bass & vocals
Somewhere along the path from the heart to the head, The Bingemen's music makes a swift detour to the tailbone. It inflames the emotions without skimping on intelligence. But no matter how bracing or plaintive the melodies, how articulate or contemplative the lyrics, Bingemen songs live in the groove.
It wasn't always so. The New Orleans-based quartet's debut EP, 1994's Motor In the Ocean, prepared the soil with earthy, country-tinged power-pop that showed the over-driven influence of trailblazers such as Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Who. Concise, classically structured songs were the rule.
Now, with the release of their first full-length CD, entitled Bingemen, the group shifts their attention from structure to substance. The result is a collection that showcases the rhythmic intensity of the band's live set while maintaining highly developed songcraft.
On "Deeper Palms", the most modern-rock sounding track on the album, guitarist Ed Conway creates a mesmerizing backdrop of chords on which vocalist Jim McCormick sketches a haunting, impassioned tale of betrayal. From there, the band heads deeper and deeper into bayou country - exploring the love of roots music that binds the four New Orleans natives to one another.
The Bingemen were born in 1991, when McCormick and Conway converted their eight-year songwriting partnership into a road-worthy band. The pair had previously worked with drummer Marc Funti in a band called Resonance. A lengthy search for a bassist led them to McCormick's childhood friend Cleaver, who was finishing a long stint with a now-defunct New Orleans band called Fresh Young Minds. Together, they developed a sound that incorporates country, soul, and a touch of blues into a brand of rock 'n' roll that ignores fashion and trends.
Meanwhile, McCormick pursued a literary career. He earned a Master's degree in poetry, taught college and published his work in several journals. Though he seemed headed for the sedate halls of academe, the primal urge of music was something McCormick couldn't deny. One blast from his deep- chested baritone is ample proof that, like Jim Morrison, the serious-minded singer owns one of the most powerful and affecting screams in rock 'n' roll.
Three-plus years of hard touring have resulted in a dedicated fan base that stretches from Austin to Atlanta, and south to Orlando. Two Internet sites (at iuma.com and satchmo.com) spread Bingemen music and news to the rest of the world.
In 1996, the Bingemen performed at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin and the Jazz and Heritage Festival in hometown New Orleans.
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