2Ton Bridge – “Pennies on the Shore” (review)

2Ton Bridge – “Pennies on the Shore” / “I’m a Hoot Owl” (Alexander Wright) review

This little appetizer is meant to whet our whistle for a 2Ton Bridge long player due sometime in 2016. If the two songs are any indication, we’re in for quite a treat when it does come out.

Great music has the power to transport you through time, space, or both. 2Ton Bridge’s music isn’t necessarily tied to a particular era – the earthy instruments give off a timeless quality. The real strength here is these songs’ ability to take you out of your current surrounding – away from the constant dinging on your phone; the tweets, likes and noise – to what’s really important – human contact. Close your eyes and prepare to be lifted away – maybe not too far, perhaps just to the rafters in your garage, or the woods behind the mall, but just far enough for a moment of solace.

Helmed by Marvin Etzioni, who cut his teeth on roots music from Lone Justice to Lucinda Williams, he wraps everything in an acoustic-based sound that is warm and inviting. He also provides some supple mandolin picking. Both tracks feature banjo and a yearning pedal steel, played by veteran Eric Heywood, who’s done the same for folks like Son Volt and the Pretenders. At the heart of the proceedings is Alexander Wright, whose voice is welcoming like a hot cup of joe after a long hike on the trail.

“Pennies on the Shore” begins with gentle banjo, eventually adding accordion and subtle percussion. Wright sings of simpler pleasures – the act of looking for stray coins seems a million miles away from the social media-poisoned world we now reside in.

“I’m a Hoot Owl” is even better, with Etzioni creating a cinematic soundscape with Heywoods’s echoed, pedal steel – you can almost picture the dawn trying to sneak in as this song rolls on.

A quick note about how this music was sent to me – this “Digital 45” came packaged in a paper rectangle that resembled the old picture sleeves that housed some of my favorite vinyl 7 inch singles over the years. It made me recall a time when the artwork was large enough to actually give a damn about it. Here’s hoping the rest of 2Ton Bridge’s album is as good as these two tracks. —Tony Peters