay strong rhythm backline allowing the guitars to do their stuff plus you must have a Bass lead break I would be very happy doing the Canteen boogie. 3. Red Hot Mama (Melillo)- Rockabilly with a Country edge something a little different I like it. 4. Think again (Melillo) – A danceable track which should get the couples on the floor a swinging rhythm section drums and bass keeping things moving along but leaving room for the steel and lead guitar breaks should make this a popular number. 5. If you only love me (Melillo) – Again these two steps should get the dancers or the strollers hitting the floor. 6. Rodeo queen (Gawreluk)- Addition of a piano on this number plus the backing vocals and hand claps gives this a more Rock and Roll feel which really shows the depth of the bands ability to play a variety of music sounds great. 7. Back side of the moon (Woodmansey) – Hillbilly bop pure and simple reminds me of the hillbilly bop albums I have in my record collection this could have been recorded in the late 40’s early 50’s love it. 8. Don’t break my heart (Melillo) – You can’t really have a Country album with a heartbreak song the type of track that wouldn’t be out of place at the Honky Tonk whilst drowning your sorrows. 9. Li’l darlin (Melillo) - A track on the hillbilly side of the band’s sound, nice vocals and instrumentation throughout with very fine guitar and steel. 10. Back seat to you (Melillo)- The band has a real natural swing that is evident in this number I really like the steel and take off guitar break. 11. Town hall party (Woodmansey/Melillo)- This track reminds me a little of Ray Condo and even Jimmy Roys 5-star hillbillies Western swing style number. 12. Take me in your arms (Melillo)- Rockabilly/hillbilly bop a solid drum beat on this track keeps it bopping along I like the track well written. 13. Muskrat (Melillo)- The pace picks up on this number the bass sounds great slapping away on this Rockabilly track I like the lyrics as well top track. 14. Writing on the wall (Melillo)- Western swing type number this track really swings tight rhythm section and guitar picking out the tune and with shout backs everything that should be there is. Love it.
Summary I really liked this album 14 great quality songs written by the band and played with a high level of musicianship what’s not to love. The variety in the tracks also shows the quality in the band as they cover effortlessly the Country, Honky Tonk, Hillbilly, Western Swing and Rockabilly music genres that’s not easy to do believe me. You can tell the band enjoy what they do with a high level of professionalism the songs are well written the playing is top notch and the recording and mixing are all quality. I would certainly recommend this band to everyone who likes this type of music. I can personally see them playing a lot more of the big festivals in the future. I am looking forward to seeing this band live soon as they will be playing in the UK at The Rockin Round Up in June. Reviewed by Tom Doel You tube clip. https://youtu.be/070cHeUbZ1o
Band bio Lean Canteen is a band from the Salt Lake Valley in Utah. One of the hottest new bands to come out of the “WILD WEST” With mixture of Rockabilly, Hillbilly and Western Swing this band are sure to get your feet tapping. They have played some of the of the top festivals for roots music around the globe and can be heard on Go Cat Go radio, KRCL 90.9fm radio as well as being seen on the outstanding Bopflix channel. After the success of their debut album “Come Git Some” with the majority of the music being self penned along with a couple of awesome covers from the bygone era, "Lean Canteen" are back in the studio finishing off their new album "It Don't Matter" 14 killer tracks all penned by the band themselves. “Don’t be mistaken”, although the band is all about having fun and enjoying the music they play. This is a professional band with a professional sound. With around 100 years of combined touring experience, this is a band not to be missed.
Quotes “A breath of fresh air, not seen a band like this outside of Memphis or Texas” “You can close your eyes and think you are listening to Bob Wills” “The mix of covers and originals knit together seamlessly”