Photos by Peggy Bresnick Kendler
They may sound a bit like Tom Petty and look like a Dylan/Buddy Holly supersession, but Lost Leaders, essentially guitarist Peter Cole and bassist Byron Isaacs, have their own distinctive sound. Their songs –written by one or the other or both – are memorable for gorgeous melodies and harmony vocals, intriguing lyrics, and the most compelling bass lines you’ll hear anywhere. A packed house at Garcia’s in Port Chester got all of that and more as the band celebrated the release of a new EP Heavy Lifting with a two-hour, 20-song show. The set list alternated between the six new songs and more familiar tracks from the band’s 2014 self-titled CD, played heavily on The Peak radio, which sponsored the band’s “Low Dough” but high-energy appearance.
There were cheers for the opening notes of current radio hit “Volunteer,” with its groovy hook and food-for-thought refrain: “I’m not a victim/I’m a volunteer.” They briefly traded instruments for Isaac’s bittersweet “Genevieve,” then switched back again for Cole’s majestic “Thin Walls.” Both musicians have signature voices and pretty evenly split the lead vocals and their harmony singing was often haunting, particularly on dreamy “April Snow” and “No One Knows.” But most of the time, Cole calmly delivered fiery guitar licks over Isaac’s irresistible, foot-stomping bass lines. Young drummer Lee Falco is always fun to watch and he and Will Bryant on keys were also in the beautiful harmony mix. The band’s choice of covers was as eclectic as their original music: Tom Petty’s “Hill” and Neil Young’s “New Mama.”