In 2002, the Americana Folk Rock sound was still pretty high on the radars of music fans. After the success of bands like Whiskeytown, Son Volt and several other punk kids that discovered their parents old country records, it was only natural that those twinges would make their way into Cincinnati as well. The Light Wires were not the first in town to do it, and certainly were not the last, but they took some of those treasured american sounds and mixed them with their own histories to form their debut album.
The band started when singer / songwriter Jeremy Pinnell was bandless (formerly of Ladderdays) and was sitting on a pretty large group of heart wrenching songs. He enlisted the help of some other Cincinnati musicians like Mike Montgomery, Rick McCarty (with Montgomery in Thistle, El Gigante, and Ampline) and Andy Hittle (also in El Gigante) to help unpack the heavy baggage Pinnell carried.
The result is one of the more underrated albums released in Cincinnati this decade. Pinnell’s lyrics hit like a freight train in the same tradition of legendary American songwriters like Young or Springsteen. As quickly as you get sucked into a achy and dark song like “Stewards Of The Earth”, you jump up and stomp your feet on tunes like “Me In Her Wild Hair.”
Roosty American music is the easiest way to describe this band and record, but it really is much bigger than that. The album struck me so much early on that I named this blog after one of their songs.
The songs speak to a potential that this band never realized sadly, and maybe never wanted to. The long awaited second album from The Light Wires never came, at least not the way they wanted it to. Their second album The Invisible Hand got a modest release in 2008 quite some time after the band played their last notes together. Pinnell went on to play in The Great Depression, who released one album, burned bright for about a year and then flamed out as well. Pinnell is currently a member of The Brothers & The Sisters. The other members have continued to be prevalent musicians in Cincinnati for the most part, picking up where they left off before The Light Wires.
I’m mostly left with sadness though when remembering this band, because for years I wanted them to be the next torchbearers for Cincinnati, but it was not to be. We do still have this album though, so if you take any time and look back at the decade in music in Cincinnati, don’t leave this album out, it might just be the best.