CD Review: Boots and the Cobblers’ “Boot Camp”

Last week I talked about the Java Jam and the bands that played there, but this week I will be reviewing the debut album of Boots and the Cobblers, who played the event.  I even managed to talk with the band to gain some insight into their creative process.

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First off, Boots and the Cobblers is a student band.  Keep that in mind when I say what I’m about to say: these guys have serious promise.  They may lack the funding and publicity of an established rock band, but once they get it, the sky’s the limit.

Boots and the Cobblers is composed of Southern Oregon University students Nick “Boots” Johnson, Michael Hoover, Kevin Douglas, and Jesse Adams.

“Boot Camp,” their debut album, is good.  Not fantastic, but that is only because of the production, not because of a lack of musicianship.  If Boots and the Cobblers were to record at a professional studio, their sound would find it’s way onto the radio.  Their unique hard-folk-rock is sure to find a niche, once they get the production value they deserve.

Besides the fact that the CD sounds like it was recorded in a garage, it is full of thoughtful lyrics and above average musicianship.  The band mates switch their instruments and roles nearly every song, which is very impressive, but lends itself to a sort of disjointed feel.

I like the vocals of both Johnson and Hoover, but if one of them decided to be more in the background while the other took the foreground, then the singing would feel more unified.  One thing I must say to musicianship though, is that Douglas slaps the bass like a god.  Rock on, man.

As for individual tracks, there a couple that stand out above the production value with superb charm.  My personal favorite is “Heart Attack.”  The bass intro is sick, and the vocals reach the limits for male altitude without sounding screechy.  It has a sort of Animals-meets-The Who feel, and it works great.

Another great song is “New Brand of Man.”  This is more straight up rock, which is something that I appreciate.

The band hopes to save up enough money over the summer to start touring next year, which I hope happens.  Once these guys get noticed on the big stage, it is only a matter of time before a recording company picks them up.  I want to wish Boots and the Cobblers good luck with their band.

To the reader though, I say you should make an effort to see these guys play on campus and around town.  They put on a helluva show, and they need your support to get noticed.  “Boot Camp” is good, and if you like southern-style folk rock, Boots and the Cobblers is your band.


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