An e-zine for happenings of local culture in Milwaukee and elsewhere

Eerie Americana, John McLaughlin and The Rogues

The tipped brim of a black dimpled fedora hides the eyes of a man plugged into an ornate guitar, his ivory relic looks to have magical powers. A deep gaze of an indescribable repressed pain, looks passed his arm as he belts out a custom version of The Animals’ classic House of the Rising Sun.

John McLaughlin and The Rogues mend together several genres, played with an attitude conceivably born from wrestling rattlesnakes and cutthroats. Behind heavy crunch reverb, light piano keys and reeds, McLaughlin takes listeners through tribulations sung in folk parables and life bred tales. Thread by thread, John McLaughlin and The Rogues slowly unravel their musical influences. Their music sounds slick, comfortable and well-worn, like a pair of alligator skin boots.

At times mellow, and at other times raucous, McLaughlin plays a little something for all occasions. McLaughlin strolls with The Rogues to slow drone blues riffs that mix with toppling vaudevillian themes, sometimes repenting in harmony with gospel devotionals.

Lightening in a Bottle

McLaughlin coined Eerie Americana to describe he and his Rogue’s compositions. Musical styles come and musical styles go, they splinter and they fuse. McLaughlin succeeds in distilling a tasty and intoxicating sound, hosting his listeners in a smokey parlor room that captures the best of American music during any era of the past century.

John McLaughlin and The Rogues released their debut LP Short Stories in 2010, carried by several online retailers and locally at Bay View’s Rushmore Records. The Brass Rooster also carries the disc, well worth a stop to kill your new music and vintage fashion fix birds with one stone. Short Stories’ album cover art, designed by Leslie Ditto, pretty much says it all, two burlesque porcelain dolls, and a monkey in minstrel costume, crowded by carny road show baggage.

Here’s a sample of their sounds, including a couple very nice live pieces performed for 91.7 WMSE.

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