Bindley Hardware Co.'s debut album 'Ever Satisfactory' transcends a simple description
To call the Bindley Hardware Co. a country band is accurate in the same way that the Ohio is a river or JuJu Smith-Schuster is a Steelers rookie.
The real story is so much more complex. Jon Bindley, the lead singer and mastermind behind the band's debut album, "Ever Satisfactory," creates music that transcends a simple description and hearkens back to a different era of music.
"I love Gram Parsons," says Bindley, who will release the album on Nov. 17 with a show at the Allegheny Elks Lodge on Pittsburgh's North Side. "He called his sound the cosmic American music. It was country, but there's something else in there. It's interesting that people associate country music with a certain kind of thing, but country music in the city is pretty cool; it goes through the lens of Pittsburgh."
Bindley, who grew up in Forest Hills and Greenfield, describes the music as "Rustbelt Americana," and it's easy to make comparisons to bands such as the Jayhawks and Uncle Tupelo. But there's also an unquantifiable element that partially stems from his family history. The band name is taken from a hardware store his great-great uncle owned in Shadyside from 1880 through 1910 that is now the site of an apartment building.
"It's more mysterious than anything else," Bindley says. "It's something I didn't know about until later in life. It's so long ago … It's a great story about how Pittsburgh has changed and we had to reinvent ourselves. How can I take what was good about that time, which was quality? I love the whole aesthetic behind it. It's really helped give me a vison."
For "Ever Satisfactory" Bindley assembled a group of musicians that includes guitarist Christopher Putt, bassist Ryan Kantner, Waylon Richmond on mandolin and fiddle, keyboardist Greg Marchetti and drummer Brian Ganch (who has since moved to Scotland), with guest appearances by fiddler Abby Adams and vocalists Shane McLaughlin and Angela Mignarelli. They produced a recording that reflects Bindley's rekindled interest in the area after living in Nashville for a few years.
"I think embracing where you're from as an artist, it's the only way that works for me," he says.
Bindley realizes that country music in an urban setting is not always met with open arms unless it's a Kenny Chesney stadium concert. Despite that obstacle, he finds that once people hear the Bindley Hardware Co., preconceived notions tend to disappear.
"Genre-wise, good songs are good songs," Bindley says. "A lot of people are averse to twang … and people have knee-jerk reactions. I'm definitely conscious that it's going against the grain a little bit in Pittsburgh. You tell people you're in a country-rock band, sometimes they look at you funny. But who doesn't like Johnny Cash? You ask people, 'you like Johnny Cash, and they are 'oh yeah.' Well, that's country."
The release party also features performances by Molly Alphabet and Dylan Rooke. Admission is $10.
It's hard to believe Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers have not recorded a studio album since 2009. That drought will end with the release of "More Yesterdays Than Tomorrows." Featuring 11 news songs, plus a cover of the gospel song "Ain't No Grave," the album is slated for release in early 2018. The band is currently conducting a Pledge Music campaign. Details here.
Squirrel Hill native Jules Shear is set to release a new album, "One More Crooked Dance," on Nov. 17. His first album since 2013's "Longer to Get to Yesterday," Shear is a versatile songwriter, having written for artists ranging from Olivia Newton-John and Roger McGuinn to Richard Barone and Aimee Mann. Two of his compositions – "If She Knew What She Wants" for the Bangles and "All Through the Night," a collaboration with Cyndi Lauper, became Top 10 hits. The first single, "Be With You," can be heard on Shear's Facebook page.
Billy Price also is gearing up for a new album, with plans to record at Greaseland Studios in San Jose, Calif., with Kid Andersen. Andersen, the guitarist in Rick Estrin's band, the Nightcats, has been receiving rave reviews for his work at the Bay Area studio with blues artists including Tommy Castro, Rockin' Johnny Burgin, and Terry Hanck. Price is scheduled to start studio sessions in February, 2018. Details here.
Shows of Note
Luna, Nov. 15, Carnegie Lecture Hall, Oakland
Dean Wareham has been in two of the more unique indie rock bands of recent years: Galaxie 500 and his current group, Luna. The latter's new release, "A Sentimental Education," features 10 covers of songs by artist with whom he and his bandmate, Britta Phillips have collaborated. Notable are "Friends," a rare Velvet Underground track, "Let Me Dream if I Want To" by Mink DeVille, and The Cure's "Fire in Cairo."
The show is part of the Andy Warhol Museum's Sound Series. 412-237-8300, warhol.org
A Perfect Circle, Nov. 17, Petersen Events Center, Oakland
A Perfect Circle has arguably found the perfect formula for success in the new century: Whet the anticipation of fans by only touring a couple of times per decade. The band's current tour is its first since 2011, and tickets sold out across the country within minutes of going on sale. Of course it does help to have Maynard James Keenan (Tool, Puscifer) as front man in collaboration with guitarist Billy Howerdel (Ashes Divide). The music, a blend of art rock and metal with a dose of ambient sound is unique and riveting. 800-653-8000, ticketmaster.com
Robyn Hitchcock, Nov. 17, Carnegie Lecture Hall, Oakland
It has been 41 years since Robyn Hitchcock emerged as the founder of the Soft Boys, a band that would chart a course for the musician that is undeniably idiosyncratic. His offbeat personality comes across in songs that have titles worthy of Monty Python: "My Wife and My Dead Wife," "Brenda's Iron Sledge" and "I Want to Tell You About What I Want." But strip away the humorous veneer and there's an artful process that showcases a rare talent. 800-653-8000, ticketmaster.com
Rege Behe is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.