Record Of The Week # 40

March 11, 2018

Bindley Hardware Co. – Ever Satisfactory

When I tried to figure out the many reasons why I really enjoyed Bindley Hardware Co’s first release, Ever Satisfactory, it wasn’t the fact the band were named after the lead singer forebears’ retail outlet, but the irreverent and entertaining lyrics. It also helped to have a great Country Rock sound with some fine tunes.

Jon Bindley has an independent mind. After falling out of love with Nashville he returned to his hometown, Pittsburgh, where he (unforgivably) coined the genre ‘Rust Belt Americana’. His disenchantment with Music City had him reporting, “it felt a little disingenuous. You know everyone’s wearing a Stetson hat and cool tattoos and loves Townes Van Zandt”. His back story suggests that he is a serious student of song writing and this album displays that it was time well spent.

With a superb selection of musicians Bindley has created an important 32 minutes. “Down The Run” warns of avoiding violence in Greenfield, a suburb of Pittsburgh, where a teenager might find himself on the wrong end of a knuckle sandwich. A steady rock groove showcases the sound of guitar – acoustic and electric, bass, keys and drummer.

“Alright, Already!” has a thumping beat. Bindley sings of rolling with the punches and playing it by ear as to what life throws up. Delightfully the band steps up: particularly Christopher Putt on guitar and Waylon Richmond on violin. Putt is a real asset; with his variety of sounds he lends the album a tremendous quality and breadth.

“Good Ones” places us in Country music’s preferred venue for rumination: the bar. Here our hero reflects on the trials of being left with a selection of women who have been picked over. Presumably in a state of inebriation he tells his lucky winner the words she’s been longing to hear “you’re not the girl of my dreams!” The traditional melody had me imagining Keith with a cigarette in the side of his mouth leading the Stones through “Faraway Eyes”.

“Queen Of The Upper Middle Class” is an acerbic tour de force. “She’s a product of the suburbs, real luxury type of gal” may be tongue in cheek but could be a little close to the truth. A hard-bitten spoilt woman falls under Bindley’s critical gaze as he surmises that her entitled and pampered lifestyle makes her repellent. Fiddle and banjo lead and we get a gentle bluegrass melody with harmonies, which border on a hoe-down that gives this a real pace to match the story.

I never thought I would write that the duet is the standout track but Bindley and Angela Mignanelli have proven me wrong on “Easy Game”! Bindley and home town girl, Mignanelli, swap their disagreeable idiosyncrasies on their way to arrangements over a future liaison – “I’m easy game but I can be tamed”. Their chemistry is palpable and the words delicious, especially in the flirtatious spoken exchange. Hot!

Well, what an unexpected delight. I hope the record gets some traction and more people get to hear it. A real find.

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