Critic's Choice

Eric Lowe's tenure as a Denver musician has been a quest for essence. Starting with his '90s stints in the warmly remembered pop-rock bands the Christines and Honeydew, the singer/guitarist has been paring down and laying bare the hidden, pulsing heart of classic songcraft, digging for that raw pulp at the middle of American music. With Local 33, he's hit it. Over the past few years, Lowe's rootsy foursome (performing Friday, July 2, at the Larimer Lounge, with Richmond Fontaine) has established a sound that anchors the rest of Denver's insurgent country scene. While more lauded acts draw attention to themselves through novelty and pretense, Local 33 has stayed humble and true, whipping up a homespun helping of twangy songs peopled by factory stiffs, folks on pensions and souls heavy with regret and loss. The group's music itself, grounded by pedal-steel guitar and a solid rock-and-roll foundation, draws from the Flying Burrito Brothers and John Cougar Mellencamp, as well as more contemporary root-diggers such as Son Volt and Lucero. But when it comes to the more plainspoken side of Americana, Local 33's music does more than just hoe the same row; it cuts right to the bone.


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