Two things are clear about bassist (for multiple bands) Taylor Lonardo, after listening to The Low Road: the guy probably listens to everthing from 1930s country to house music, and he probably does nothing but play bass all day long. How else can The Low Road, which is more like the road less traveled, be so diverse and so good?
All sounds on the record were created with acoustic and electric bass, and Lonardo did all recording and mixing himself at his own Spring Street Studios in Murfreesboro.
Funk sounds jump off the strings in the opener “Gryphon’s Fire” as some distinct low notes hum in the background. What’s so fantastic about this record is that the bass, often neglected in typical four-piece bands, can provide rhythm, melody or both. On the first track, lower pitched bass parts sound off like a saxophone taking a solo.
If the opener was jazzy, the following “Henry County Swing” sounds like a country swing trot with a clopping, sleepy rhythm like horseshoes.
But Lonardo doesn’t stick to that, either. “Red & Gold” shapeshifts through watery Pinback-style bass, aimless noises and smooth Deadhead grooves. “Midtown Blues” starts with the same eardrum-blowing reverberation as the first five seconds of the Chili Peppers’ “Around the World,” and then lets loose in a bluesy puddle.
Almost everything beautiful that the bass can do springs up on The Low Road. “Electrospank” shows a variety of voices; the song has a million pulses layered up and talking over each other. The bass goes sour, stretches thin, stutters, bounces and sounds off like a machine gun.
The record closes with a beautiful goodnight, “Bella Notte.” There are no lyrics to any of the tracks, and there doesn’t need to be. The bass does all the talking.