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Ned Van Go
Marry A Waitress

No art-school pretensions or cynical postmodern retrograde antics. No smoldering laptop beats or reflexive lyrical hall-of-mirrors. Ned Van Go (complete with its Blue-collar bite outta “art” namesake pun) delivers capable, straightforward backyard barbeque rock, accented by country-western styled everyman humility and plucky, reliable instrumentation. That is, until some serious uneducated blunders pop up.

Throughout the album, the band blends Bob Dylan chord structures, smart production and Warren Zevon-style, uber-relatable charm into small town ditties (complete with stereotypical characterizations and prejudices dressed up as cutesy idiosyncrasy). “Charlene” utilizes honky-tonk piano, hiccupping major chords and wisps of Wurlitzer to echo the protagonist’s nascent lovelorn emotions and establish a catchy-as-hell rock N roll feel. “Marry A Waitress” wrestles with old fashioned Americana romance and finger-picked folksiness, all while fully ingrained in the male perspective: “Think I’ll marry a waitress/ A Southern football queen/ Picks up her tips and keeps the counter clean.” “Death By Polygamy” sports a funky distorted chortle and skronk simplicity while weaving a Bonnie and Clyde caricature that emerges as a light-hearted standout. “Country Girl” and “Factory Blues” are well-produced songs, entirely embedded in imaginary Blue-collar lifestyles.

However, despite some good-times tunage, Ned Van Go taints this disc with some major missteps. “Granny Is A Racist” and “Never Kissed A Girl” are unforgivable (and ultimately ugly) attempts at lightening up Southern tendencies toward racism and homophobia (the former has even been outfitted with a “Prelude” that comes off like a cheap afterthought warning) and in the end strip Ned Van Go of any prospect of success (creative or monetary) beyond smoky bars filled with high-school dropouts.

Favorite Track: Track 1, "Charlene”

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Christopher j Ewing is a writer and filmmaker living in San Francisco with a girl and a designer dog (Chihuahua vs. dachshund). He is in a band by himself and has a myspace account ( and a production company ( for freelance film and crit/journo work.

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