The Boggs: We Are the Boggs We Are (Arena Rock)

Jason Friedman has not met a word he can’t round off.

Two immediate thoughts came to mind when I heard the Boggs. First, it is a damn good thing they’ve included lyrics in their CD and, second, words are so overrated. The Bogg’s CD, We Are the Boggs We Are, is a collection that could have come from the Smithsonian collection from the ’30s, but instead features a Brooklyn band at full steam.

We first saw the Boggs in Chicago over Labor Day opening for, of all people, power-pop icon Tommy Keene. I don’t know how they connected the two, but I had a great time just watching the band twitch over their instruments, which truly looked handed down from a grandfather or great-grandfather.

The Boggs sound rural, if not a bit savage, and if you want to sing along, well, good luck. Jason Friedman has not met a word he can’t round off and on several songs he tends to sound as if he is singing through a tin can and string. That said, it somehow all comes together, becoming a truly remarkable package. You feel as if you have stumbled upon a backwoods party, fueled by too much whiskey and rye, with musicians whose instruments are extensions of their own inner fury. Friedman, Ezekiel Healy, Brad Conroy, and Phil Roebuck are consummate musicians who play flawlessly. During the live show, they each took a turn at a solo and it was astonishing to watch the blur of hands picking out notes fast and furious. Healy, on slide guitar, was especially impressive.

On We Are the Boggs We Are, these elements all jell into a wild ride of a musical experience. I don’t know if you will be playing it at your next party, but it will be something you listen to time and again. And each time you will be that much more the richer for it.

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