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Feb/Mar 2004
Whether dishing up soulful ballads or heating up some old roots-rock soul, earlymay is a group that cooks ...
I've been listening to Stay Off Your Heels, Earlymay’s CD on Mother West on and off since last summer. It’s one of those quiet albums that grow on you. And though it can be a bit somber at times and a little low key for my tastes, it is my idea of an easy-listening album – when you just want to have an uncluttered, subconscious soundtrack playing some yin to your yang. So when I saw the band listed on an upcoming Luna Lounge schedule, I figured I’d do my head a favor and check them out again.

I was in a far better psychological state than last time I saw Earlymay (see previous NEON review
here), and had almost forgotten what a high-energy live act they are. Bradley Peterson’s lyrics may be introspective, but there’s nothing shy about the enthusiasm he delivers them with. He’s a compelling performer that manages to put on a show without looking like a showman. Accompanying his powerful vocals by banging out chords on his electric or plaintively strumming an acoustic, Peterson commanded the rapt attention of an enthusiastic crowd. And Earlymay, the live band, rocks. Aaron Crocket is a versatile player with a dramatic feel for knowing when to lay back and when to let his guitar soar. Scott Peterson on bass and Robby Vansaders on drums make up a tight rhythm section that not only provides a solid groundwork for their sometimes intricate songs but also manages to showcase their own individual talents. Whether dishing up soulful ballads or heating up some old roots-rock soul, Earlymay is a group that cooks.

I got a kick out of Vansaders dedicating the cover of “The Breakup Song” to yours truly (see previous review). As usual, it really got the crowd going. Other standouts were “Come Around” and “Stay Off Your Heels,” both of which appear on the Earlymay album but take on a different life in concert. The band has been recording some new material. Now if only Earlymay would do an album of their scorching live tunes so I could sanctify both my head and my booty.