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Keith has created a nice blend of all kinds of American roots music—rockabilly, honky-tonk, 50s dream pop, blue-eyed soul, 60s punk, Merseybeat (yes, I know that one's British, but it's based mostly on American sounds), Brill Building songcraft, power pop. I hear bits of Buddy Holly, George Jones, Mickey & Silvia, the Standells, Gene Vincent, Laura Nyro, Alex Chilton, and many others in his songs. He's clearly got good taste. Even though Keith seems to do little more than crib ideas from familiar sources, it takes craft and style to transform those ideas into something more than a Frankenstein-like pastiche. He and his scrappy backing band, the One Four Fives, have craft and style in spades.
Below you can listen to "Anyone Can Do It," which reminds of Nick Lowe's work in Rockpile; in fact, that classic quartet (with Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremner, and Terry Williams) pulled off a similar approach, but with less of the soul. Keith and his band play the Hideout on Thursday night.
John Paul Keith, "Anyone Can Do It"
photo: Don Perry
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