Dutch Humphrey

Album review: Cherokee.Rock.Rifle - Ta-Li

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
There are just not enough synonyms for blistering or scalding in the thesaurus to fully describe the sonic cock punch known as Cherokee.Rock.Rifle. Beloved by many for a bursting and no-holds-barred live show—described by the band as “a high energy show leaving you with the feeling of having been gently trampled by a herd of sonic buffalo somewhere in the untamed plains”—Cherokee.Rock.Rifle has somehow managed to adequately capture their scorching volcanic eruption on Ta-Li, a six-song EP released in April 2013.
This is your older brother’s dirty, unapologetically STD-laced riff rock still rolling after a weekend bender on the good shit, the stuff that even Lemmy would think is too strong. The guitars hit harder than any of that indie crap you’re SOOOOO into right now. The rhythm section of Brett Southard and EvanJohn Mcintosh somehow stakes the burgeoning cavalcade of guitars to the ground. Singer/wailer/screamer/guttural-hellfire-screecher Dutch Humphrey bends your ears over like a skanky White House intern.
If you know much of Cherokee, the lead track “Loose Talk/Noose Talk” seems almost like a joke at first. Slide guitar, a barely distorted, almost cowboy sound, rim shots? However, fear not troopers, as after a few minutes of slow and careful dynamic build all is put back in its rightful place with a trademark Cherokee ground-zero detonation of rock ‘n roll around the four-minute mark.
The other five tracks are much more straightforward outbursts of angst and grit. Doug Nelson, Scott Reed, Southard, and Mcintosh keep the blazing wildfire formula just varied and interesting enough to make you want to strap the gimp mask on and take another round of the switch. Humphrey continually shreds his vocal cords apart with slivers of glass and flaming sandpaper to pound the stories home. “Burn” stands out as the single of the bunch, but it would probably kick my ass for saying that.

The music Cherokee.Rock.Rifle presents on Ta-Li is not fancy. It’s not overly clever or new. But it will run your Prius off the road, pull you out of the driver’s seat and unmercifully thrash your skinny ass to a pulp before peeling out in a 1978 Mustang with a “My Kid Knocked Up Your Honor Roll Student” bumper sticker. And to think, their live show is even better.

You can bear witness to Cherokee.Rock.Rifle’s live show tomorrow night, September 5 at The Riot Room. The band will be partying with Coward (Columbia) and Austin’s Not In The Face!. Show starts at 9 p.m. with Coward. Facebook event page. You can also catch them at Crossroads Music Fest next Saturday, September 14 at The Brick. They will be the last act of the fest, playing at 1:30. You can buy tickets in advance at this link for $15, $20 at the gate.

--Zach Hodson

Zach Hodson is a monster. He once stole a grilled cheese sandwich from a 4-year-old girl at her birthday party. He will only juggle if you pay him. I hear he punched Slimer right in his fat, green face. He knows the secrets to free energy, but refuses to release them until "Saved by the Bell: Fortysomethings" begins production.

He is also in Dolls on Fire and Drew Black & Dirty Electric, as well as contributing to various other Kansas City-based music, comedy, and art projects.


HTML Hit Counter


Spotlight: Murder Ballad Ball 2012

(Photo by Todd Zimmer; L-Kris Bruders, R-Dutch Humphrey)


On the eve of the Murder Ballad Ball, songs about violence and revenge are being polished like a stainless steel revolver. Blood-colored lipstick is being purchased. Inventive facial hair is being coiffed.
We also get a chance to talk with Dutch Humphrey, one of the co-founders of this event, which is entering its fourth year. Humphrey (of The Penny Sheets and Cherokee Rock Rifle) and Kris Bruders began in 2009 what has become an annual tradition ever since.
Humphrey attributes the genesis of the Murder Ballad Ball to Bruders, frontman of Cadillac Flambé. “Kris and his band had this dream to bill a show based on solely murder ballads. I immediately fell in love with the idea and put some people in touch with some other people and… well, what do ya know? It went down like a gallows trap door!”
Murder Ballad Ball was born at the now-defunct Crosstown Station in 2009 with an array of local entertainers, many of whom have performed each year since. The show has become known for theatrical elements and songs from the point of view of murderers and victims—tales of retribution and gorily detailed narratives of bloodshed. Each year, the event centers around a specific theme of an individual murder ballad. This year’s show centers around the story of “The Sisters Twa,” a murder ballad that originated in the 17th century and tells a tale of a girl drowned by her sister. Musician and filmmaker Anthony Ladesich’s short film Two Sisters is also based on this tale, and will be shown on Saturday.
Looking back on Murder Ballad Balls past, Humphrey recalls powerful performances. “I have loved them all. Abigail Henderson had me in tears the first year surely, though she’s good at that. Anthony Ladesich has always been one of my favorites, and his song ‘In the Cut’ totally gets me. It's a modern story, but told brilliantly and is locally interesting.”
Not only an organizer, Humphrey also takes part in the event as a performer, playing guitar and singing in The Penny Sheets, a project that includes members of Sons of Great Dane and Hotdog Skeletons. “I’ve personally had the most fun just covering some of my favorites. ‘I Hung My Head’ (originally by Sting, but notably recorded by Johnny Cash for the American series) was a lot of fun to play. Last year, I co-sang a Decemberists’ tune called ‘Shankhill Butchers’ that I still thoroughly enjoy.” Performers are also encouraged to write their own material for the event, and Humphrey reveals that he will be among those playing a few originals.
For the first time, this year’s production will take place at Davey’s Uptown Ramblers Club, where two stages will hold the performers. On the bar side: Partners in Glory, Victor & Penny, The Penny Sheets, Rural Grit All-Stars, and The Silver Maggies. On the venue side: Richard Alwyn, Cody Wyoming, Vi Tran Band, Anthony Ladesich and The Secret Liquor Cure, Cadillac Flambé, Adam Lee, and The Blue Boot Heelers. “We have always tried to bring in some newer or less familiar acts as well as inviting many back to perform year after year,” notes Humphrey.
Though Humphrey looks forward to Saturday, he’s already thinking about next year’s event. “We’ve been talking about really going all out next year for the five-year mark and making this a two-day affair, with hopes to involve even more local musicians and perhaps some theatre involvements.”
Murder Ballad Ball kicks off this Saturday, December 8, at Davey’s Uptown. Doors open at 6 pm and the show starts at 7 pm; tickets are $10 at the door. Murder Ballad Ball is an event that benefits the musician’s emergency health care fund through Midwest Music Foundation. Several donated items will be raffled or auctioned off at the event. For more information and a schedule of performances, visit the Facebook event page here.

--Michelle Bacon

Michelle is editor of The Deli Magazine - Kansas City and plays drums in Deco AutoDrew Black & Dirty Electric, and drums/bass in Dolls on Fire. She's a medical editor by day, a musician by night, and a full-time dreamer.

Share this story on Facebook