Black Music Matters Festival

Sourpatch plays t(w)angy blend of rock

Cicero's Basement Bar, St. Louis, MO, July 20

By Eric Zehnbauer

ST. LOUS - Local country rockers Sourpatch is often compared, fairly or unfairly, to local legends Uncle Tupelo.

It's understandable, because lead singer Adam Reichman's vocal style, whether or not he's consciously aware of it, closely resembles that of both Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy.

Unfortunately, that leads many to make the snap judgment, "Oh, they're just another Tupelo ripoff." But there are definite differences, and Sourpatch's music is definitely strong enough to stand on its own.

Continuing the city's longstanding tradition of being a hotbed of alternative country talent, local country rockers Sourpatch played a great set to a two-thirds full house, in advance of their upcoming East Coast tour. They were well received by the crowd.

Sourpatch's music could be described as more rocking than that of many alt-country acts (e.g. Wilco, Jayhawks, etc.), more along the lines of Neil Young.

For one thing, they're a basic four-piece (two guitars, bass and drums) band. Their songs don't feature any traditional country/bluegrass instruments such as mandolin, fiddle, or banjo, so their music is more in the tradition of guitar-driven Southern rock bands.

Lead guitarist Steve Rossan can definitely rock, while not overwhelming the powerful pop/country/rock melodies of the songs. Even without a 12-string in sight, Rossan and Reichman's guitar work often serves up a jangly, Byrds-ish sound.

Todd Schnitzer (bass) and Bill Reyland (drums) provide a steady-driving rhythm section. Sourpatch is working on a CD to be released later this year. Acoustic duo the Hummingbirds opened, playing a 40-minute set, which would appeal to the coffeehouse folk music crowd, but not of much interest to the country music fan.