Overturned Stones
(River Cities' Reader, Vol. 4, No. 100, January 15-21, 1997)

It would have been hard to find two more diverse styles of rock performed in one venue, during one evening, as was found at the Rock Island Brewing Company a week and half ago.

Opening up the night was the spaghetti rock outfit The Sojourners, who are based in Brighton, IA. But where the hell is Brighton? They perform mostly in Iowa City, their closest hot spot, so they could be considered from there, but that would only cheapen their efforts.

Headed by Joel Arant, and backed by his wife, Jan, and sister, Holly, including drummer Jeff Farber, The Sojourners are a slice of twang rock that goes good with shots of whiskey and a keen sense of poetry. They conjure up images of lonely country roads, and relationships gone screwy. Yet, they are by no means a country outfit. They fall in line with others like Uncle Tupelo, but have a subtle kick like early X. When asked what they like to call their sound they said, "We play cry-in-your-beer-pop rock."

Joel's gruff voice was topped by his sister's who, when singing, provided a full-blown vocal hoarseness that was one hundred percent authentic and natural. The whole effect was only rounded beautifully by the smoothness of Jan's vox.

They made their way through the liquidy blues song "Pretty as A Picture" and the poppy "Monster," both on their '95 album Pretty as a Picture, before topping their set off with The Stones' "Give Me Shelter".

(ed. note: here's where the reviewer goes on to talk about the headliner...you're just going to have to hunt down an old copy of the River Cities' Reader if you want to read about Elbow.)

story by Jeff Wichmann

(back to reviews & interviews)