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  Escape the Sun
Artist: Slowtrain 
Label: Independent
Length: 14/60:33

With a name like Slowtrain, you would assume that brothers Adoniram and Joshua Lipton are somewhat influenced by Bob Dylan.  While assumptions of that type are dangerous, especially in the music world, in this case you would be correct.  Based out of Austin, Texas, Slowtrain creates an album in Escape the Sun that falls into that loose collective of "Americana/" music.  Call it what you will - simply put, this is some good stuff.

Is it possible to sing about serious topics without taking oneself too seriously?  "She Always Cries," a title that would be depressing in itself, features a flubbed intro, kind of a musical outtake if you will.  It is a piano-based, Counting Crows style tune.  "Dog" and "Me and Only Me" shows Lipton's reverence for Bob Dylan vocally, while "About You" is much more like Bob's son Jakob (Wallflowers).  The latter features Joshua Lipton on a Fender Rhodes bass piano, once made popular by The Doors' Ray Manzarek. 

"Lovegrave" shows the lyrical bent, pleading "if love is a grave, bury me by the tree."  "Escape the Sun" is Bob Dylan meets Counting Crows, while "Steel Country Prison" careens into old school country.  "Gypsy Hound" is a cool, drawn-out jam session.  "Backroads" is more bluesy.

With all of these styles, there is something here for most music fans to enjoy.  Elizabeth Lipton (wife of Adoniram) chips in lead vocals on two tracks - "Lullaby" and "Except for You."  My advice to the band would be to feature her even more on ensuing releases.  She has a lovely voice, somewhat in the vein of Leigh Nash or Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek).

There is a Slowtrain coming, if Escape the Sun is any indication.   It would be easy to see this band fitting in on the same bill as Johnny Cash, Nickel Creek, or The Wallflowers.  Anyone with that type of diversity in musical taste will like this album.  A lot.

Brian A. Smith  21 April 2003


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