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Two Cow Garage - Sweet Saint Me

Two Cow Garage

Sweet Saint Me

(Suburban Home)

It was about eight years ago that I first heard about a young band from Columbus, Ohio, called Two Cow Garage. I requested they send a copy of their brand new debut album, Please Turn the Gas Back On, and it wasn’t long before I was endlessly spinning that austere disc of raw, raucous, country-infused rock. Not long later, Two Cow Garage played to a handful of people in the Queen City on a snowy Saturday night in February.

Four albums later, that night comes up in song when guitarist/singer Micah Schnabel sings in the chorus “Toughest set of kids that the Mohawk had ever seen” on “Jackson, Don’t Worry,” an ode to the newborn son of his musical partner, Two Cow bassist/singer Shane Sweeney. Schnabel inishes, “Nothing’s gonna change/But nothing gonna stay the same.” That last line—though it digs into notions of youth and maturity along, fatherhood and the call of responsibility—could sum up Two Cow Garage itself. They’ve stayed the same, making ardent rock and roll with a Springsteen-like passion and fervor, always on their own terms and slogging out tours of small clubs. Yet they are older and they have certainly grown. Schnabel and Sweeney’s bond is all over the record, from the trading of lines back and forth on “Lucy and the Butcher Knife” to the powerhouse closer “Brothers in Arms,” which captures the grit, the blood, the casualties along life’s path.

While the two songwriters are at front and center of Sweet Saint Me, the entire effort is catapulted by drummer Cody Smith and keyboardist Andy Schell, who have really locked with Schnabel and Sweeney as part of the lineup. The title track is a nervy, swaggering, organ-fueled rocker, and “What Dying Is For” is a little dose of anthemic rock perfection straight from the Boss and the E Street Band’s playbook. “Soundtrack to My Summer” is a torn love note detailing the death of idealism and youthful abandon, and Sweeney’s raw voice and an upright piano are all that’s needed for the emotional ballad “Closer to Me.”

So for Two Cow Garage, nothing has really changed, but nothing’s stayed the same either. It’s all laid bare here with Sweet Saint Me, which proves to be the band’s finest album to date. It’s important to note that since that cold February night, Two Cow Garage has always considered Buffalo a second home. In fact, the band recorded Sweet Saint Me with long-standing local rock scene fixture Matt Smith (as co-producer/engineer) at his Eden-based HiLo Studio.

donny kutzbach

Two Cow Garage plays Mohawk Place this Friday, October 22 with Cheap Girls and Carpenter to celebrate the release of Sweet Saint Me.

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