This record was a long time coming, but it’s definitely worth the wait. A collaboration between highly in-demand musicians Peter Cole and Byron Isaacs, the Lost Leaders project was relegated to the back burner for years until between them, they just had too many songs not to record them. And what great songs they are! They have Cole’s catchy guitar riffs, Isaacs’ mesmerizing bass lines and the kind of lyrics that say enough but not too much about the subject at hand, letting the music also tell the stories. The record is well paced, alternating bluesy rockers with dreamy introspective numbers.
They start strong with Isaacs’ fierce “Horizontal Man,” elevated and transformed by an elegant Clark Gayton horn arrangement, nicely executed by Jay Collins on sax, Kenny Rampton on trumpet and Gayton on trombone. “The Line The Lie” is a melancholy tale of betrayal sung with unusual harmonies over a single-note pulsing bass line and minimal orchestration. “Miracle Mile,” a cautionary tale about living in LA, is punctuated by Isaacs’ eerie lap steel. The delightful trio of Cole’s “I’m Gonna Win,” propelled by Isaacs’ lovely bass line, “Keeping Busy Feeling Fine” and “Too Good to Be True” would all be right at home on a Tom Petty record. Justin Guip provided the drums for the record; other musicians on the record include percussionist David Berger, and Brian Mitchell and Jared Samuel on keyboards. Guip supervised the recording, most of which took place at Levon Helm Studios, where Isaacs has been in the house band for the past 10 years.
– Kay Cordtz