Mark Growden creates the kind of rich, evocative, cabaret-noir-Americana that thousands of Tom Waits imitators would give their porkpie hats to be able to write. And as if that weren't enough to make them jealous, Growden's backing band includes guitarist Myles Boisen, upright bassist Seth Ford-Young and trumpeter Chris Grady—all longtime Waits sidemen.
But while he and Waits share a few players and a love of theatrical, dynamic delivery, the comparisons end there, as Growden's instruments of choice are a nimbly played accordion (rather than a haphazardly bashed piano) and a smooth, gravel-free voice.
Songs from his just-released Saint Judas are full of regret, passion, the dark side of religion and death, and should sound even better during one of his legendary live shows. Growden and his band will do "An Evening With..." show Thursday at Lola's Stockyards and open for the sinister, guitarless goth-metal of Great Tyrant Friday at Lola's Sixth.