Jeff Norwood

Black Dark


Gone Crazy 1

An album whose first track tells a story about growing weed in the woods won’t have much trouble hooking listeners. In “Pushpilin'” singer/guitarist Jeff Norwood explains how piles of decomposing stumps and dirt in the “dead sand pine forests of the South” provide locations for nocturnal farming. Combined with engine noise overdubs and an unassuming but perfect harmonica complement by Lil’ Jimmy Frost (who subtly adds flavor to the entire album), the song has a loose roughness that continues throughout the album. The more polished, studio-sounding tracks like “Anger” are actually its weakest points — Norwood is clearly a seasoned live performer. The songs range from crunchy guitar-riffed blues to boogie woogie on “Save My Wicked Soul,” but Norwood shines best on bare bones acoustic slide tunes like the swampy “One Drink.” The upstate S.C. slinger is also more of a player than a lyricist. Lyrics like “Gonna take a load/of good hard wood/to keep it burning all night long” on “Her Stove is Hot” had us rolling our eyes at first, then laughing hysterically and singing along. (www.jeffsblues.com) —Stratton Lawrence

Jeff Norwood plays at A Dough Re Mi Pizzeria on Thurs. July 26 at 9 p.m.


Run Dan Run

Basic Mechanics



Pop-rock project Run Dan Run — skippered by vocalist, songwriter, and keyboardist Dan McCurry — get all spacey and atmospheric on their new studio collection. McCurry, a versatile player who’s dabbled in a variety of electric jazz, funk, and rock bands, has his own focus here. With musical collaborator and studio engineer Ash Hopkins, he’s created a strong modern “indie rock” debut. Basic Mechanics leans in different directions but stays on track. The slow-flowing “Enough for Crimes” sounds like a band dozing off into the ether. Guest vocalist Erin McKinley’s repetitive chants over drummer Nick Jenkins’ ringy cymbal accents during “Science” might remind some of Yo La Tengo’s weirder stuff. Guitars ring out and chime on the more upbeat “The Set Up/The Blackout.” McCurry’s breathy, drowsy singing style hovers over the unique orchestration. Could he emerge as the next serious Charleston songsmith? With accomplishments like Basic Mechanics, he’s already on his way. (www.myspace.com/rundanrun) —T. Ballard Lesemann

Run Dan Run perform an “End of Tour Party” gig at 52.5 Records on Thurs. July 12 at 7 p.m.