Odds Lane – Lost & Found
Gulf Coast Records
CD: 11 Songs, 42 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, All Original Songs
Almost nothing catapults an artist’s career like a famous mentor. Exhibit A? Rising blues superstar Mike Zito’s collaboration with Odds Lane, a dynamic duo from St. Louis. Zito’s praise for them is effusive: “Doug Byrkit and Brian Zielie have a sound that is second to none. Great songs, great playing, truly original. Almost a modern-day Steely Dan.” As a Steely Dan fan, I concur. They may lack that legendary band’s harmony, but they certainly possess the energy. Not only that, they pay homage to Santana, Clapton, and even the White Stripes in their unique brand of blues rock. Sometimes the guitar overpowers the other instrumentation, but their eleven original tracks are party tunes. Big-city-driving tunes. Tunes to dance and imbibe to, for sure.
Doug Byrkit (vocals, guitar, bass) and Brian Zielie (drums) have been friends since the eighth grade. They formed their first band in high school, and in the last twenty-five years, they have toured both nationally and internationally with various artists. When they were fresh out of college, they met Mike Zito (slide guitar), who was looking for a rhythm section to support his band. They were a perfect match. The trio began playing clubs around the St. Louis area, and in no time, they were working seven nights a week. In the late ‘90s, they recorded Blue Room, which was recently remastered and released on Ruf Records for its twentieth anniversary.
Odds Lane relies on solid grooves that don’t veer too far into Hendrix-style esotericism. “Don’t Give It Away,” the album’s opener, proves this. It’s a stomp that’s loud even on low volume, catchy and barroom-gritty. “You’ve got to make that money. Baby, don’t you give it away,” says an older maven in this song. “Seven States” brings back some 1950’s flash before “Ain’t Missing You” announces itself as a more traditional blues track. The album’s first standout is “Hard Rain,” a cautionary tale for the heels among us. “There’s only so much evil that a man can do,” warns our narrator while guitar notes spray like mist upon one’s mind. Next comes “Blood on the Van,” a perfect setup for a horror movie. Boogie down to this one on Halloween night. If you’ve got the munchies instead of the heebie-jeebies, “White Castle Blues” is just the ticket. Listen carefully to the lyrics, because they’re hard to hear over the jaunty shredder and drums.
Mike Zito knows how to pick a winning blues band, even if it consists of two people. Blues rock magic roils off of Lost & Found in waves, so pick it up and give it a listen on Friday night!