sound check

December 16, 2010
By Michael Swanger



Independent release

Lots of great music was born from field hollers over the years, though it is a long-lost musical tradition that exists today mostly in history books and Library of Congress recordings. That is, except for Bobtown, a quintet from New York (of all places) with a knack for reviving timeless prairie and mountain music from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Founded by Fort Dodge native Katherine Etzel, who started writing field hollers, gospel numbers, bluegrass tunes and country music in 2007 based on her experiences of walking beans and corn in her home state, Bobtown was formed in 2008. During its two short years, the group has found its voice as purveyors of traditional American music as heard on its new album which covers everything from hair-raising gospel harmonies (“Take Me Down”) and puritan folk (“My Soul”), to country-tinged ballads (“Short Life of Trouble”) and pre-war blues (“Hell and Gone”). CV


Wrestling With Wolves

“The Cast of Shadows”

Independent release

Ottumwa-based, indie-rock band Wrestling With Wolves got its moniker from a dream that the band’s founder-singer-guitarist Danny Wolf had about being attacked by vampire spiders before being rescued by his older brother. I’m also told it has something to do with the Freudian concept of the “ID, the ego and the super ego.” With that said, it takes a fantastic imagination to deliver the 12 original, emotional songs that WWW (which also includes guitarist John Rowl, drummer Tyler Meinders and bassist Mercury Hendrix) does on its new album, “The Cast of Shadows.” The band jump starts your heart with an opening, driving groove before tearing it out with a series of mid-tempo ballads punctuated by Wolf’s dramatic vocals that remotely recall The Cure’s Robert Smith. CV

(Wrestling With Wolves hosts a CD release party on Friday, Dec. 17 at 10 p.m. at the Vaudeville Mews. $5.)


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