ReviewShine Wednesday: Nightjar and Ted Lukas & The Misled

Today’s ReviewShine artists both have a common connection. Each of these artists can be linked to Kasey Anderson… an artist I’ve featured here recently.

We start with a band from Indianapolis called Nightjar.

After posting my interview with Chip Robinson and Kasey Anderson, I received an email from Nightjar songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Chris Hess. Hess, like Anderson, was a former resident of Bellingham, WA and described himself as an admirer/rival of Anderson’s from their time in The Evergreen State. Hess moved to Indy in 2007 to take a teaching position at Butler University. There, he hooked up with fellow songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Greg Osborne, and Nightjar was born.

On their debut album, Hometown Stranger, Nightjar (which also features Joe Hodson on lead guitar, Ty Hoskins on bass, Nathan Dynak on drums, and Mandy Gingerich Hege on backing vocals) fashions a strong effort that blends Hess’ love for Johnny Cash and The Band with Osborne’s affinity for R.E.M. and The Smiths. Nightjar takes a page from Jason & The Scorchers with the riff fueled opener “Check Your Mirrors,” and mines more soulful territory with the soulful “Sweet Brandywine.” They continue to vary styles and sounds with Hess alternating his gravely vocals with Osborne’s more traditional style from song to song.

Hess and Anderson will be reunited on May 4th when they share a stage at Radio Radio in Indy.

Nightjar: Check Your Mirrors (Buy Album)

Today’s second artist has more of a professional link to Anderson than a personal one.

Tampa, Florida’s Ted Lukas & The Misled released their newest album Learn How to Fall last week. Lukas produced the album himself, but the project was mixed by none other than Eric “Roscoe” Ambel. As a producer, Ambel has worked with the likes of Blue Mountain, Greg Trooper, Shannon McNally, Mojo Nixon, and has produced most of The Bottle Rockets catalogue. He also produced the recent albums from Chip Robinson and Kasey Anderson that I’ve been enjoying immensely. Ambel’s name on a project is more than enough to make take notice.
Given the types of records that Ambel seems drawn to, it’s not hard to guess how this one sounds. Lukas and his band have crafted a solid disc composed of ten rootsy tracks filled with melodic hooks and rock and roll swagger. Lukas also displays some pop sensibilities on songs like the title track with its chiming opening riff and well placed harmonies (provided by Lukas himself). When it’s all mixed together, this is an album that can grab you by the throat and keep tightening its grip.
Ted Lukas & The Misled: Learn How to Fall (Buy Album)

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