Local Reviews: The American Shakes

The American Shakes 
Street: 11.07.10
The American Shakes = Norfolk and Western + Howe Gelb + Band of Annuals
Releasing an album in the wake of such a popular local band is going to invite some comparisons to the latter’s work. Brent Dreiling, former pedal steel/steel guitar slinger for Band of Annuals (R.I.P), expands on the classic Americana of B.O.A by steering his alt-country intonations into sugary, ‘70s AM radio hits instead of the dive bar balladeering of his previous band. Dreiling’s execution is classically understated. Relying heavily on strong composition and atmospherics, Dreiling uses these to reach the emotional climax his limited voice cannot. The musical adornments are so well integrated that it takes a couple of listens to realize just how carefully constructed and crafted each song is. Responsible for this is a virtual who’s-who of SLC folk musicians who lend their hands to the creation of this album. Several B.O.A alumni—Jesse Ellis, David Williams and Wren Kennedy all appear accompanying Dreiling’s forlorn steel guitar.