THE RAVENTONES - ODD BIRDS (2003 - Darkwater Music DWM005) Out in the Oregon woods, The Raventones have home-built a solid first album in 'Odd Birds'. It's a thick but spacious mix of low-tuned guitars, forefront bass, vintage-style drums & intense vocals. Driven by twangy baritone electric guitar on some tracks, alter-tuned acoustic on others, the songs range from the brawny old-school soul attack of 'Walk with Me', to the intimacy of 'i surrender' and 'hush' to the raging slide blues of 'Southbound #5'. Bandleader TR Kelley's roots are in surf, country and R&B overlaid with the altered tunings and creative textures of West-Coast folk psychedelia. Anchored by the sparkle and snappy groove of Randy Hamme's vintage drums, the songs are fully realized yet never overproduced. Before his public emergence as a drummer, Randy Hamme worked as a sound engineer. His creative use of both analog tape and digital formats in the recording for this CD is evident in the lush saturation of the instrumental tracks and the intimacy and power of the vocals. 'Odd Birds' is a vibrant quilt of ideas. Bossa-nova, spaghetti-western twang, a Mersey-beat twist, a live mono soundscape, even an 80's-style power ballad all make an appearance. Yet these seemingly disparate styles blend under the cohesiveness of TR Kelley's instrumentation and production concepts. Stylistically, there are echoes of Ray Charles, Patsy Cline and the Ventures swirled in with Joni Mitchell, Jaco Pastorius and Michael Hedges, but The Raventones' way of mixing it all up, pitching it down low and giving it room to breathe & groove without cluttered production make it a truly unique listen. ------------- QUOTES -------------------------- 'Laid back guitars for surfing in the rain. ..... Kelley's vocals are hypnotic, a surge of power that makes the bulbs glow.......' - Sara Warfield, WOW Hall Notes, Eugene Oregon '( The Raventones' album) 'Odd Birds' is a winner...... for it's variety, evident talent and songs to get lost in.' - Natasha Chilingerian, (University of) Oregon Daily Emerald 'TR Kelley is known to fans of Babes with Axes as the one with the growly voice who wouldn't take any lip from society. She brings an entirely different approach to the Raventones, one with a lot more depth, like the guitars and basses she plays with such feeling.' - Mike Kelsey, WFHB-FM Bloomington, Indiana 'TR's voice is amazing in it's tone and variety.... she moves from a powerful ballad to a dreamy, atmospheric piece, to a Delta blues.' - Arthur Elliott, Radio 99.7FM, Brisbane, Australia 'Passion, nostalgia and joy...one of the Northwest's musical treasures' - Eugene Weekly 12/26/02 'On the surface, Kelley sounds somewhat like a disciple of Joni Mitchell in her Hejira and Don Juan's Reckless Daughter era. However, Kelley's guitar tunings are a little more reminiscent of Michael Hedges than Joni Mitchell, and that's Kelley herself playing bass.' - Daniel Nestlerode, FAMA Internet Music Review.