Although Stephen Kellogg can be a bit overly earnest for his own good, he and his band, The Sixers, are quite capable of creating a version of heartland rock that would make John Mellencamp proud. Although most of band members hail from Northampton, Massachusetts, the sound they produce is of a more rootsy vibe, as if the band were from Kansas or even Dallas.
The band's album Glassjaw Boxer was honored as one of the top five albums of 2007 in USA Today and, even considering the peculiarities of some critics, such was a well deserved bit of kudos. Songs like "Sweet Sophia" and "Cabin in the Woods" ring true like Dave Matthews pnly wishes he could. The recently issued The Bear is more problematic, but it still features a cool combination of spit and shine.
Also on tonight's bill, meanwhile, are two acts that both bring something to the table: Carbon Leaf and Toby Lightman. Carbon Leaf 's Celtic/bluegrass-infused rock has evolved over the years into a more mainstream sound, but vocalist Barry Privett and crew have the necessary songwriting chops and instrumental prowess to overcome any middle of the road doldrums. And even if you've tnever heard of Toby Lightman, I'm fairly certain you have heard her songs on Television or in movies; "My Sweet Song" from her album Bird On A Wire was featured on Boston Legal, "Desperately Seeking Shirley" was in the soundtrack to the movie P.S. I Love You, and her song "Slippin'" appeared on ABC's Brothers & Sisters. Lightman also performed the opening theme to Fox Sports' coverage of the 2008 NASCAR racing season with a song titled "NASCAR Love (Let's Go Racing)."
Plus, she's pretty hot.
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So if you're in the mood for some rock and pop without any indie pretensions whatsoever, this bill will suit you just fine. And if you're in the mood for something weirder, just come back to the same venue tomorrow night to catch The Dodos.