A four piece alt-country band from Philadephia, Red Means Run take their name from the Neil Young classic ‘Powderfinger’ and on their debut EP, guitarist Jim McKay adds a couple of solos that have the same carefree/off-key approach of the great man himself. If you love Neil and his naturalistic style of playing, of course, this is no bad thing…and it certainly suits this ragged quartet’s take on country rock. Also inspired by Young and the earlier forebears of alt-country these chaps don’t really worry about layers or overdubs – the four songs on this release have a very direct feel, almost as if the band were playing in a bar somewhere.
At one time, it was almost possible to know what you were getting from singer-songwriter Denny Smith from the get-go. If he’d written a bunch of songs with alternative rock leanings, then chances are they’d be released by his rock band fORMER; if the music took a more retro/acoustic groove, it would go onto the pile designated for The Great Affairs. Obviously, things weren’t quite as simple as that, but there was always a clear divide between projects and styles. After The Great Affairs released their ‘Happy Ender’ EP and Smith considered resting that band, things got more complicated: fORMER released a selection of unheard material (‘The Kids Deserve Cable’) and The Great Affairs were reborn. On the ‘4’ EP, The Great Affairs mixed up styles more than ever – alongside the Tom Petty/Black Crowes styled tunes, new drummer Kenny Wright (formerly of Bonepony and various other acts) penned ‘Fists and Guitars’, a thunderous rock ‘n’ roller fairly far removed from the quieter shades of most Great Affairs material. With fORMER dead and the revitalised Great Affairs tackling whatever came naturally, it seemed the gloves were off.