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MP3 Keith Wolf - Other People's Houses

Blazing rock, Great lyrics, intense improvisation - Neil Young puts Lou Reed in a headlock and they float down the river of musical history featuring Joey Peters of Grant Lee Buffalo and Willie Aron of the Balancing Act.

6 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Jam-band, ROCK: Roots Rock

"My music is simply part of the rich stream of musical history; if music doesn''t tap into that stream, I''m not interested in it." So says maverick singer/songwriter/guitarist Keith Wolf, whose debut EP, "Other People''s Houses," brims with passion, wit, and timelessness. Drawing from a myriad of eclectic influences such as Talking Heads, Martin Scorsese, Ween, psychedelia, jazz, and barroom singalongs - the album creates a compelling and lively musical and lyrical tapestry that eschews the forlorn navel-gazing of most contemporary singer-songwriters. "Other People''s Houses" was produced by Willie Aron (multi-instrumentalist and co-founder of ''80s Los Angeles stalwarts The Balancing Act) and Joey Peters (drummer for LA''s late, lamented gothic-folk legends Grant Lee Buffalo).

A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Wolf was exposed to music early in his life thanks to his parents'' collection of ''60s rock and folk albums; "those albums had a magic power that always stayed with me," he attests. He displayed a fascination for the pitch pipe - but, admittedly, "it had its limitations," Wolf laughs. After a stint playing the clarinet - "an instrument that I had no idea how to make sound cool" - Wolf gravitated towards guitar. Initially inspired by Led Zeppelin''s Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix, he credits Neil Young with "making the guitar emotionally accessible for me, rather than just being a showcase for virtuosity."

Having seemingly always written short stories, Wolf''s initial forays into songwriting -which paralleled joining his first experimental rock bands - "seemed like a natural progression," he states. Citing seminal influences such as Parliament/Funkadelic, fellow eclectic Beck, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, Wolf sometimes heard these artists'' songs as played by fellow bandmates before he even heard the original recordings. This was a process that Wolf credits as "beneficial, because it enabled me to focus on the songs, and allowed me to do things my own way."

Originality is a value that Wolf treasures, but having a sense of musical history is even more indispensable to his art: "When you realize that all music is derived from somewhere, it frees you to do your own thing," he reasons. A keen student of filmmaking and film history, Wolf recognizes the dichotomy between music and film - "the immediacy of music vs. the meticulous, isolating process of making films" - but considers them "integrated arts." Wolf''s "Taxi Driver Hero" was inspired by the Martin Scorsese classic movie "Taxi Driver." Elsewhere on the album, the plaintive-yet-offbeat instrumental "Good Day, New House, Bad Job" possesses a near-cinematic quality, while the haunting "Never Changin'' Blues" is a gripping portrait of emotional paralysis.

Encompassing a multitude of influences yet possessing a singular individuality, "Other People''s Houses" serves as Keith Wolf''s aural evidence of his recommendation to "just float down the river of musical history, and it will take care of you."

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